With an interior length of 1782 mm, 73 mm of knee room and 980 mm of head room, the new Octavia has seen an increase in dimensions in all areas, especially the wheelbase, that is now 108 mm up on the last car. The overall length is now 90 mm up and is 45 mm wider too. Other interior dimensions have also increased significantly compared to the Octavia’s second generation: front head room: + 8 mm, front elbow width: + 39 mm, rear elbow width: + 26 mm. Based on the longer wheelbase version of the MQB platform, the new Octavia is now closer in dimensions to the much larger D-segment saloons, Skoda clearly taking a stand on making the interior more comfortable. This is aimed at emerging markets like India and China where comfortable interiors are high priority. The boot size too has increased to 590 litres, though it retains the traditional hatch format.
Other changes include use of high quality and well-finished instruments and controls, that lend the Octavia a more premium feel. A new touch screen audio linked to proximity sensors and a swiping function is available on the more premium trims while a new Canton audio unit provides better sound output than before. Adaptive cruise control, a new park assist system, a new electro-panoramic sunroof, optional keyless entry and automatic door and ignition system are also part of the package.
Adorning the front is Skoda's new logo and grille as well as a bolder, sharper design. The design is more in vein with the new European Rapid, especially the flanks where the deep, crisp shoulder line and wing mirrors are similar in approach. A kink on the C-pillar as well as the new, rectangular tail lamps make the design appear much sharper.
On offer with the Octavia are a whole range of engines. The 1.4 TSi from the Jetta is on offer here as well, with two power outputs - 120 bhp and a more powerful 138 bhp. The larger 1.8 TSi will also be on offer, now with 177 bhp, up from the previous 160 bhp. Emissions are low too, as low as 89 g/km of CO2. Two diesel engines are on offer too – the 1.6-litre diesel with 105 bhp and the 2.0-litre diesel with 147 bhp and 168 bhp. A new DSG transmission and a six-speed manual are on offer, with the DSG unit designed to handle high torque outputs. Later in 2013, Skoda is expected to offer an estate version of the Octavia with even more luggage room and the vRS in petrol and diesel guise, both producing upwards of 200 bhp.
The new Octavia will go on sale in Europe in the first quarter of 2013. We expect an Indian launch by the third quarter of the 2013 calendar year with the 1.4 TSI and the 2.0 TDI options, with the possibility of the vRS and more versions making it here in the future. Pricing is expected to rise by 5-7 per cent at the very least, but it seems the new Octavia nee Laura may be a winner for Skoda in India.