Harry Leahey

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In its 28th year, the Skoda Octavia has undergone its mid-cycle update in a bid to enhance its appeal across both its hatchback and Estate versions. 

This update focuses on a series of comprehensive improvements spanning powertrain enhancements, design refinements, interior upgrades, and advanced technological integrations.

Externally, the Octavia's design has been subtly refined, extending its length by 9mm for both body styles and incorporating aerodynamically optimised front and rear bumpers. The Skoda grille has been updated to align with the height of the new LED matrix-beam headlights, while the rear lamps now feature scrolling indicators. 

New wheel designs and the addition of a Sportline trim level, which emulates the appearance of the vRS without its performance characteristics, round out the exterior enhancements.

Technological advancements now include an optional 13-inch central display screen, upgraded USB-C ports, and faster, more intuitive software. Skoda says its Laura voice assistant is also powered by AI-based Chat GPT technology for greater intelligence. 

Updates extend to the Attention and Drowsiness Assist, an improved keyless-entry system, and enhanced Park Assist features.

Powertrain modifications include the discontinuation of the 1.0-litre petrol engine, leaving a selection of two 1.5-litre TSI engines, offering outputs of 114 or 148bhp, with an added option for mild-hybrid technology aimed at improving efficiency. 

The lineup also features two 2.0-litre petrol engines and two 2.0-litre diesels, each receiving a boost in power. The lower-powered petrol variant now delivers 201bhp and includes four-wheel drive as standard. 

The performance-oriented Octavia vRS variant meanwhile sees an increase to 262bhp and benefits from an enhanced sports exhaust system for a more pronounced sound. All models, except the entry-level petrol and diesel, are paired with a seven-speed automatic gearbox.

Pricing for the updated Octavia range is expected to commence at approximately £27,000 for the SE Technology hatchback and around £28,000 for the Estate version, with availability in UK showrooms anticipated in June. 

The absence of a plug-in hybrid option was addressed by Skoda CEO Klaus Zellmer, citing market preferences and the ongoing evaluation of electrification strategies within the context of CO2 reduction and consumer interest in alternative powertrains.

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Harry Leahey 14/02/24