SKODA OCTAVIA: THE VERSATILE FAMILY CAR THAT REVITALISED A BRAND
Remodelled as a large family car, the Skoda Octavia range has been winning sales – and awards – for 20 years. Paul Connolly looks at the latest models
WHEN Skoda trumpeted the manufacture of the sixth millionth Octavia model last summer, it was just the latest milestone in the history of a remarkable success story.
The Octavia was essentially the key car that helped relaunch Skoda from a fusty communist-era Czech car maker to the international powerhouse it is today.
Part of the Volkswagen Group since the early 90s, Skoda continues to earn plaudits – and sales – for its increasingly diverse range of small cars, saloons and SUVS.
Octavia is Skoda’s most popular model, with around 40% of all new Skodas being Octavias.
The first-generation Octavia was released in November 1996 but didn’t go on sale in the UK until ‘98. It was an instant hit with drivers looking for a solid family car that was refined but also great value for money.
The car was widely used by taxi driv- ers, who valued its price, size, reliability and good leasing arrangements for self-employed cabbies.
The build quality of the Octavia and other models which followed hard on its heels blew Continued on Page 2 >>
away a generation of Skoda/lada jokes (although Lada was unable to emulate Skoda’s success).
Fast forward to 2004, and the second-generation Octavia was born. As well as sedan and estate body styles, two four-wheel drive models were introduced: the 4x4 and the Scout.
The third generation Octavia – the current one – went on sale in the UK and Ireland in early spring 2013.
It was bigger, roomier and lighter than its predecessor, and had significant improvements to its engines and onboard technology.
WHAT’S NEW? A mid-life facelift last year refreshed the current Octavia. With the introduction of the smaller Skoda Rapid, Skoda’s designers moved the Octavia upwards, both in size and designation. It’s now a large family hatchback and comes equipped with everything associated with that segment, including improved towing ability.
The upgrade gave it redesigned front and rear sections, streamlined body and a wider track. Improved interior space, functionality, technology for safety as well as comfort, and value for money remain key features.
Customers have a choice of four trim levels: S, SE, SE Technology, SE L and the range-topping L&K.
The latest Octavia is also distinguished by a large range of derivative models including the
ENTRY LEVEL MODELS The S trim (from £17,800) is well appointed, with features that include 16” Alcantras alloy wheels with anti-theft wheel bolts, smartphone connectivity including Apple Carplay/android Auto and an 8” Bolero touchscreen infotainment system with SD card.
SE (£19,095) gets better tech and kit including 16” Ilias alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control air con with humidity sensor and cruise control.
As the name suggests, SE Technology (also from £19,095) is more tech-focused.
Features include 8.0” Amundsen touchscreen sat nav and integrated Wi-fi, adaptive cruise control with front assist and front/ rear parking sensors.
HIGHER-SPEC CARS You’ll pay an extra few grand for SE L models (from £22,460), but that gives premium kit like Alcantara & leather upholstery, and full LED headlights, more engine choices and AFS and LED daytime running lights.
Trade up to range-topping L&K trim (£28,390) for further premium kit like 9.2” Columbus touchscreen sat nav with 3D maps, a Canton sound system and a heated 3-spoke multi-functional steering wheel.