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Has the Skoda Octavia facelift enhanced its appeal?

A new face and more equipment add to the executive sedan’s appeal.

business Updated: Jul 15, 2017 14:52 IST
Rishaad Mody
Rishaad Mody
Skoda Octavia,Skoda Octavia facelift,Toyota Corolla Altis
The most striking detail here, of course, is the Octavia’s new quad-headlamp design that merges neatly with the butterfly grille. (Autocar India)

For 2017, Skoda has updated the Octavia, its Toyota Corolla Altis rivalling executive sedan. This is the first big update for the car, and comes with sharper styling, a spruced-up cabin and minor mechanical changes.

The most striking detail here, of course, is the Octavia’s new quad-headlamp design that merges neatly with the butterfly grille. Top-end variants get adaptive, full-LED lighting with an auto high-beam function. Also new up front is a revised bumper, which features LED fog lamps that double up as cornering lights. The side profile retains the smart, fuss-free design of the original car, the only difference being the smart, new 16-inch alloy wheel design. Like the side, the rear section remains largely unchanged, save for the revised LED tail-lamps and an ever so slightly different bumper.

A major improvement on the inside comes in the form of a new infotainment system. Its 8.0-inch touchscreen display ditches the older system’s physical buttons for touch-sensitive buttons and this makes the screen look bigger. The high-resolution display offers good touch response, as well as Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink compatibility. For those who prefer an analogue input, twin scrolling knobs below the display allow control over the touchscreen. The dual-zone climate control system sits within a glossy black panel that flows nicely with the large display. Other new bits include a sleeker steering wheel and a refreshed instrument cluster. The Octavia now gets a parking assist function that can be activated via a button ahead of the gear selector. The top variant also gets colour-programmable ambient cabin lighting.

Skoda continues to offer the choice of three engines and three gearboxes, all in the same state of tune. There’s the 143hp, 2.0-litre diesel which can be had with a choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed DSG. Petrol buyers can choose between the 150hp, 1.4 TSI and the 180hp, 1.8 TSI; the latter is available only with a slick-shifting seven-speed DSG.

The 1.8 TSI is the car that I got to test, and, as expected, it shone with great smoothness, and strong performance.

Part of the reason why the 1.8 TSI is so nice to drive is its independent rear suspension; the 1.4 petrol and 2.0 diesel variants use a simpler torsion beam setup. It isn’t stiff like a sportscar, but grip levels are high, and the car remains poised when you drive enthusiastically.

Following customer feedback, the suspension has also been softened slightly for improved comfort. Nevertheless, all three cars will delight the driver and they all offer excellent high-speed stability.

The new Octavia will go on sale within a month’s time, and with GST coming into effect, the updated model is likely to be cheaper by anywhere up to Rs 1 lakh. With that in consideration, prices for the Octavia could start around the Rs 15 lakh mark (ex-showroom) for the base 1.4 TSI Ambition trim, with the top 2.0 TDI Style Plus going up to Rs 21-22 lakh. At these prices, the Skoda Octavia will remain a premium option in its segment, but this update has surely enhanced its appeal.

Price: Rs 15-21 lakh (estimated, ex-showroom)

Engine:1,798cc, four-cylinders, turbo-petrol

Power: 180hp at 5,100-6,200rpm

Torque:250Nm at 1,250-5,000rpm

Gearbox: Seven-speed DSG

First Published: Jul 15, 2017 14:52 IST