The Golf's more practical and affordable sibling is about to get a mid-cycle refresh. Here's what we know so far.
It might not have the most exciting design in its class, but there’s a reason why the Octavia is an important model on the European market: its practicality. The huge trunk of both hatchback and wagon body styles is basically the ace up its sleeve, while the rear legroom is second to none in the compact car segment.
What is it?
Not only is it Skoda’s best-selling model by a considerable margin, but at the same time it’s also a veritable cash cow for the entire Volkswagen Group. Now in its third generation (excluding the original model sold between 1959 – 1971), the current Octavia is about to celebrate its fourth birthday, which means a facelift is being prepared to keep the model fresh and competitive while it battles the latest Renault Megane and Opel Astra.
What will it look like?
Well, the rumors were true. The 2018 Octavia will indeed adopt a split headlight design, as demonstrated in the attached new spy footage. Skoda’s chief designer himself, Jozef Kabaň, has confirmed the new look for the front lighting clusters. In his interview with Auto.cz, the man in charge of designing the Bugatti Veyron revealed the Octavia’s cosmetic surgery will be different than what all of the unofficial speculative renders have been showing for the past few months.
Kabaň went on to specify the 2018MY Octavia will be more than just a facelift, adding that the hugely practical compact car “deserves special care” since it’s the brand’s most important model. Beyond the restyled headlights, so far we are only able to see the slightly modified graphics for the taillights with an updated “C” theme.
How’s the interior?
Kabaň has also revealed the Octavia facelift will come with a modified cabin that will take cues from the company’s flagship Superb model. The two already look very much alike on the inside, so most likely he was referring to a bump in quality by implementing more soft-touch plastics. Previous spy footage has revealed the model year change will see the introduction of an optional Blind Spot Detect system, while a heated steering wheel has already been confirmed via a tweet from Skoda Ireland some months ago.
It will be interesting to see whether the 2018MY Octavia is going to make the switch to the Kodiaq’s fancy new infotainment system (pictured below) with capacitive-touch buttons.
What’s under the hood?
The engine lineup will be essentially carried over, but some changes are being planned. The most important of them all will be represented by the addition of a vRS 245 version with 245 horsepower coming from the same 2.0 TSI inside the existing vRS 220 and vRS 230 models.
In addition, Skoda might decide to drop the 1.8 TSI engine and replace it with the similarly powered, but more efficient 2.0 TSI taken from the new Kodiaq seven-seat SUV. Further down the line, the VW Group will replace its 1.4 TSI and 1.6 TDI engines with new 1.5-liter motors, so the Octavia is bound get them, eventually.
When will we see it?
Rumor has it Skoda will unveil the facelifted Octavia before the end of the month and will begin taking orders from November, at least at home in Czech Republic. That being said, production is not expected to kick off until February 2017 and only for the Active, Ambition, Style, and L&K trims. Assembly of the Scout and vRS 220 & vRS 230 versions is said to begin in the second half of April, while the aforementioned vRS 245 will hit the production line from late May.