10 January 2017 by Keith Adams, Editor

  • 2017 Skoda Octavia
  • 2017 Skoda Octavia
  • 2017 Skoda Octavia
  • Revised front-end styling, with new LED headlights available
  • Upgraded infotainment systems and online connectivity
  • Four petrol and four diesel engines, ranging from 115hp to 230hp

The big-selling Skoda Octavia receives a mid-life facelift, with new front-end styling, a revised engine line-up, an upgraded infotainment system and a host of new mobile-enabled apps for the driver and their passengers. No pricing details have been released, but Skoda confirms the car will go on sale in the UK 'late spring' 2017.

It's billed as a mid-life refresh to increase the appeal of the company's best-selling car. So, the 'new' Octavia looks very familiar, with revised rear lamp clusters and a new quad-headlamp front end being the main giveaways to the updated spec.

New front-end styling previews family look

The angular radiator grille and newly split headlights are part of Skoda's new face, previewed on the Kodiaq SUV and expected to spread across the remainder of the range in due course. Whisper it, there's a slight resemblance to the previous-generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class, a comparison that Skoda isn't too offended by.

Skoda has also reprofiled the bonnet and sharp new LED tail lights complete the external makeover. Some aggressive-looking alloy wheel options are also available – but if you were expecting a more thorough facelift, you're going to be disappointed. Skoda does not want to take risks with its best-selling model.

So it's subtle on the outside. What about inside?

There wasn't a great deal wrong with the interior of the pre-facelift Octavia. So, again, the design team has approached the update with a very light touch. You get an upgraded media system and a larger 9.2-inch capacitive touchscreen (like your smartphone), which comes with a more 'premium-feeling' glass display.

Clever touches include a powered tailgate for the Octavia Estate model, which also comes equipped with an integrated torch (we said it was a subtle facelift). The same can be said for its revised cupholders and driver-programmable ignition key.

A familiar engine line-up

There are four TSI engines and four TDI engines to choose from, all of which are Euro 6 compliant. They range from 1.0-litres and 115hp to 2.0-litres and 184hp, and alongside the range of five- and six-speed manual gearboxes, you can specify a six- or seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic.

As before, the new Octavia can be specified with four-wheel drive for the 1.8 TSI and the 2.0 TDI models, and there's the option of Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), which offer Comfort, Normal or Sport modes and adjusts throttle, steering and suspension response.

The petrol vRS model gets a bit of boost, with the 2.0 TSI engine's power output rising to 230hp for a maximum speed of 155mph (electronically limited). Both petrol and diesel vRS versions get a 15mm suspension drop, while you can also specify them with optional Performance Mode Select with the Performance Sound Generator at extra cost, just like the Volkswagen Golf GTI. We'll decide when we test it whether it's a gimmick or not..

It's connected, you say?

Skoda CareConnect, which provides breakdown and emergency assistance, is also offered. As part of the top-of-the-range Columbus navigation system, which also offers a wi-fi hotspot and a wireless induction charger for compatible smartphones, there's a range of new mobile online services.

For those who like to get the most from their phones, the SmartLink+ system available offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and promises stress-free pairing with the car. 

You can specify the Infotainment Online services package, which provides Google-enabled information and entertainment. Then there's the CareConnect service, which could prove very useful (especially if you're prone to losing your keys), by including remote access to the car, using an app on your smartphone.

What other tech does it comes with?

Many of the systems familiar to drivers of other Volkswagen Group cars make an appearance. It's now offered with the following systems:

  • Trailer Assist
  • Predictive Pedestrian Protection
  • Blind Spot Detect
  • Rear Traffic Alert
  • Crew Protect Assist
  • Front Assist including the City Emergency Braking function
  • Park Assist, which has now been upgraded

When can I buy one, and how much is will it be?

There's no official word yet on pricing, although a Skoda spokesperson told us that there will be a small increase across the board, but they also promised that this would be compensated by the more generous standard equipment package.

Skoda tells us that you can already pre-order one of the new cars and that the first UK deliveries should begin at the end of March.