New Skoda Octavia unveiled

  • Better-than-ever CO2 emissions
  • Sleeker styling, more premium feel
  • More space for passengers and luggage

The new Skoda Octavia saloon will benefit from best-ever CO2 emissions figures as low as 89 g/km when it goes on sale in March 2013.

There will be four petrol TSI engine options, along with four diesel TDI engines available with both manual and automatic twin-clutch DSG transmission.  For most Octavia trim levels, all engines can be had in ‘Green tec’ specification which adds a fuel-saving start-stop system. There is also a natural gas-powered version in the pipeline, but this is unlikely to come to the UK.

Company car drivers looking for the most favourable tax rates should opt for the GreenLine version with the 109bhp 1.6 TDI engine. It’s this model which achieves the headline CO2 emissions figure of 89g/km, placing it in the 13 per cent BIK band. Top option for performance initially will be the 177bhp 1.8 TSI, before the new hotted-up Octavia RS arrives in the near future.

Along with the new-to-the-Octavia engine lineup, the gains in efficiency are also down to weight-saving measures and a more slippery low-drag shape. Skoda’s design team has aimed to make the new Octavia appear a little more exciting than its predecessor, with sharper lines, a shorter front overhang and a new badge position above the front grille.

Skoda claims its third-generation Octavia sets a benchmark for space, with the best interior length, knee room, rear headroom and boot volume in its class. These gains mean the Octavia has grown on the outside too, with a longer wheelbase, width and overall length than the previous model. Despite this, the new Skoda Octavia weighs an impressive 102kg less than its predecessor.

There are plenty of toys on board - some of them available for the first time in a Skoda. These include adaptive cruise control (where the car automatically brakes to maintain a set distance to the vehicle ahead), automatic headlight high-beam switching, automatic parking assist and traffic sign recognition. The new Octavia is also available with a panoramic sunroof and keyless entry and ignition.

There's also a lengthy list of new safety assistance systems, including lane-keeping assist, an automatic braking system triggered in the event of a crash, driver fatigue detection and a pop-up bonnet for pedestrian impact protection. A further emergency braking function will also be available from May 2013.

As part of a total of nine airbags, knee and rear side airbags have been fitted to the Octavia for the first time.

Prices for the new Skoda Octavia are yet to be confirmed, but it’s reasonable to expect entry-level petrol models to retail around the £14,000 mark.