Skoda today reveals the next-generation Octavia hatch – the latest stage in its evolution from a budget branch of the Volkswagen Group into a serious mainstream player.
Based on the latest VW Golf platform also shared with the Audi A3, the new Octavia can justifiably claim more space, greater quality and more advanced technology. If it follows the example of the Golf, it will also be a far better car to drive.
It comes to the UK in June after a starring role on the company’s stand at the Birmingham Motor Show in May. Four petrol and two turbodiesel engines will be offered, linked to five- or six-speed manual gearboxes, a semi-auto operated by steering wheel-mounted paddles or a conventional automatic.
Skoda is promising to maintain its tough pricing stance against other European brands. An increase on current prices is likely, but as Skoda is targeting the new Astra as the Octavia’s major rival, the entry-level 1.4 should still come in at less than £11,000.
For that, buyers will get more equipment and a much more practical car, including the biggest boot in class.
A limited range of current Octavias will be sold alongside the newcomer for a while. A 1.9-litre turbodiesel hatch will be offered until summer 2005; the estate remains in production until the new version comes along in a year’s time; and the performance RS version will stay on the stocks for some time after that.
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