When Skoda returned in 2018 after exiting the Singapore market in 2013, its new showroom carried a range of models that were not necessarily the latest Skoda products.
Among them was the third-generation Skoda Octavia, which was launched worldwide in 2013 and refreshed in 2017. The model sold here in 2018 was almost at the end of its product cycle, with its successor, the fourth-generation Octavia, unveiled globally in November 2019 and reaching overseas showrooms last year.
It was a somewhat long wait for the latest Octavia to come to Singapore but it was worth it: It carries the latest technology in the Volkswagen family of cars.
And besides the liftback, the Octavia Combi, which is the wagon, also makes its debut.
MILD HYBRID POWERTRAIN
The latest Octavia is powered by a turbocharged 1.5-litre engine with a mild hybrid powertrain.
It uses a 48-volt belt-driven starter motor and a 48-volt lithium-ion battery to recover brake energy, to give the power plant an electric boost at lower engine speeds or from standstill, and to coast with the engine switched off.
Besides the new powerplant, the Octavia also features Skoda’s first shift-by-wire technology in a car. A rocker switch replaces the DSG lever and it transmits the driver’s gear selection to the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
BIGGER AND SHARPER LOOKING
The Octavia Liftback has grown in length (+19mm) and width (+15mm). Both passenger and cargo space have increased, with the huge boot gaining another 10 litres to 600 litres. The Combi’s cavernous boot grows 30 litres to a staggering 640 litres.
The Octavia may have grown, but the car looks sharper than its predecessor. The familiar Skoda “moustache” grille remains, but the new front apron and new headlights design gives the Octavia a refreshed face.
From the sides, the sedan has a sleek coupe profile, which Skoda claims that its 0.24 drag coefficient makes the sedan one of the most aerodynamic cars in the world.
NEW INTERIOR CONCEPT
Inside, the Octavia features a new interior concept which includes a new two-spoke steering wheel, a redesigned dashboard with a free-standing central display (8-inch or 10-inch) screens with the latest generation of Skoda’s infotainment system. Smartphones can be charged and mirrored wirelessly onto the touchscreen display.
The Virtual Cockpit’s 10.25-inch size has not changed, but it is now more customisable. The driver can now programme different data for display and mirror them in the main infotainment screen.
There is an abundance of chrome trimming inside the car, giving the cabin an upmarket feel. The wide selection of ambient lights is impressive. The driver can, for example, have two different cabin colours for the dashboard and footwell.
Skoda’s new Digital Assistant, Laura, makes a maiden appearance in the new Octavia. The voice control system is activated by saying “Okay, Laura” and it helps drivers with simple tasks like selecting a radio station, making a phone call and setting the cabin temperature.
This is similar to “Hey BMW” and “Hey Mercedes” assistants.
But unusually, Skoda chose the name Laura instead of its corporate name. Drivers or passengers named Laura will be thrilled to have this personalised feature.
The Octavia comes with a full suite of driving aids and safety features, such as blind spot monitoring, front distance warning if the car is in danger of possible collision, lane keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control (in the Combi). These are features typically found in more expensive cars.
And like all Skoda cars, the latest Octavia is loaded with useful and functional amenities including umbrella compartments in the front doors, mobile phone pockets on the backs of the front seats and an electric tailgate.
While most local agents have removed wagons from their line up due to their slower-moving sales, these cars are still popular in niche groups such as expatriates, those with large dogs or avid cyclists who do not want to mount their bicycles using roof or external carriers.
The Octavia Combi may very well kick-start the interest in these cars again.
The Skoda Octavia starts at $123,900 for the sedan and $137,900 for the Combi. Skoda Centre Singapore says the flagship 2.0-litre vRS is “in the pipeline”, although there is no official word yet on when it will arrive in Singapore.
Skoda Octavia Liftback/Combi 1.5 TSI e-TEC (A)
ENGINE 1498cc, 16-valves, inline-4, turbocharged 48-volt mild hybrid
MAX POWER 148hp (150PS, 110kW) at 5000-6000rpm
MAX TORQUE 250Nm at 1500-3500rpm
GEARBOX 7-speed dual-clutch with manual select
0-100KM/H 8.5/8.6 seconds
TOP SPEED 230/224 km/h
CONSUMPTION 18.9/20.8 km/L (combined)
PRICE INCL. COE From $123,900/$137,900 (after $15k VES rebate)
AGENT Skoda Centre Singapore