This is the brand’s biggest-selling model – Skoda has sold 3.7 million globally since 1996 – but more than that, its evolution is a three-generation account of Skoda’s triumphant rise from former Eastern Bloc hulk to Volkswagen Group darling.
Now, this model has changed significantly; not only to maximise its own potential but also to make space for another car in the firm’s line-up.
Both increases push the model into unfamiliar territory; it is now noticeably larger than a Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus, but still slightly smaller than a Passat. In order to ensure it appeals to both private and business users alike, Skoda offers the Octavia with 1.0-litre and 1.4-litre TSI petrols and 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesels.
The bigger capcity engines are available with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, while the smaller ones can be had with a seven-speed dual-clutch, which may well prove a desirable option to those who commute in traffic on a regular basis, while new options - including intelligent park assistance - are available for the first time in the Octavia range.
Meanwhile, a four-figure sum has been added to the car’s price point. Skoda is betting that its standard-bearer can prosper within this slightly richer market niche.