The Volkswagen Group’s modular platform underpins a large number of models across the various brands. The key to that breadth of application is flexibility, evidenced here by the fact that the Octavia’s wheelbase is a full 50mm longer than that of the Volkswagen Golf and 108mm longer than its predecessor’s.
The effect is a dramatic enhancement of rear legroom, far-flung C-pillars and a 90mm addition to the previous car’s total length (18mm is concealed in a shorter front overhang).
What the bigger body doesn’t do, impressively, is add to the second-generation car’s kerb weight. Better selection of materials – not least the greater use of high-tensile steel in the platform – and lighter components mean that Skoda claims as much as a 102kg weight saving over the previous Octavia.
But it’s worth mentioning that our scales recorded a 110kg difference between the maker’s quote and reality, which suggests that equipment spec has a significant impact on the final figure.
Despite also growing in height and width, the repercussions for the styling are deftly handled. This remains a well proportioned car; it’s anonymous, and cursed with a huge tailgate to manhandle, but it never appears ungainly or oversized.
Under the fluff, the Octavia gets a new suspension set-up — albeit one still made up of MacPherson struts at the and a torsion beam rear axle – and, for now, is offered with a choice of four engines.
All are familiar VW Group units: the 1.0 TSI and 1.4 TSI constitute the petrol line-up, while the all-important diesel options are covered by the 1.6 TDI and the 2.0 TDI range-topper.