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New Skoda Octavia arrives with sharper looks and Chat-GPT

Skoda’s best-seller gets a facelift for 2024, bringing a suite of improvements and an angular new look

  • Sharper, angular styling
  • Tweaked interior with new tech
  • Estimated to cost from £27k

Following a series of teaser images and sketches, this is our first unobstructed look at the facelifted Skoda Octavia. While the changes are fairly minimal on the outside, Skoda has thrown a whole host of technological upgrades at the interior, with its latest infotainment, digital gauge screens and even integrated artificial intelligence.

What does the new Skoda Octavia look like?

Skoda’s designers have given the Octavia what they’re calling a ‘more dynamic’ look, with revised front and rear bumpers, and a set of sharper headlights. All models now get LED lighting technology, with an LED matrix system available as an option. The tail-lights are LED units too, standard across all models. All Octavias, bar the entry level SE Technology trim, ride on new alloy wheels ranging from 16-inches up to 19-inches. Both the hatchback and estate body styles will continue to be offered, with the latter available in a new striking orange paint colour.

Sitting above the Octavia SE Technology are the SE L and Sportline models. All three take on a slightly different appearance – Sportline gets lower sports suspension and a smattering of black-painted trim pieces. The performance-focused Octavia vRS remains the king of the lineup, getting an aggressive front bumper and unique 18-inch or 19-inch wheels.

What’s new about the new Skoda Octavia’s interior?

The new Octavia is packed full of technology – there’s an all-new 13-inch infotainment display, available as an optional upgrade from the standard 10-inch unit. All Octavias now get a digital driver’s display, replacing the analogue dials found in the outgoing entry-level model. 

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Artificial intelligence seems to be popping up everywhere these days, and you’ll find it in the new Octavia, too. The voice assistant will soon have Chat-GPT integration, found also in the recently facelifted Volkswagen Golf, giving it far greater capabilities than before. It will still be able to control basic functions, like adjusting the climate control and setting the navigation, but it will now be able to answer more complex questions, such as “how many hearts does an octopus have?” (three, for those curious).

Skoda will offer the Octavia with new trim and upholstery options, organised into nine ‘Design Selections’. There’s wider use of sustainable materials than before, with some recycled fabrics and sustainably treated leathers on offer.

Which engines are available with the new Skoda Octavia?

The new Octavia will be offered with a choice of two diesels and four petrol engines, with two of the petrol options available with additional mild hybrid technology. The entry-level 1.0-litre engine has been replaced by a 114bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine, offered with a six-speed manual gearbox. The entry-level diesel is a 2.0-litre TDI unit, arriving with the same 114bhp power output and six-speed manual gearbox.

A 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine is also offered, along with a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel. The petrol model comes with the manual gearbox, whereas the diesel is fitted with a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox

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Both the 114bhp and 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol engines can be fitted with a mild hybrid system, allowing the Octavia to coast with the engine turned off and boosting efficiency. These models are only available with the seven-speed DSG gearbox.

The final two petrol options are 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines – one with 201bhp and four-wheel drive (all other Octavias are front-wheel drive), and the 261bhp engine exclusive to the sporty vRS model.

How much will the new Octavia cost and when can I order one?

We’re still waiting for official UK pricing for the new Octavia, but we estimate the entry-level SE Technology model to cost from around £27,000 for the hatchback and around £1,000 more for the estate. First UK deliveries are expected in June.

Skoda Octavia all generationsSkoda Octavia 25-year mega test

The Skoda Octavia has been a huge success for the Czech manufacturer since its launch in 1996. Over 28 years and four generations, more than seven million have been produced, with buyers enamoured by the model’s affordability, practicality and reliability. We’re inclined to agree, having awarded the outgoing Octavia a spot on our Car of the Year winners list for the past four years in a row, so the next Octavia has some big shoes to fill.

Read our list of the best hatchbacks to see what the new Octavia is up against…

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