PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - Skoda, the Volkswagen-owned Czech car brand that traditionally focused on lower cost products, has released the latest generation of its Golf-based Octavia, and it’s looking smarter than ever.

At this stage there are no plans, that we are aware of, to introduce the Skoda brand to South Africa so for now the products remain on the forbidden fruit wishlist for many motorists. 

So what are we missing out on in the latest Octavia?

The new range follows the eighth-generation Golf in bringing new technologies previously reserved for premium vehicles into the segment, and it also boasts a classy new design that is sure to be a hit with buyers.

The Octavia is offered in two body shapes - a traditional station wagon and a ‘liftback’, which is essentially a hatchback with a three-box sedan shape, and it’s a format that makes so much sense that we’re wondering why anybody still builds traditional saloons.

The Octavia, now in its fourth modern generation, is still considered to be the heart of the Skoda brand, and the new model represents progression on all fronts.

Not only is it larger than its predecessor, with its length of 4689mm representing a 19mm gain, but its introduces a raft of new technologies to the Skoda brand. Available features include Head-up Display, Ergo seats with massage function, LED ambient lighting, LED Matrix headlights, three-zone climate control and a digital instrument cluster similar to the VW and Audi units. Safety gadgets include Predictive Cruise Control, Traffic Jam Assist, Emergency Assist and much more.

That’s a lot of kit, considering Skoda is still considered to be the VW Group’s budget brand.

The engine range largely mirrors the offerings that you’ll find in the rest of the Group products, including TSI turbopetrol units in 1-litre (81kW), 1.5-litre (110kW) and 2-litre (140kW) guises and a range of ‘cleaned up’ 2-litre turbodiesel engines ranging from 85kW to 147kW. The top petrol and diesel derivatives also receive all-wheel-drive.

In keeping with the times, Skoda is also offering three hybrid variants, including two mild hybrids and a 150kW plug-in variant that achieves an all-electric range of up to 55km on the WLTP cycle.

IOL Motoring