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Skoda has given the third-gen Octavia, which it describes as the ‘heart of the brand’ a facelift. The Czech brand’s best-selling model (five million sold in 20 years) has been updated with new front and rear end designs; new driver assistance tech, infotainment and connectivity; as well as new equipment.

Available as a sedan and Combi wagon, the 2017 Skoda Octavia will be available from end-2016, with deliveries starting early next year.

As far as updates go, this is quite a big facelift, headlined by the new split headlamp arrangement. The cluster is now divided into two, with one half stuck to the grille, and the other half floating independently. Skoda calls it the ‘dual face with a crystalline look.’ The headlamps can be had as LEDs, and are underlined by LED DRLs. The VW brand says that the logo has gained even more presence, while the fascia is more powerful, wider, and has more character. Definitely, but do you like the new look?

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No change to the body and chassis, which means that the Octavia remains as one of the largest cars in its European class. Both sedan and estate offer 1,782 mm of interior space and 73 mm of rear legroom. Their boots can hold up to 590 and 610 litres, respectively, expandable to 1,580 and 1,740 litres. The Octavia Combi can be ordered with an electric tailgate.

This refresh comes with new infotainment systems. All four – Swing, Bolero and the navi-equipped Amundsen and Columbus – now have capacitive displays in glass design that respond to light touches. The top Columbus now has a large 9.2-inch display, a WLAN hotspot and a SIM card module with LTE connection. As for connectivity. Skoda Connect is divided into Infotainment Online and CareConnect, the latter available in all but one trim level.

The revised Octavia is packed with assistance systems. If it’s used to tow, the trailer assistant will take over the steering when the vehicle is slowly reversing. Predictive pedestrian protection complements Front Assist, and the parking assistant has been further optimised. There’s also Blind Spot Detection, Rear Traffic Alert and a reverse camera.

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New features include a customisable key (allows multiple users to save their own vehicle settings), a heated steering wheel, folding tables on the back of the front seats, bottle holders which facilitate the opening of PET bottles, and a removable torch in the boot of the wagon.

Five VW Group TSI and four TDI engines are available, ranging from 1.0 to 2.0 litres in size, with 84 hp to 184 hp. For almost all motors, a DSG automatic with six or seven gears is available in addition to the good old stick shift. AWD is an option for the 1.8 TSI and 2.0 TDI versions. VAG’s Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) – which enables the driver to regulate steering and damping characteristics in Comfort, Normal and Sport modes – is optional.


GALLERY: Pre-facelift Skoda Octavia RS