Skoda has pulled the covers off the rather Audi-like fourth-generation Octavia. This five-door family notchback may look similar to the car it replaces, but the Czech carmaker promises increased connectivity and even more room inside to get lost in.

The car sits on a revised version of the outgoing model’s MQB architecture, and both the standard car and the Combi wagon are larger than before. At 4,689 mm long, the two are 19 and 22 mm longer respectively, and they are also 15 mm wider at 1,829 mm. They are also within two millimetres of each other in terms of height (1,470 mm for the notchback, 1,468 mm for the Combi) and share the same 2,686 mm wheelbase.

Changes to the exterior are noticeable if you look up close. The front end is more assertive with a large hexagonal grille, flanked by slimmer headlights that feature full-LED lighting as standard (and thankfully ditch the divisive quad-headlight graphic of the facelifted previous-generation model), with matrix technology optional. A single full-width air intake is situated underneath, with LED fog lights.

Shut lines are minimised thanks to the use of a clamshell bonnet, while the crisp shoulder line is punctuated by pronounced bulges over the front and rear wheel arches, giving it a bit of an Audi A5 vibe. Other cues lifted from its larger sibling include the upswept window line on the notchback, along with the angular full-LED tail lights with C-shaped graphics. The drag coefficient is just 0.24 for the notchback and 0.26 for the Combi.

New options include wheels that measure up to 19 inches in diameter, plus new Crystal Black, Lava Blue and Titanium Blue colours. Skoda has also introduced Chrome and Dynamic appearance packages as options for the Ambition and Style trim levels.

The interior gets a wholesale makeover, with a layered dashboard design that sees a freestanding touchscreen sitting above a divot mirroring the grille contours. Under the screen sits the air vents and a series of one-touch controls, with most of the buttons and switches having migrated to the screen. The dashboard and door cards are made of new soft-touch materials and feature chrome trim for a more upmarket look.

The larger dimensions have had a positive effect on interior space, with Skoda promising five millimetres of extra rear legroom at 78 mm. The boot is also 10 litres larger for the notchback at a commodious 600 litres, while the Combi’s luggage area is now 30 litres larger at an absolutely massive 640 litres.

Elsewhere, the steering wheel is now of a two-spoke design (a three-spoke sports version is available), and the multifunction controls now feature knurled knobs. You’ll also find an electronic gear selector switch for the DSG dual-clutch transmission, an electronic parking brake with auto brake hold and more ergonomic seats with a massage function, plus 10-colour ambient lighting and optional “Skoda” projection lighting.

The infotainment systems are based on Volkswagen’s modular infotainment matrix (MIB), the four options featuring touchscreens that measure either 8.25 or 10 inches across. The ones with the 10-inch displays have the Laura personal assistant, while the range-topping Columbus unit even has a touch-sensitive slider for controlling the volume. There’s also an optional 10.25-inch digital instrument display and head-up display.

Safety-wise, the Octavia is available with Front Assist autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, Predictive Cruise Control that works from zero to 210 km/h, Side Assist blind spot monitoring with a new Exit Warning and a Travel Assist system that combines Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Assist, Traffic Jam Assist and Emergency Assist. Collision Avoidance Assist (provides steering assistance) and Turn Assist (detects oncoming traffic when turning at a junction) make their Skoda debuts here.

Under the bonnet, the Octavia will be offered with a range of turbocharged TSI petrol and TDI diesel engines with up 190 PS. Two new “Evo” petrol engines are available with eTEC 48-volt mild hybrid technology – a 110 PS 1.0 litre three-cylinder and a 150 PS 1.5 litre four-pot – and there’s also an option of a G-TEC natural gas 1.5 litre unit with 130 PS. A six-speed manual gearbox and a seven-speed DSG continue to be offered.

For the first time, the Octavia will also be offered as an iV plug-in hybrid, powered by a 156 PS 1.4 litre TSI engine and a 75 kW electric motor. They are paired to a six-speed DSG and produce a total system output of 204 PS and 350 Nm of torque, and with a 13 kWh battery, this variant is capable of an all-electric range of up to 55 km on the WLTP cycle.

The car will also be available with a few chassis options. In addition to the regular setup, buyers can specify a sports suspension that is 15 mm lower, as well as a Rough Road chassis with an extra 15 mm of ground clearance. Dynamic Chassis Control adaptive dampers are also offered, lowered by 10 mm.