New Skodas are coming
Skoda India is busy getting ready to launch the Octavia RS and the Kodiaq later this year
Skoda will introduce the facelifted Octavia in the first week of June. This upgrade features a completely new front end with a wider grille and a split headlamp unit. The air dam in the bumper has also been redesigned. The changes to the rear end of the car are subtle and not immediately apparent. We quite like the current headlamp unit, but will reserve our opinion on the new one till we see it in the flesh. More interestingly though, the Octavia also gets a wider track at the rear - a 20mm increase - to aid handling. There are a host of connected functionalities that will become part of the infotainment system, although their effectiveness in our environment remains to be seen.
While Skoda has seen a fair amount of success with the Octavia, people have been clamouring for the RS version. Recently, the newest version of the Octavia RS was introduced with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol motor capable of making 238bhp (likely to be detuned to 230bhp for India) and a 0-100kph sprint in 6.6 seconds. The new RS has an option of either being mated to a 7-speed DSG or a 6-speed manual, which is more likely to be introduced in India. It also features a limited-slip differential to handle the 370Nm of torque that is available between 1600-4300rpm, and negating effects of torque steer.
It is easily distinguished with the gloss-black treatment of various trims around the car, which are otherwise typically finished in chrome. Apart from this there is the RS logo to make sure you don’t mistake it for a regular Octy. Front bumper also get a fresh design to accommodate larger air inlets for the high performance engine. Additionally, it also get full LED headlamps with the tail lamps and fog lamps also being powered by LEDs. Skoda has gone the whole hog with the interior, too – all black, with aluminium-finish pedals and alcantara seats with extra bolstering for better support through corners. The Octavia RS is expected to be launched in India sometime in September and don’t be surprised if they manage to get prices in the vicinity of the Volkswagen Polo GTI.
Skoda remains upbeat with the impending launch of the Kodiaq, too. It will closely follow the introduction of the Octavia RS and is likely to be in showrooms around the beginning of October. Skoda’s first seven-seater SUV will be powered by the 2.0-litre TDI, although whether we will receive the 145bhp or the 185bhp version remains to be seen. This motor will take precedence over other available petrol and diesel motor options. The 2.0-litre diesel will be coupled with a 7-speed DSG unit and be capable of propelling the Kodiaq to 100kph in 8.9 seconds (185bhp) with a top speed of 210kph.
Expect the Kodiaq to be offered in one of its higher trim levels and packed with driver assist aids and interior comfort features. The second row of seats offers a 60:40 split and can be moved lengthwise to allow for more legroom in the third row along with individual seat back angle adjustment. Judging by the fact that Skoda targets to place the Kodiaq just above the fully loaded Superb, their new flagship vehicle would be in the Rs 35-40 lakh range. This, for an SUV that will feature four-wheel-drive and seven seats, in its 4.7-metre long frame, with a whole lot of kit packed in, should present a good value proposition, similar to the one presented by our reigning Car of the Year - the Superb.