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First Look

The new Skoda Octavia vRS is now 20bhp more powerful

Skoda Octavia receives mid-cycle update - including the fast one - bringing new tech to a restyled exterior

Published: 14 Feb 2024

This is the new Skoda Octavia, and among a slew of Really Important Updates like new lights, a new grille and some colourways - be still thine beating heart! - the range-topping vRS has been gifted with more horsepower than its predecessor. Welcome to the future of law enforcement.

There are four trim levels available from the off: SE Technology, SE L, SportLine and that upgraded vRS so beloved of the UK's police force. Indeed the vRS's new found power boost - a punchy 20bhp taking total power to 261bhp - is achieved courtesy of a better air intake (read: bigger) and "friction optimisation".

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Other, more sensible options appear via various four-cylinder petrol and diesel engine outputs, which range between 114 and 200bhp outside the vRS. 

The entry-level cars will be fitted with a six-speed manual, while sports suspension and progressive steering separate the mid-range cars onward. Skoda has even announced an all-wheel drive mild-hybrid Octavia will be available in due course, and TopGear.com is immediately looking forward to the announcement of a 600bhp hybrid vRS. Look, it could happen.

Let’s unpack the exterior, beginning with the new second-generation LED lights. They’ll now adopt 36 individual crystalline elements for sharper looks and even better illumination of dustbins and trees. The rear also gets a set of LEDs and animated indicators, which extend to the tailgate through the C-shaped light cluster on select models. 

A revised and repositioned grille also sits alongside the new lightning, and updated front and rear bumpers, the latter increasing the car’s overall length slightly. Something else looks new, doesn't it? Ah, yes, that’ll be the lower air intakes which merge more closely with the wheel arches. It’s a much more refined look, with a choice of up to 10 colours and a range of 16 to 19in alloys.

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The big changes continue inside, with a total of nine designs on offer which each place a bigger precedence on sustainability, sporting recycled fabrics and treated leather aplenty. The cabin also features redesigned upholstery and trim/door panels, finished in either black or cognac. No gin and tonic colour option, sadly. Though you will get to enjoy this new look with upgraded function and lumbar support seats.

Of course this being a Skoda means it's filled with actual practicality, and thus there's a dedicated storage box and a multifunctional pocket in the luggage area. A tablet holder can also be had as an option. Other goodies include the obligatory ice scraper located by the fuel filler flap and an optional umbrella - again both made from sustainable materials.

Time to talk tech, which is centred around a 10in digital display as standard and can be upgraded to a 13in unit with Skoda set to incorporate ChatGPT in at a later date to aid the 'Laura' voice assistant.

A few new safety systems have also been added, with Intelligent Park Assist and Remote Park Assist making their debuts in the Octavia, alongside Attention and Drowsiness Assist. The latter assesses many parameters of a driver’s behaviour to alert them of a drop in driving standards, and should even warn you about when your bladder next needs an empty. We can’t mock too much, though, the pre-existing safety suite has already received a five-star Euro NCAP rating, so you can probably add an invisible star to it with all these new additions.

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Skoda board member for sales and marketing, Martin Jahn, said: "The Octavia is the backbone of the Škoda brand. After four modern generations and over 7.15 million units sold, the upgraded Octavia will continue this success story. With a refined front view, new assistance systems and state-of-the-art infotainment, including a 13-inch central display for the first time, our updated bestseller is set to maintain its position as one of the most successful models in Europe. I am convinced it will continue to impress everyday explorers - with its versatility, attractive design and value for money."

Pricing is yet to be confirmed for the new Octavia, but we'll update in due course.

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