The new Skoda Octavia has been confirmed for production later this year. Due to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the new model features a range of mechanical and cosmetic updates, including the arrival of plug-in hybrid and mild-hybrid drivetrains, as well as more sophisticated styling.

Benard Maiher, CEO of Skoda, confirmed the new Octavia’s production schedule at the firm’s annual conference, stating: “The Octavia remains our best-selling product. We sold 388,200 units of the car in 2018, even in its seventh year of life. We will introduce a new generation of Octavia later this year, just in time for the model’s 60th birthday.”

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We’ve already seen the new Octavia undergoing winter testing and, under the heavy camouflage, its headlights, grille, front bumper and bonnet seem to closely mirror those of our exclusive images (below). The new estate’s side profile has evolved over the previous model, too, with a more sharply sloping rear window and a larger rear wing.

Our exclusive images show the Octavia saloon will undergo the same design evolution, with the current car’s long rear window and rising metal line being ditched in favour of a more coupe-like appearance. The redesign shouldn’t hamper boot space, either, with a deeper floor and better packaging giving a likely 600 litres of capacity with the rear seats in place.

The Octavia’s redesign won’t necessarily mean an increase in size. The Czech firm’s new Scala hatchback, which sits below the Octavia in the company’s line-up, is already large for a “conventional” hatch, so it’s unlikely that Skoda will feel the need to expand the Octavia’s dimensions. We expect the new model to have the same wheelbase as the existing model, maintaining its useful advantage of rear-seat space over its rivals.

Inside, the new Octavia will get upgraded materials, with higher-grade plastics being paired with piano black and metallic finishes. The dash will also feature the VW Group’s latest infotainment systems. Entry-level versions could get a 6.5-inch display, whilst mid-range models and up will come with either an eight-inch or 9.2-inch touchscreen. 

We’d expect the dash will offer the useful ledge below the infotainment screen, first seen in the Scala, where users can rest their hand when using the display. High-end variants will be offered with a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument binacle, but unlike with the forthcoming Mk8 Volkswagen Golf, Skoda is likely to still offer conventional dials (with a central digital information display) on entry-level editions.

Speaking at the recent launch of the Scala, Skoda’s board member for technical development, Christian Strube, told Auto Express: “Octavia is on the MQB platform, and that gives us more possibilities for the Octavia. We can also improve the next Octavia as we have improved the Scala.”

New 2019 Skoda Octavia: engines and drivetrains 

The new Skoda Octavia’s engine line-up will focus on a pair of petrols, both of which are well-known motors in the VW Group. The entry point will be a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol producing 114bhp, while at the core of the range will be the latest 1.5-litre four-cylinder unit, with cylinder deactivation on demand and around 148bhp. 

Skoda might have been tempted to axe the 1.0-litre engine from the Octavia range – reflecting its positioning above the Scala in the line-up – but Strube said: “We won’t drop the smaller engines. We are not premium. Octavia will be a normal car for normal people – a smart choice.” 

Despite dropping diesel engines from its facelifted Fabia, Skoda remains committed to the fuel choice in its larger models, so the Octavia will have up to three diesel variants, with 1.6 and 2.0-litre capacities and power outputs from 114bhp up to 187bhp. 

This generation of Octavia should be the one that introduces electrification, too. Strube confirmed to Auto Express that a plug-in hybrid version of the car is all but guaranteed. It should stick closely to the specifications of the Superb hybrid, which is due this year with a pure-electric range of around 40 miles.

There’s also the option, on some engines at least, of 48-volt ‘mild-hybrid’ power. This set-up is likely to be make its debut on the Mk8 Volkswagen Golf, also due in the second half of 2019, and Skoda could well harness the tech’s potential on some of the Octavia variants as well. It’s conceivable that the firm will initially limit 48v to the 1.5-litre version of the car, preferring to keep the 1.0-litre three-cylinder motor (which can also use the technology) simpler and cheaper. 

Within a year of launch, the model should get new generations of its vRS performance variants. We’d expect a couple of power options, and for the more potent edition to be the fastest Skoda Octavia yet, with around 261bhp. 

A Frankfurt show debut will mean the Octavia will likely arrive in UK dealers late in the autumn. Prices will rise slightly over the existing version, to reflect improvements in safety technology and infotainment; that should give the car a starting figure of around £18,000.

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