Having sold more than five million units in two decades, the Octavia is Skoda’s bread and butter model globally. On sale in the county since the first-gen model, India has been one of its prime markets and manufacturing hubs.
The stakes are high when you have to come up with a mid-cycle refresh or facelift of your bestselling model. And when Skoda unveiled the third-gen Octavia facelift in late 2016, it quickly divided opinions about its older Mercedes-Benz E-Class-like split headlights. But as they say, don’t judge a book by its cover. Here’s what has changed and carried over in the updated model of one of the most popular nameplates of the D-segment.
- Well loaded – full-LED headlamps with daytime running lamps, LED tail lamps, 16-inch alloy wheels, panoramic sunroof, 8-inch capacitive touchscreen, among others
- Features like hands-free parking and the new 8-inch infotainment system are not even offered in the Skoda Superb
- Caters to a wide range of customers from chauffeur-driven to enthusiasts with its drivetrain options and suspension setups
- Advanced directed-injected and turbocharged engines with complementing manual or dual-clutch automatic transmission options
- Classic European build quality and ride and handling
- Independent rear suspension setup is limited to 1.8 TSI only
- Rivals offer better under-thigh support at the rear
- Extremely light-coloured interior which will get soiled easily
- Most feel-good features are limited to top-end variants only
- The diesel is a bit louder for its segment
Stand Out Features
Full-LED headlamps with daytime running LEDs
Large 8-inch capacitive touchscreen infotainment system
With this facelift, Skoda has worked to iron out a few wrinkles in the third-gen Octavia’s packaging. It always had potent powertrain options and a lengthy list of class-leading features. Surprisingly, Skoda has added more luxuries from the Euro-spec facelift model, which are unheard of in the segment. In fact, features like hands-free parking and the new big screen infotainment system are not even offered in the Skoda Superb as well. As SUVs/crossovers are eating into the sales of these D-segment sedans nowadays, they need to lure customers with over-the-top features, and the 2017 Octavia has got that double ticked!
Skoda is also actively working to enhance its after sales service, which had a few loose ends earlier. It offers up to four-year additional warranty and economically priced four-year all-inclusive periodic maintenance package. There's a MySkoda app as well, which aims to make the overall service experience more transparent. This will surely help in clearing the mindset about its aftersales and in turn, improving the sales.
The GST is all set to go in action from July, which will make cars like these slightly more affordable. The 2017 Octavia facelift might be priced lower than the previous model, and this, perhaps, will singlehandedly become the USP of the updated model. We expect pricing for the updated sedan to begin from just about Rs 15 lakh (the outgoing model is priced just below Rs 16 lakh) and go up to Rs 22 lakh.
As the Octavia is a sought-after model in Skoda’s line-up globally, it was expected that the facelift of the current model will bring subtle stylistic changes along with new goodies to keep the product competitive. And that is exactly what has happened with the 2017 Octavia. There’s an air of subtlety in its aesthetic makeover.
However, its 'double headlamps' have certainly altered the appearance of the front fascia compared to the pre-facelift model, which was rather on the conventional side. Perhaps, one thing is definite that its split headlamps may not be to everyone's taste. On the ‘brighter’ side, in the very literal meaning of the word, the updated Octavia gets full-LED headlamps over the Bi-xenon ones of the pre-facelift model. The new units, of course, have higher performance and are more energy efficient as well. The fog lamps are halogen and also feature cornering function.
But I feel that its new look will eventually grow with time; it takes a bit to settle in. Frankly, it has grown on me over the course of my short stint with the updated model. The inner units of the headlamps, which appear as a part of the grille, make the Skoda’s butterfly grille look wider than it actually is. Thus, in turn, providing a wider stance to its front profile.
The redesigned bumper with a relatively larger air dam and a chrome applique compliment the pseudo width that the grille and headlight arrangement imparts. Incidentally, the split headlamps of the Octavia put it in line with Skoda’s new SUVs, the Kodiaq and the recently revealed Karoq!
The sides remain identical to the previous model, save for the new set of 16-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels. Look meticulously and you’ll find that the rear fenders are marginally wider to accommodate the increased rear track (read about it in the Ride and Handling section). But this change is hard to notice to the untrained eye.
The changes at the rear are quite limited compared to the front. Though the tail lamps retain the same shape, the new LED graphics (Skoda’s regular ‘C’ shape) and the 3D design of the revised units make the rear look sharper than before.
The updated rear bumper gets more streamlined featuring rectangular reflectors. And its new middle crease line makes the Octavia look less rear heavy.
In terms of colours on offer, the 2017 Octavia discontinues three out of the six colours offered with the pre-facelift model, including the amazing 'Race Blue'. There's an addition of a new shade, Quartz Grey, which you can see in the images.