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Octavia gets a fresh start

The arrival next year of an updated Skoda Octavia is more than just a cosmetic tickle for the Czech brand.

There will be new engines, more DSG manu-matic models and a new dollar deal for the family-focused car that is leading Skoda sales.

Final plans are still secret and the head of Skoda in Australia says there will be a couple of surprises.

“We've had time to have a think about how Octavia works from an entry point of view in Australia,” Matthew Wiesner says. “Without giving anything away, that's where we've put a lot of focus.”

The updated Octavia was previewed at this month's Paris Motor Show, with a freshen-up that starts at a bolder grille and runs to a simpler tail-end treatment, along with a lot of work on the dashboard and cabin quality.

The seats are also new.

“The facelift brings a new level of refinement and quality,” Wiesner says. “It also sits well with the Superb model. Put them together and you can see the family resemblance, including some touches that have come across from Superb.”

The 2.0-litre petrol engine now in the Octavia will be dumped in favour of a 1.8 with seven-speed DSG.

The launch plan will see the sedan and wagon rolled out first, then the RS and Scout all-wheel drive.

“The plan is to launch the car towards the end of March. European production is really just starting, so it's the typical roll-through for the various markets,” Wiesner says.

But he denies any delay to clear stocks as Skoda struggles through its start-up year in Australia.

“Even if we wanted to push it forward . . . there is no point in trying this year,” he says.

“We have to run-out current models and make sure that is done cleanly.”