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ARCTIC Vienna was the place that Skoda chose to reveal the latest face-lifted Skoda Octavia hatchback and estate versions of its best-seller.

With over five-million Octavias sold since 1996 and 23,068 sold last year in the UK (up 2% on 2015 and its best ever!), the time has come for Skoda’s mid-sized saloon and hatch range to get a dose of the new Skoda design language.

The work of Skoda’s styling team under chief of exterior design Jozef Kaban, it’s the second new Skoda that Business Car Manager was lucky to see alongside the Kodiaq SUV back in September 2015 and it hasn’t changed much since then.

face-lifted Skoda Octavia

Face of the new Octavia

The biggest and most obvious change over the outgoing Octavia has to be its nose. The outgoing car was undoubtedly game-changing for the Czech brand, like every model before and since. We liked its sharp Audi-like detailing but felt it lacked identity when compared with rival Volkswagen Group products.

With the wider grille, more sculpted three-dimensional bonnet and the ‘split’ front headlight design with optional LED detail, there’s no doubt the latest Octavia is distinctive – but is it as attractive we wonder?

Changes for the back of the Octavia hatch and estate models are less distinctive and are limited to LED rear light clusters and revised rear bumpers.

Kaban summed up the face-lifted Octavia on the night best by saying: “Its more emotional and aesthetic.”

face-lifted Skoda Octavia

The cockpit

Inside, apart from a heated steering wheel and customisable keys, the big news in the face-lifted Octavia’s interior has to be the new infotainment systems.

First seen in the Kodiaq, the range starts with the 8.0-inch Bolero unit, going through to the range-topping Columbus navigation system which comes with a 9.2-inch display.

The Columbus system also includes a Wi-Fi hotspot and can be combined with an optional extra LTE module, for super fast data transfer. In addition, Phonebox enables inductive smartphone charging.

Skoda’s groundbreaking mobile on-line service, Skoda Connect, is also offered with the face-lifted Octavia. Providing information and entertainment, with the Care Connect services.

Other changes to the Octavia’s interior include the addition of ’Simply Clever’ features. These include, two USB ports in the rear, folding tray tables on the back of the front seats, bottle holders that make the opening of PET bottles easier, and a removable LED torch in the estate’s boot.

Tailored for business

  • LIKE the look of the face-lifted Octavia, but want your Skoda tailored to business use?
  •  Well, we were told by a Skoda representative at the reveal in Vienna, that the business-focused SE Technology trim will carry on in the face-lifted range.
  •  Available at launch in March, standard equipment will include the all-new Amundsen touch-screen with sat-nav and even a Wi-Fi hotspot.
  •  Other SE Technology standard equipment to tempt business buyers to this Skoda Octavia include adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors and 16-inch alloy wheels.
  •  We understand from the same Skoda representative, that like the rest of the face-lifted Octavia range, the price increase in comparison to the outgoing car will be less than £500.

More important to business buyers than perhaps the latest tech, has to be the new generation of electronic assistance systems, that make driving the upgraded SKODA Octavia even safer and more comfortable.

Additions to the wide range you can choose from include Trailer Assist, the Predictive Pedestrian Protection function, Blind Spot Detect and Rear Traffic Alert.

The same applies to Crew Protect Assist, which works together with Front Assist and includes the City Emergency Braking function. While the Park Assist feature has been enhanced.

Under the bonnet of the latest Octavia is the choice of two TSI petrols (1.0 and 1.4) and three 2.0-litre TDI diesels. With the choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG transmissions.

The fiery vRS is the performance option, with the choice of the 2.0-litre 230PS TSI petrol, or 184PS 2.0-litre TDI diesel.

The first face-lifted Octavias will hit UK shores in March with the VRS and Scout following on in April. We understand there will be a price increase of less than £500, to cover the increased technology.

Business Car Manager will bring you more on the face-lifted Octavia, as we’ve been lucky enough to be invited to drive it.

face-lifted Skoda Octavia

Business end of the sleek new Skoda Octavia estate

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