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Skoda has taken the wraps off the third generation Octavia; it is larger and roomier than the outgoing model but also up to 102kg lighter. There is a strong emphasis on practicality and safety as well as value - promising 'middle-class qualities at compact car price'.
Compared with its predecessor the Octavia is 90mm longer with a 108mm longer wheelbase, while the width is increased by 45mm. As with previous Octavias it has the outline of a saloon but with a large rear hatch. Skoda describes the shape as 'more dynamic' thanks to the shorter front overhang and a C-pillar that is further back, as well as an upswept line for the windows in the rear doors.
The Octavia is claimed to match larger cars for interior space combined with a 'best in class' 590-litre boot. Passengers are protected by nine airbags including knee and rear side airbags for the first time in an Octavia. All versions get a variety of practical touches including a bin in the door panel, warning vest compartment under the driver's seat and a holder to accommodate an iPod or mobile phone. Higher level models will get new-generation radio navigation systems incorporating touch displays with proximity sensors and swiping functionality.
The Green Line version uses a 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine with 110hp and produces 89 grams of CO2 per 100 kilometres, with fuel economy of 83mpg (3.4 litres/100km). Other engines include the 1.8-litre TSI petrol unit with 179hp. Apart from entry level petrol and diesel motors 'Green tec' stop-start and energy recuperation is available on all engines. In total, four petrol and four diesel powerplants are offered and some markets will get a natural gas-fuelled option. At launch all models will be front-wheel drive but all-wheel drive versions will join the range later.
The new Skoda Octavia is expected to go on sale in March. A Combi estate will join the range later in 2013 and Skoda is expected to launch the RS model at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July.
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