Tuesday, July 4, 2017

2017 Skoda Octavia facelift review, test drive

It's been nearly four years since the current-generation Skoda Octavia made its debut in India. In that time, the car has sold largely without any changes and this is the first big update for our market. For 2017, Skoda offers sharper styling, an updated cabin and minimal mechanical changes from the 2013 model.

At first glance, the Octavia's new quad headlamp design catches the eye immediately. It might look a bit strange in pictures, but in person, the effect is rather cohesive and makes what used to be a very safe design now stand out. The smaller lamps merge neatly with the lines of the butterfly grille while the larger, outer lamps are reminiscent of the old Octavia's, but shorter. You now get adaptive, full-LED lighting with an auto high-beam function on the top two models. Complementing the new face is a reworked bonnet with subtly stronger character lines. The front bumper gets a minor revision and sports a smart chrome strip that connects the new LED fog lamps on either side, which also provide a cornering light function. The side profile retains the smart, fuss-free design of the original car, the only difference being the new 16-inch alloy wheel design. Larger wheels would have filled out the arches nicely, but at the cost of ride comfort. Like the side, the rear section is highly similar, but sports mildly revised LED tail-lamps and an ever so slightly different bumper. Blink, and you'll miss both.

Just as the new split-headlamps headline the exterior changes, the cabin is highlighted by one very noticeable improvement – a new infotainment screen. The inclusion of the new, 8.0-inch touchscreen display bumps up the premium feel in the cabin. The physical buttons on the old 6.0-inch display have been replaced by touch buttons which further increase the perception of the screen size. The high-resolution display offers good touch response, as well as Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink compatibility. For those who prefer an analogue input, twin scrolling knobs below the display allow control over the touchscreen. The layout of the dual-zone climate control system is familiar and the entire section gets a new, glossy black trim that matches the large display while providing a nice contrast to the beige cabin. Other new bits include a sleeker steering wheel and a refreshed instrument cluster. The Octavia now gets a parking assist function that can be activated via a button ahead of the gear selector. The top variant also gets colour-programmable ambient cabin lighting.


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