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by Tim Beissmann

The all-new Skoda Octavia has been officially unveiled, with the Czech manufacturer revealing a car that is larger, more fuel efficient, better equipped and more sharply styled than the model it replaces.

With its sights firmly set on the likes of Toyota Camry, Mazda6 and Ford Mondeo, the third-generation Skoda Octavia will arrive in Australian showrooms in the second half of 2013, a few months after its official unveiling at the Geneva motor show in March.

At 4659mm long, 1814mm wide and with a 2686mm wheelbase, the 2013 Skoda Octavia is 90mm longer, 45mm wider and 108mm more generous between the wheels than the car it replaces. In addition to its 590-litre boot, which Skoda says is the biggest in its class, the new Octavia also offers more head, knee and elbow space for rear-seat passengers, as well as extra headroom and elbow width for those in the front.

Despite the Octavia’s substantial growth, the new model is up to 102kg lighter than the second-gen car thanks to its use of lighter yet stronger high- and ultra-high-tensile steel in the car’s construction.

The weight-loss program contributes to making the new model more efficient than before, with the champion fuel miser, the 81kW 1.6-litre four-cylinder diesel-powered Skoda Octavia GreenLine, consuming a claimed 3.4 litres per 100km on the combined cycle.

The global line-up will include three other diesel engines and four petrol alternatives, with all but the entry-level tunes available with stop-start and brake energy regeneration tech. Manual and dual-clutch automatic transmissions will be offered across the line-up. A 132kW 1.8-litre petrol engine will headline the range from launch, although Skoda promises the sporty Octavia RS will take over as the flagship model in the near future.

With the Skoda Octavia based on the same Volkswagen Group MQB platform as the new Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf Mk7, the Czech brand has access to a number of advanced safety features for the first time. Among the Octavia’s list of driver assistance systems is adaptive cruise control, intelligent high-beam assist, automatic parking assist and traffic sign recognition.

Other firsts to the Octavia nameplate include drive mode selection (allowing owners to change the vehicle’s dynamic characteristics), keyless entry with push-button start and a panoramic sunroof.

New infotainment systems also promise to take the Octavia’s interior to new heights, with touchscreen displays and proximity sensors with swiping functionality available in higher-level systems.

More details on the 2013 Skoda Octavia will be revealed in the lead-up to its Geneva unveiling early next year.




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