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by Tim Beissmann

The all-new Skoda Octavia has been rated one of the most structurally sound vehicles on the market by independent crash-tester ANCAP.

The Octavia easily claimed the maximum five-star safety rating (up from the old model’s four-star result) with a score of 35.87 points out of 37, but could have claimed the title of the highest-rated new vehicle in Australia if it were equipped with additional protection for rear-seat passengers.

The Skoda Octavia scored 15.87 points out of 16 in the frontal offset crash test and perfect scores in the side impact and pole tests. Keeping the Octavia from top spot, however, is its lack of seatbelt reminders and seatbelt pretensioners for rear passengers, which robs the new mid-sizer of one point under ANCAP’s scoring system.

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If it were equipped with rear seatbelt reminders and pretensioners, the Octavia would have scored 36.87 out of 37, putting it ahead of ANCAP’s current highest-rated car, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class (36.78), and other top-scorers, including the BMW 3 Series (36.76) and the Volvo V40 (36.67).

It’s a familiar story for the Volkswagen Group. The Octavia’s German cousin, the Volkswagen Golf, likewise would have been the highest-rated car if it featured the same technology in the rear, scoring 35.92 without rear reminders and pretensioners.

The Octavia, which launches in Australia this week, will be significantly more affordable than that trio, with an anticipated mid-$20,000s starting price.

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ANCAP’s scoring sheet reveals the new model comes standard with seven airbags (dual front, side, curtain, and driver’s knee), electronic stability control, automatic headlights, daytime running lights and reversing collision avoidance technology, and is available with adaptive cruise control, auto emergency braking, adaptive headlights and a fatigue detection system.

Full pricing and specification details will be revealed when the embargo lifts at 12pm today.




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