Skoda Octavia RS (Q2)
The Skoda Octavia RS will arrive in the second quarter of 2014. Skoda's performance flagship is again available in ‘liftback’ sedan and wagon body styles, and with turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol and diesel engine alternatives. The petrol model lifts its 162kW/350Nm engine from the new Volkswagen Golf GTI and sprints from 0-100km/h in a claimed 6.8 seconds – half a second quicker than its predecessor. The diesel version likewise inherits its 135kW/350Nm powerplant from the new Golf GTD and stops the clock three tenths earlier at 8.1sec. Six-speed manual and dual-clutch automatic transmissions are also borrowed from the Octavia’s famous hot-hatch cousin. Sports suspension and an electronic differential team with bi-xenon headlights, red brake calipers and a unique sports body kit in the RS package that’s expected to retain its sub-$40K starting price.
Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Q2)
Skoda Australia will launch its first proper compact hatchback early in 2014, with the Rapid Spaceback finally giving the local division a direct rival for the Toyota Corolla and Mazda 3, among many others. Skoda says the hatch offers more rear headroom and legroom than its direct competitors, and has one of the largest rear cargo areas either with the back seats upright (415 litres) or folded forwards (1380L), in addition to a handy double cargo floor. While specifications of the Australian line-up are yet to be confirmed, 77kW/175Nm 1.2-litre 77TSI and 90kW/200Nm 1.4-litre 90TSI turbocharged petrol engines are expected to be available from launch. A diesel engine is also expected, likely the 66kW/230Nm 1.6-litre 66TDI that claims fuel consumption of around 4.3L/100km. A basic equipment list is expected, with cruise and climate control, digital radio, satellite navigation, and parking sensors reserved for the higher models. Expect a sub-$20,000 driveaway starting price for the Rapid Spaceback.
Skoda Yeti facelift (mid 2014)
The quirky and loveable Skoda Yeti gets a facelift in mid 2014 that will bring it into line the Czech brand’s current design language, defined by squarer features and stronger contours and lines. For the first time the Yeti will be available in two styles, the urban-focused ‘City’ with body-coloured plastic bumpers, and the off-road-inspired ‘Outdoor’ with harder-wearing bumpers and protector panels. The range will continue to comprise turbocharged four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, with the 77kW/175Nm 1.2 petrol and 103kW/320Nm 2.0-litre diesel expected to carry over. Manual and dual-clutch automatic transmissions and front- and all-wheel drive will also continue to be offered. The updated Yeti retains its flexible cabin with removable rear seats and also becomes the first Skoda available with a rear-view camera.
Skoda Superb facelift (second half)
Skoda’s flagship Superb gets its first facelift in the second half of 2014, boasting a squarer grille, straighter-edged headlights, a broader lower intake incorporating foglights, and striped LED tail-lights at the rear. The cabin receives a more subtle update, introducing new three- and four-spoke steering wheels, and fresh materials, colours and decorative trim elements. Skoda claims to have improved the Superb’s fuel efficiency by up to 19 per cent for select variants by adding stop-start technology, cutting weight, improving gearing, and reducing tyre and wind resistance. New features include a next-generation auto parking system, sunroof with integrated solar cells, and upgraded infotainment systems, headlined by a 6.5-inch touchscreen with sat-nav and 30Gb hard drive. Expect the Skoda Superb to retain its sub-$40K starting price.