Skoda has followed stablemate Volkswagen into announcing significant feature changes to its Australian range, introducing new equipment, new powertrains and new models.
Model ranges blessed with an update this week include the small Rapid, the mid-sized Octavia, the high-riding Octavia Scout and the recently re-styled Yeti. (Skoda’s all-new Fabia has also now joined the Australian range. Catch our review of that new model here.)
Headlining the feature enhancements are new and larger display screens, upgraded Euro 6 engines - some with more power - and the introduction of the new Rapid Monte Carlo trim.
Those new displays now also come with the option of Skoda’s SmartLink system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, making the Czech brand one of the first in Australia to offer the new mobile phone connectivity platforms.
These upgrades come with new pricing across the range, however, and with the exception of the now more affordable Rapid range, most models are now more expensive.
As with Volkswagen's newly updated range, Skoda will be looking to these upgrades to build on an already healthy increase in sales, which currently sit at 2352 year-to-date - up from 1807 for the same period in 2014.
2016 Skoda Rapid Spaceback
Driving the Rapid’s 2016 model-year update is the addition of two upgraded engines, both now compliant with Euro 6 emissions regulations (up from Euro 5).
That upgrade sees 77TSI models replaced with the new 81TSI, while the 90TSI is updated to a 92TSI specification.
81TSI models are six-speed manual only, offering 81kW and 175Nm of torque. Fuel consumption for this model is still to be confirmed, but it is likely to improve on the 5.4L/100km listed with the outgoing 77TSI.
Opting for the 92kW/200Nm 92TSI models means a seven-speed DSG automatic, with fuel consumption listed at 4.9L/100km - down from 6.0L/100km in the previous model.
Both engines now also feature stop/start with brake energy recuperation, contributing to fuel consumption savings.
Another key upgrade for the Rapid Spaceback hatch is the addition of a 5.0-inch touch display, replacing the previous arrangement of a small monochrome display with physical controls only.
In its standard form, the display offers control of the Rapid’s audio system only, in both the regular models and the new Monte Carlo model.
But, add the $1500 Image Pack to regular models or the $1800 Tech Pack to the Monte Carlo, and you’ll gain a larger 6.5 inch display with satellite navigation and Skoda’s new SmartLink system, which adds connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Other features bundled with the Image Pack are Extended glass design on tailgate 17-inch ‘Ray” black alloy wheels, LED daytime lights, tinted windows, a black rear spoiler and black side mirrors, darkened tail lights and black-frosted fog lights.
The Monte Carlo’s Tech Pack also adds keyless entry with push-button start, Front Assist with City Emergency Braking, climate control, LED daytime lights and Fatigue Detection.
2016 Skoda Rapid pricing (before on-road costs):
Rapid 81TSI manual $17,990 (down $1000)
Rapid 92TSI DSG $ 20,990 (down $900)
Rapid Monte Carlo 81TSI manual $22,990 (replaces Elegance)
Rapid Monte Carlo 92TSI DSG $25,790 (replaces Elegance)
2016 Skoda Yeti
Changes in the Yeti for the 2016 model year are limited to the same new 81TSI and 92TSI engine options, replacing the 77TSI and 90TSI engines previously offered.
For the Yeti 4x4 Outdoor, there’s also new 17-inch ‘Erebus’ black alloy wheels, replacing the silver alloy wheels offered previously.
Previously updated in 2014, the Yeti already comes equipped with a 5.0 inch touch display.
The $1700 Tech Pack adds SmartLink with Carplay and Android Auto, along with digital radio, bi-xenon headlights, headlight washers, LED daytime lamps, LED tail lamps, Automatic Park Assist, auto lights and auto wipers.
More: 2015 Skoda Yeti reviewed
2016 Skoda Yeti pricing (before on-road costs):
Yeti Active 81TSI manual $24,390 (up $900)
Yeti Active 81TSI DSG $26,690 (up $900)
Yeti Ambition 92TSI DSG $29,190 (up $900)
Yeti 4x4 Outdoor 103TDI DSG $34,390 (up $800)
2016 Skoda Octavia Hatch, Wagon, Scout 4x4
Like the Rapid, the Octavia range has been given a powertrain shuffle for the 2016 model year.
The entry-level 103kW petrol 103TSI is now replaced by the 110kW Euro 6 petrol 110TSI, but with the 132TSI now dropped from the regular Octavia range, the new unit is essentially a replacement for both.
Those that preferred the 132kW 132TSI don’t need to go without, but they’ll have to move to the Octavia Scout 4x4, now the only model to offer the more powerful mill. (The Scout is also offered in 110TDI and 135TDI diesel forms.)
In the cabin, the Octavia’s 5.8 inch ‘Bolero’ display has been upgraded to 6.5 inches, while the 8.0 inch ‘Columbus’ display is now packed with WiFi and SmartLink - the latter offering access to Apple Carplay and Android Auto.
2016 Skoda Octavia pricing (before on-road costs):
Octavia Ambition 110TSI manual 22,490 (up $800)
Octavia Ambition 110TSI DSG 24,790 (up $800)
Octavia Ambition Plus 110TSI manual 25,590 (up $800)
Octavia Ambition Plus 110TSI DSG 27,890 (up $800)
Octavia Style 110TSI DSG 33,590 (up $950)
Octavia Style 110TDI DSG 36,690 (up $1550)
Octavia RS 162TSI manual 37,590 (up $800)
Octavia RS 162TSI DSG 39,890 (up $800)
Octavia RS 135TDI DSG 40,990 (up $900)
Octavia Ambition 110TSI manual 23,990 (up $950)
Octavia Ambition 110TSI DSG 26,290 (up $950)
Octavia Ambition Plus 110TSI manual 27,090 (up $950)
Octavia Ambition Plus 110TSI DSG 29,390 (up $950)
Octavia Style 110TSI DSG 35,090 (replaces $33,990 103TSI and $36,490 132TSI)
Octavia Style 110TDI DSG 38,190 (up $900)
Octavia RS 162TSI manual 39,090 (up $950)
Octavia RS 162TSI DSG 41,390 (up $950)
Octavia RS 135TDI DSG 42,490 (up $1050)
Octavia Scout 4x4
Octavia Scout 4x4 110TDI manual $32,990 (no change)
Octavia Scout 4x4 Premium 132TSI DSG $38,590 (no change)
Octavia Scout 4x4 Premium 135TDI DSG $41,390 (no change)