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The current-generation Octavia made its debut in India four years ago, and ever since then, the car has been sold largely without any changes. This is the first big update the Indian version has received and it offers sharper styling and an updated cabin, but remains mechanically unchanged.
On the outside
The first thing you’ll notice is the new quad headlamp design - the smaller lamps merge neatly with the lines of the butterfly grille. And the larger, outer lamps look similar, but smaller, to the ones on the old Octavia. The car comes fitted with adaptive, full-LED lighting with an auto high-beam function that’s available on the top two models.
The reworked bonnet comes with subtly stronger character lines. The front bumper is slightly different – there’s a smart chrome strip that connects the new LED fog lamps on either side (this also provides a cornering light function). The side is the same, but there are new-design 16-inch alloys. The rear section is largely similar, spare for revised LED tail-lamps and a tweaked bumper.
On the inside
The biggest change in the cabin is the inclusion of a new infotainment screen. The 8.0-inch touchscreen display is a delight to use. The physical buttons on the old 6.0-inch display have made way for touch buttons. The high-resolution display is responsive and features Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink compatibility.
There are twin scrolling knobs below the display that allow you to control the touchscreen. The dual-zone climate control system feels familiar to use and the entire section features glossy black trim, which contrasts well with the beige in the cabin. What else is new? There is a sleeker steering-wheel and a refreshed instrument cluster. There’s a parking assist function which can be activated via a button ahead of the gear selector.
Under the hood
The car continues to be sold with a choice of three engines and three gearboxes, all making the same amount of power as the outgoing car. The 2.0-litre diesel produces 143hp and 320Nm of torque and is available with a choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed DSG. Petrol engines include the 1.4 TSI and 1.8 TSI. The smaller engine produces 150hp and 250Nm and comes with a six-speed manual only. There’s a more powerful 1.8 TSI engine that makes 180hp and 250Nm that’s channelled via a seven-speed DSG. The car tested here is the 1.8 TSI and it's an absolute hoot to drive.
From behind the wheel
Part of the reason for the enhoyable drive is the car’s multi-link independent rear suspension. The Octavia still offers high levels of grip and poise when pushed. All three versions of the Octavia will will delight the driver and all cars are extremely stable at high speeds.
Is it worth the money?
The new Octavia will go on sale within a month's time, and prices could drop by up to ₹1 lakh, or more, depending on GST. The Octavia could start at around ₹15 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the base 1.4 TSI Ambition trim with the top 2.0 TDI Style Plus priced at ₹22-23 lakh.
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