motoring.com.au brought you the first images of Skoda’s third-generation Octavia mid-sizer earlier this month and now the bigger Czech liftback has been nabbed by Carparazzi shooters without the psychedelic livery.
As you can see by the images here, the next Octavia – which will be officially revealed for the first time next month before going on sale globally early next year and in Australia in the second half of 2013 – looks rather like the smaller new Rapid liftback due here by mid-2013.
That’s no bad thing, given the Rapid has a handsome, functional simplicity about its design that the outgoing Octavia lacks, although grey camouflage tape masks the larger headlights of the new Octavia in these spy images.
Given the Rapid will represent Skoda’s first fully-fledged rival for small cars like the Mazda3, Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus, the next Octavia will no longer need to straddle the small and mid-size segments.
Hence, it grows in all directions while still slotting under the flagship Superb sedan in Skoda’s line-up, in which the traditional liftback will be joined later by a redesigned Octavia wagon.
Apart from offering more stretching space, Skoda’s first direct competitor for the likes of Toyota’s Camry, the Mazda6 and Ford’s Mondeo will also move appreciably more upmarket, offering higher-quality cabin materials and more equipment.
Improved refinement, ride quality and handling dynamics are also likely, given the next version of the Czech brand’s global best-seller will be Skoda’s first model to ride on the Volkswagen Group’s new MQB modular transverse-engine platform, which underpins VW’s new Golf 7 and Audi’s latest A3.
The switch to lightweight MQB underpinnings should also see the new model shed some weight over the current generation, despite stretching to around 4800mm in length -- around 250 mm longer than current version, which is based on the previous Golf.
That should result in even better consumption and performance from a range of turbocharged four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines borrowed from the new Golf.
While top-shelf variants of the new Octavia range, which will again be topped by RS performance versions, will come with higher prices to match their big step upstream, expect entry versions to continue to offer more space for less money than key rivals, including Euro mid-sizers like VW Passat, Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
A version of the new Golf GTI’s 162kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four should power the next-generation Skoda Octavia RS performance flagship, which should also be more dynamic than the model it replaces.
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