The 4th generation of the model has just been unveiled, 60 years after the first version, although admittedly there was a gap of about three decades along the way.
Over these years, almost seven million have taken to the road and many are still clocking up the miles, reinforcing its reputation as one of the most reliable and best-value cars on the market.
The latest model is hugely important for Skoda who are now such a major operation that they account for no less than 10% of the GDP of the Czech Republic. That’s why they gave the car a world-class glittering unveiling at the Czech National Gallery in the centre of Prague before the world’s motoring media and broadcast worldwide online.
It was justified. The Octavia is the icon of the Skoda range which has been transformed in recent years since the brand became part of the massive Volkswagen Group, alongside Audi and Seat.
Its popularity is put down mainly to its value for money and while its prices have increased over the years, its level of equipment and reliability record have proved a big draw for an enormous band of loyal customers.
The latest model which will not appear in UK showrooms until well into 2020, retains the distinctive familiar profile in both the saloon and estate versions but has taken on a more sophisticated look with a bolder front end and grille – not unlike that of the BMW family – and in the saloon, the rear has similarities to the current Volvo range.
Both the saloon and estate are longer than the outgoing model with more space for passengers and luggage in the boot.
There are big changes inside too with an elegant, flowing dashboard behind a new two-spoke steering wheel and a short, stubby gearchange for the shift-by-wire technology – appearing for the first time in a Skoda – which operates the automatic DSG transmission. Touchscreens range from 8.25 to 10 inches and feature gesture control for the first time, alongside Skoda’s “Laura” voice-controlled assistant. There is also the option of a head-up display, eSIM connectivity, “predictive” cruise control and more driver assistance and safety technology.
For the first time, the line-up includes a plug-in hybrid, the OCTAVIA iV, which uses a 1.4-litre petrol engine and a 75kW electric motor to provide 199bhp and an all-electric range of 34 miles. The 1.0 and 1.5 petrol engines now also come with the option of innovative mild hybrid technology while a powerful 2.0-litre petrol and 2.0 diesel in 115bhp, 148 and 197bhp tunes complete the line-up.
Prices will be announced in the New Year but Skoda say it will still represent the core element of value for money.