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Following a long delay, the 2021 Skoda Octavia has finally been launched in India, with prices starting at Rs 25.99 lakh. It was originally slated to arrive in April. Still, given the terrifying spike in COVID-19 cases across India, Skoda decided to delay the launch of the new-generation Octavia, which is one of four models the company has lined up for the Indian market in 2021. The new Octavia is available in two trim levels – Style (Rs 25.99 lakh) and the top-spec Laurin & Klement (Rs 28.99 lakh, both prices ex-showroom).

The previous-generation Skoda Octavia was discontinued before BS6 emission norms came into force in 2020, and the Octavia nameplate has been missing from the company’s India portfolio ever since. The new generation model is based on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB architecture and is larger than its predecessor. Kerb weight is over 1.4 tonnes, with a minor difference in weight between variants on account of the top-spec model having more features.

On the inside, the new Skoda Octavia adopts a minimal-yet-high-tech approach. Among interior highlights are the two-spoke steering wheel with click-scroller wheels, a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, the ‘Virtual Cockpit’ full-digital instruments display, voice commands, dual-zone climate control, beige leather upholstery with suede inserts, keyless entry, a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and paddle shifters.

The L&K trim adds goodies such as a virtual pedal for the boot release function, hands-free parking, wireless smartphone charging, two USB-C charging ports for rear-seat passengers, adaptive LED headlights, a 12-speaker, 600-watt Canton sound system, tyre pressure monitor, side airbags for rear-seat passengers, driver fatigue monitor and a 12-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, to name a few.

The new Skoda Octavia will be available only with a petrol engine option at the time of launch. However, Skoda has previously said it will evaluate the demand for diesel in the higher segments and could potentially bring back diesel engine options for its larger offerings, including the Octavia.

The new Octavia gets the 190hp, 2.0-litre TSI turbo-petrol engine (the same as in the Superb). Just like the previous Octavia – which was also available with a smaller 1.4-liter TSI engine – the new Octavia, too, is likely to receive a 150hp, 1.5-litre TSI (which will power the Skoda Kushaq and Volkswagen Taigun) sometime down the road as a more affordable alternative. A seven-speed DSG automatic is the only transmission on offer for now. ARAI-certified fuel efficiency for the new Skoda Octavia is 15.81 kph.

While the new Octavia does have a segment rival in the form of the Hyundai Elantra, its significantly higher price positions it closer to its bigger sibling, the Skoda Superb, and in a spot where it doesn’t exactly have any direct competition from another sedan, it is quite likely; however, that prospective Octavia buyers may choose to cross-shop and look at similarly-priced premium SUVs such as the Jeep Compass, Citroen C5 Aircross or the upcoming Volkswagen Tiguan facelift.

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