For many years, the Oc-tavia has been the yardstick of European qual-ity by which other cars were measured. It was classy, good-looking, well-built, and no matter what engine you chose, it was fun to drive. There was the punchy yet frugal diesel, an all-rounder of a standard petrol version, and a hotter RS version for enthusiasts. In short, there was an Octavia for everyone. The latest fourth-generation model has big shoes to fill and it’s not going to be easy this time. For one, it is now very expensive. The model we tested costs Rs.37 lakhs on road. Then there is the lack of a diesel engine option this time around. And to make matters worse, there is a crossover pandemic going on.
The previous car designed by Jozef Kaban of Bugatti Veyron fame was one of the best-looking Octavias to date. The new one has a slightly smaller wheelbase, lot more overhangs, a jacked-up body, and thinner tyres which messes up with how you perceive the Octavia styling. It plays with the classic proportions too much. To understand the difference, look up ‘Octavia Pro’ sold in China which has better proportions thanks to the longer wheelbase. The front grille is set a level lower, the bonnet swoops down a lot and the headlamps are slimmer – all of which makes it appear pinched up towards the front. There is a lot of visual mass around the C pillar area. The rear-end design of the previous generation Octavias was a simpler affair, but this one sees some stylish tail lamps and split Skoda lettering. Our biggest gripe are those 17-inch wheels which look like a cheap aftermarket addition and the thinner tyres used.
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