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All-new Skoda Octavia to debut at Geneva

When you're on to a good thing, stick to it. The original Golf-based Octavia is the car that took the Skoda brand out of the bargain basement and made it the smart choice for thinking buyers who want quality, functionality and value for money.

The all-new Octavia, snapped here on a brochure shoot in South Africa, isn't about to mess with success. Like its predecessor the new car, which is expected to make its public debut in March at the Geneva Show, is Golf-based, in this case built on the new PQ35 platform that will underpin a range of Volkswagen Group C-segment vehicles.

That means the new Octavia will also share the new Golf's improved drivetrains, including the 140bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel four and the FSI direct injection petrol engines. Standard transmission will be a six-speed manual, but a six-speed automatic is under development for the FSI engines and VW Group's acclaimed DSG twin-clutch transmission may be made available for the most powerful diesels. Standard cars will be front wheel-drive, but four wheel-drive versions will be available.

The front suspension features redesigned wishbones and mounting points and a lightweight aluminium sub-frame, while at the rear is VW's sophisticated four-link independent suspension.

Visually, the new Octavia's design is essentially a rework of the current car's. The basic proportion is the same, with long overhangs front and rear making the Octavia almost a half-size bigger than most of its C-segment rivals. The grille is larger and more prominent, similar in style to the glittery chrome edifice that fronts the Passat-based Skoda Superb.

As with the current car, just two bodystyles will be offered – the five-door hatch shown here and a roomy estate version.

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