2020 Skoda Octavia spied virtually undisguised

Skoda’s biggest-selling model will be moving to an all-new generation for 2020, and the most revealing spy images yet show the car’s design with seemingly tiny amounts of disguise.

While it initially appears that somebody in the Czech brand’s development team has made a huge error, the Octavia is actually cleverly camouflaged with fake panelling covering bits of the bodywork and painted in the same colour as the car. 

Still, we can clearly see how much the design is inspired by the Superb, with front-end view showing the 2020 Octavia ditches the controversial split headlamp design of the current car in favour of single units. These bookend a much larger grille, brought into line with the test of the range, while the clamshell bonnet is uncannily Superb-esque. 

Disguise panelling down the sides restricts our view of the lower body, but in profile the estate variant appears quite boxy and angular. A rear spoiler wraps around the sloping rear window, while the tailgate and tail-light design bears no resemblance to today’s Octavia. 

It’s not expected that the Octavia will grow in exterior dimensions, as it’ll make use of an updated version of the MQB platform used by today’s model – and the next-generation Golf. However, VW insiders tell us that the Mk8 Golf will use a greater percentage of lightweight metal, reducing kerbweight by around 50kg – that could also be the case for the Octavia. 

We’ve yet to see the Octavia’s interior in any form, but we can see from the new Scala that it will feature a new interior design with a greater variety of materials and newly developed infotainment. Like its smaller sibling, the 2020 Octavia should be one of the first VW Group models with the ability to update itself over the air, while it is also likely to offer wireless support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. 

The 2020 Octavia’s engine range will be familiar, featuring an updated iteration of the 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol at the bottom of the range, with the 1.5-litre ‘TSI Evo’ unit also available. Diesels will still feature prominently in the range in 1.6 and 2.0-litre form, while larger engine choices will also benefit from 48v mild hybrid technology to improve efficiency. 

With the VW Group’s extensive electrification programme spreading across all brands, it’s very likely a plug-in hybrid Octavia will be offered for the first time. However, the vRS performance brand is also still very much alive, so we should see more powerful options to make this the fastest Octavia yet. 

Skoda’s CEO Bernhard Maker told attendees of the firm’s annual conference that Skoda “will introduce a new generation of Octavia later this year, just in time for the model’s 60th birthday”. A Frankfurt motor show debut in September is all but confirmed, with sales expected to begin just before 2019 draws to a close.