You’ve probably heard of the saying "everything is bigger in Texas," and it can be adapted to cars available in China. Many automakers, be them luxury or mainstream brands, stretch their vehicles to better cater to the People's Republic where rear legroom is of utmost importance. That applies to the Skoda and its Octavia, which even though is the most spacious compact car in its class, the liftback is still getting the LWB treatment.
Meet the Octavia Pro, which is 64 millimetres (2.51 inches) longer (now at 4,753 mm or 187.1 in) than the global version and has most of the stretch between the axles as the wheelbase has been extended by 44 mm (1.7 in) to 2,730 mm (107.4 in). What that means is customers can now enjoy nearly Superb levels of legroom in a car from an inferior segment and at a more affordable price tag.
Aside from the longer rear doors, the design remains faithful to the international variant. However, Skoda has designed new front and rear bumpers that take after the Octavia RS to lend the Pro variant a sportier appearance. It also gets a couple of vibrant colours combined with black side mirror caps and wheels as large as 18 inches.
The interior has been carried over from the latest-generation Octavia we're all familiar with, and that includes a 12-inch touchscreen and an optional 10.25-inch digital driver's display. Skoda will sell the Pro version in China with a head-up display offered at an additional cost along with the latest driver safety and assistance systems already available in the global model.
Underneath the bonnet, a turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine with 148 bhp (110 kilowatts) will drive the front wheels through a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. The DSG uses the VW Group's shift-by-wire tech, meaning the gear selector is small and looks more modern than the old-school chunky setup.
Interestingly, the Octavia Pro has a multi-link suspension whereas its international cousin has the more sophisticated setup only on the high-end versions such as the RS and Scout models. The lesser ones sold in Europe rely on a more basic torsion beam setup at the back, but it looks like Skoda isn't cutting any costs in China.
The Octavia Pro's launch does not signal the demise of the third-generation model as Skoda will continue to sell it in the world's most populous country. A similar strategy will be applied in Europe where the Czech brand is going to sell the new Fabia hatchback together with the old wagon until late 2022 when the all-new Fabia Combi will hit the market.