It's safe to say the fourth generation of the modern Skoda Octavia has lived a rough life, plagued by software gremlins that prompted a significant recall early in the model's life cycle. Then the coronavirus pandemic and microchip shortages hit like a one-two punch. Consequently, sales collapsed, without ever getting back to normal levels.
The ongoing parts shortage is mainly caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine where many of the VW Group's suppliers are located. A quick look on dedicated forums shows future owners complaining about waiting times of more than a year. Meanwhile, the Mladá Boleslav marque has commenced road tests of what appears to be the facelifted version, even though we can't quite see what has changed.
2023 Skoda Octavia facelift first spy photos
Our spies have sent us more than 20 images they shot in Austria where the liftback and estate were caught tackling the twisty mountain roads. The two cars had Czech plates and camouflaged front and rear ends, although the test vehicles seemed to be borderline identical to what you'll find at a Skoda dealer near you.
The cars are riding low to the ground and seem to be hauling dynamometers. A closer look at the liftback shows the Octavia with RS-like brake callipers but the 18-inch Perseus wheels come from a different trim level. As for the estate, it has much smaller alloys, and for whatever reason, the bonnet's colour is mismatched.
It is a known fact the VW Group has developed one final iteration of its combustion engines before pulling the plug on the good ol’ ICE to focus solely on electric powertrains. It's unclear whether these will be available with the facelifted Octavia or the Mk5 arriving later this decade. With Euro 7 regulations looming, Skoda has no other way but to tweak its petrol and diesel powertrains available for the company's best-selling car.
With a huge backlog of orders it needs to clear out, Skoda is unlikely to unveil the facelifted Octavia anytime soon. Of course, there's also the possibility some customers will be asked to get the updated version instead. The Mk4 went on sale in late 2019 and we're not expecting the facelift to arrive until later in 2023, after the Volkswagen Golf gets its mid-cycle nip and tuck.