In-depth reviews

Skoda Octavia review

The latest Skoda Octavia cranks up the quality, but it’s just as practical and family-friendly as ever.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Price
£18,870 to £36,055
  • Huge boot
  • Refined diesel
  • Improved infotainment
  • Pricier than previous model
  • Rivals more fun to drive
  • Jittery ride on bigger wheels

It would be unfair to say Skoda has played it safe with the new Octavia. Improvements to the exterior styling, on-board tech and the quality of materials in the cabin help create a sharper look, and provide a real statement of intent from the Czech manufacturer.

The Octavia has been refined in all the right areas without compromising on space, practicality and its great all-round usability. It may cost a little more to buy, but Skoda has remained focused in delivering an accomplished, versatile hatchback that is fit to take on the best in class.

About the Skoda Octavia

Skoda knows its Octavia customers all too well. If you’re after great value, low running costs, combined with heaps of practicality and a comfortable ride, then the Czech manufacturer has all the bases covered.

The badge snobbery of old is justifiably waning and the Octavia can certainly hold its head high in the family hatchback class. Every generation has maintained a clear focus and sense of purpose, creating a loyal customer base and genuine appreciation of its obvious qualities. 

And, it’s not just us saying it - in our recent Driver Power satisfaction survey the third-generation car still finished in the top half of the ‘best cars to own’ category, while Skoda itself placed fifth out of 30 manufacturers.

That’s not all, because the Skoda Octavia was crowned Auto Express Car of the Year for 2020, while the Skoda Octavia Estate took the honours in the Estate Car of the Year category.

With the latest Octavia, there’s all of the usual functionality, but this time there’s a smart new look and up-to-date infotainment systems, while the cabin quality feels more upmarket than before. It’s a little larger, too, increasing in length by 19mm and being 15mm wider when compared to the previous model. 

The Skoda Octavia shares mechanical underpinnings, engines and elements of on-board tech with the Volkswagen Golf, while there’s also the SEAT Leon rival within the Volkswagen Group family. Other competition includes cars such as the Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and ‘World Car Design of the Year’ winner, the Mazda 3

The family hatch opposition doesn’t stop there, and customers could also consider the Peugeot 308, Renault Megane, Vauxhall Astra, Hyundai i30 and Kia Ceed.

Available in five-door hatchback or estate body styles, the Octavia is offered with five trim levels: SE First Edition, SE Technology, SE L, SE L First Edition and vRS. An entry-level S variant is expected to be added to the lineup.

Skoda offers three petrol engines for the Octavia: a 1.0-litre TSI unit with 109bhp, a 1.5 TSI producing a more potent 148bhp and a 2.0 TSI producing 242bhp. Diesel power comes from a 2.0-litre TDI unit, delivering either 114bhp, 148bhp or 197bhp. A six-speed manual is standard, although there is the option of a DSG auto transmission with the higher-powered oil-burner.

The Octavia is the first Skoda to feature mild-hybrid technology. The 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre TSI engines can be electrified by a 48-volt belt-driven starter motor and a 48-volt lithium-ion battery to improve efficiency.

A new plug-in hybrid variant pairs a 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor to produce a combined output of 201bhp and 350Nm of torque. A more powerful version is fitted to the vRS version. Skoda claims that the iV variant is capable of 34 miles on battery power alone.

The Octavia is priced from just over £21,000, which puts it between the Golf which starts from around £23,500, and the SEAT Leon at a shade under £20,000.

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 TSI SE Technology 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £18,870

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.4 TSI iV SE Technology DSG 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £30,560

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 TSI 245 vRS 5dr DSG [Black Pack]
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £27,890

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