Skoda Octavia review
The latest Skoda Octavia cranks up the quality, but it’s just as practical and family-friendly as ever.
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.
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.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe latest Skoda Octavia cranks up the quality, but it’s just as practical and family-friendly as ever.
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe Octavia’s comprehensive engine line-up will include petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid versions.
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsThe Octavia range includes petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines, offering great efficiency and low running costs
- 4Interior, design and technologyWith a sharp exterior design and improved on-board tech, the Octavia looks and feels a lot more upmarket.
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Octavia provides excellent family transport, with a comfortable ride, huge boot space and clever practical touches.
- 6Reliability and safetySkoda has delivered improved levels of standard safety kit for the Octavia, while it should retain its excellent reliability record.