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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
£26,745 to £36,465
  • Huge boot
  • Refined diesel
  • Improved infotainment
  • Pricier than previous model
  • Rivals more fun to drive
  • Jittery ride on bigger wheels
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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

If you’re after for great value, low running costs, combined with heaps of practicality and a comfortable ride, then the Skoda Octavia has all those bases covered. It might not be the sexiest car to ever grace our shores, but every generation of Skoda's family hatchback has maintained a clear focus and sense of purpose, creating plenty of loyal customers with a genuine appreciation of its obvious qualities. 

And, it’s not just us saying it – owner feedback from our Driver Power satisfaction surveys regularly places Skoda high up the rankings; the Octavia was crowned Auto Express Car of the Year for 2021, while the estate model took the honours in the Estate Car of the Year category in 2021 and 2022.

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With the fourth-generation 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 its mechanical underpinnings, engines and elements of on-board tech with the latest 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 Mazda 3, but the family hatch opposition doesn’t stop there, as customers in this class are also likely to be considering the Peugeot 308Vauxhall Astra, Hyundai i30 and Kia Ceed.

Although still available in five-door hatchback or estate body styles, Skoda has pared back the available trim levels for the Octavia to include SE, SE Technology, SE L and vRS

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 in the sportier vRS model. Diesel power comes from a 2.0-litre TDI unit, delivering either 148bhp or 197bhp in the Octavia vRS. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, although there is the option of a DSG automatic transmission and four-wheel drive, but only for the diesel-powered vRS variant.

The Octavia is the first Skoda to feature mild-hybrid technology, with the 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre TSI engines featuring a belt-driven starter-generator as part of the car’s 48-volt electrical system.

Meanwhile the plug-in hybrid Octavia iV pairs a 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor to produce a combined output of 201bhp and 350Nm of torque, plus fuel economy of up to 282mpg. However Skoda has temporarily removed this model from the price list due to supply issues. 

The Octavia starts from around £24,500, which puts it between the Golf which is priced at more than £26,500, and the SEAT Leon at just over £23,000.

For an alternative review of the Skoda Octavia, visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk...

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.5 TSI SE Technology 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £26,745

Most Economical

  • Name
    2.0 TDI SE Technology 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £29,290

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 TDI 150 SE Technology 5dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £31,690
News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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