Family Car of the Year 2021: Skoda Octavia
The Skoda Octavia is the 2021 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Volkswagen ID.3 and Toyota Corolla commended
The Skoda Octavia has been a top choice in the family car class for a long time, and the newest model – which was our overall Car of the Year last year – is as good as ever. It offers a great level of tech, both in terms of in-car gadgets and life-saving safety equipment. New technology also helps its engines to be more efficient and quieter than ever, too.
The Octavia uses the MQB platform shared by many other VW Group models, but it beats them because it delivers more for less, especially when it comes to practicality. It boasts a huge 600-litre boot and its rear legroom is unrivalled in this class, so the Skoda lives up to its brand reputation. Yet it’s also good to drive, with smooth suspension that does a great job of ironing out bumps in the road.
It’s not just a comfy cruiser, though, because the precise controls mean it’s relatively satisfying to drive, and the engines are punchy and fairly fun to use, while also being economical. The 1.5-litre TSI petrol offers a mix of value, economy and performance, but you should also consider the new plug-in hybrid iV model, especially if you’re a company car driver. There’s a 1.0-litre e-tec mild-hybrid variant, too, and a smooth 2.0-litre diesel if you do lots of miles.
Interior quality is a strong point, with Skoda stepping up material quality here to give the Octavia more of a premium feel than ever. It also has a clean look that’s easy to live with. Finance deals mean that the Octavia is incredibly affordable, too, so it grabs another win as our favourite family car of 2021.
Skoda Octavia 1.5 TSI 150 SE L (£25,375)
A £2,000 deposit contribution from Skoda makes our favourite family car an even bigger bargain. Stump up 10 per cent of the car’s retail price as a deposit, and the punchy 1.5-litre turbo petrol SE L model will cost £356 a month on a 36-month PCP agreement.
If you want your next family car to be electric, the ID.3 is one of your best options. It’s smooth and easy to drive, with a useful range of up to 336 miles depending on the version. It looks smart, but doesn’t shout about its green credentials, while the strong packaging means plenty of space.
For buyers interested in electrification but not ready for a full EV, the Corolla is our pick. This hybrid delivers north of 60mpg, switching between an efficient petrol engine and an electric motor. It’s surprisingly fun to drive, comfortable, reliable and spacious. Its attractive warranty is a big draw too.
New Car Awards 2021: the winners
Special edition of Auto Express
For the full experience, make sure you pick up a copy of our special New Car Awards collectors' edition of the Auto Express magazine, which is available in shops now.
You can buy individual issues of Auto Express or subscribe for even bigger discounts on the magazine cover price. You can currently Subscribe and get 6 issues for just £1 or download our digital edition direct to your desktop, phone or tablet.