Skoda Octavia (2013 - 2020) review - Interior, design and technology
Restrained and sensible styling wraps up a full house of technology options
The Octavia isn’t going to win any beauty contests, but the Skoda’s upright lines and straight edges are handsome and well defined. The nose features a rectangular main grille and headlights, while the second grille under the bumper stretches the full width of the front end. This makes the Octavia look wide and low.
From the side, the Skoda looks long, while the rear windscreen’s shallow angle and the lengthy rear overhang are saloon-like. As standard, the Octavia doesn’t look particularly racy, and inside, the Skoda is restrained and sensible, with a conventional dashboard and centre console layout. The dash features a lot of dark grey plastic, and some of it has a hard finish, but the silver trim around the gearlever and the gloss black trim on the centre console and steering wheel give the cabin a lift.
This means it doesn’t feel like a dreary place in which to spend time. The dials and trip computer are simple to read, while the touchscreen sat-nav is a breeze to use, with a logical layout and straightforward controls allowing you to input destinations with ease. The optional 9.2-inch ‘Columbus’ touchscreen display is better still, but does away with too many buttons. We'd prefer to keep as much functionality as possible accessible via a button rather than a touchscreen.
Elsewhere, there’s dark grey cloth upholstery and more dark grey plastic throughout. However, this is countered by a light grey roof lining, which helps the Octavia’s cabin feel more spacious. Overall, the Skoda is functional rather than flashy, but it’s arguably all the better for it, while build quality is excellent.
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Skoda offers the Octavia in a range of trim levels, which are available in either a hatch or estate body style. Mainstream models are the entry level S, mid-range SE and SE Drive, while SE L, SportLine and the hot Skoda Octavia vRS offer more kit and performance.
Skoda's reputation for good value is well deserved and standard equipment on the Octavia is excellent, with alloy wheels, DAB radio, a touchscreen system and Bluetooth connectivity all coming as standard on the entry-level S model.
The racy Skoda Octavia vRS adopts a sporty appearance, with a boot spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels, a red strip across the rear bumper and a more aggressive bodykit. It’s also available in a bright range of colours. The interior of the Skoda Octavia vRS is also given some much needed flair thanks to sports seats, which are available in black and white alcantara, aluminium dash-inlays, aluminium pedals and a sports steering wheel.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The infotainment systems on the Octavia are bang up to date, with full connectivity, touch screens with motion sensors that call up menus, and the option of advanced navigation systems offering intuitive controls and clear mapping. However, for an extra £450, customers may want to upgrade the standard instrument dials to Skoda's Virtual Cockpit, which includes a 10.25-inch digital display.
You can connect your smartphone using MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto interfaces, while SmartGate tech allows you to send vehicle driving and performance data to a connected device.
There’s a decent 8-speaker sound system as standard, but you can also upgrade to a Canton system for around £500, which adds a central dash speaker and a boot-mounted sub-woofer.
In this review
- 1VerdictThe Skoda Octavia is a subtle alternative to the Volkswagen Golf that offers more space and better value
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe engine range is impressively efficient, and the Octavia is more fun than it looks
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsImpressive economy is one of the Octavia diesel's strengths
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingRestrained and sensible styling wraps up a full house of technology options
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceIt's pretty simple. If you need more space than the Octavia offers, buy a van...
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe Skoda Octavia has an enviable reputation for reliability, and a five-star Euro NCAP rating