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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
£26,775 to £36,495
  • Huge boot
  • Refined diesel
  • Improved infotainment
  • Pricier than previous model
  • Rivals more fun to drive
  • Jittery ride on bigger wheels
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Quick verdict

The Skoda Octavia has been updated recently but nothing much has changed when it comes to whether you should buy one; if you need a hugely practical family car that’s comfortable, good to drive and well-equipped then the Octavia is one of your best options. 

It’s available as a hatchback and an estate with traditional petrol and diesel engines and manual or automatic gearboxes, so there’s plenty of choice in the range, and even the entry-level models are brilliant so there’s really no wrong answer with the Octavia.

Key specs

Fuel type

Petrol, diesel

Body style

Five-door hatchback

Powertrain

1.5-litre 4cyl turbocharged petrol, front-wheel drive

2.0-litre 4cyl turbocharged diesel, front-wheel drive

Safety

5-star Euro NCAP (2022)

Warranty

3yrs/60,000 miles

Skoda Octavia: price, specs and rivals

The Skoda Octavia has changed quite a bit over the years in some ways, but the key areas where it excels - comfort, practicality and value for money - haven’t. The latest version arrived in 2024 with a handful of styling changes and a revised engine range, but it’s still the same high-quality family car with a huge amount of space that it always was.

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The Octavia was crowned Auto Express Car of the Year and Family Car of the Year in 2021, and the estate model took the honours in the Estate Car of the Year category in 2021 and 2022. The facelift has arrived while the car is still top of its game, so the changes - a new look and some new tech - don’t need to be major to keep the car competitive.

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The most notable tweak to the Octavia range is the new 1.5-litre petrol engine with 114bhp and 220Nm of torque. It replaces the old 1.0-litre petrol model and is more powerful and smoother while offering similar fuel economy, so it’s a welcome addition. There’s still a more powerful version of this engine with 148bhp available in the range, too.

Manual and automatic versions are available and the petrol DSG auto versions get mild hybrid tech to keep emissions down. There’s also a 2.0-litre diesel with 114bhp in manual form and 148bhp in automatic form, though the diesel auto doesn’t come with the mild hybrid set-up.

Skoda Octavia vRS models will be available with a 261bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine. We’ve loved previous versions, but we’ve not tried the facelifted car yet.

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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 308, Vauxhall Astra, Hyundai i30, and Kia Ceed.

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Although still available in five-door hatchback or estate body styles, Skoda has pared back the available trim levels for the Octavia to include only SE Technology, SE L and SportLine. This means the car is well-equipped as standard, and starts from around £27,000. Higher-spec SE L and SportLine versions tip over the £35,000 mark.

Engines, performance & drive

The Skoda’s engine range is simple but still offers something for everyone. The most basic 114bhp 1.5-litre petrol is a great engine, but there’s also a more powerful 148bhp version too. There are diesels with the same two power outputs as the petrol, great for long-distance drivers, and sporty vRS models too. All models are smooth and easy to drive, as there’s a choice of slick manual or DSG automatic gearboxes. Read more about the Skoda Octavia's engine, performance and drive…

MPG, emissions & running costs

The most economical Octavia is the diesel, which can get 66.2mpg according to official figures. Petrol models are nearly as efficient, though, and the most economical of those is the mild hybrid, which returns 57.5mpg on the WLTP test. No version of the 2024 Octavia returns less than 50mpg, which is pretty impressive. Read more about the Skoda Octavia's MPG, emissions and running costs…

Interior, design & technology

The Octavia is as roomy as ever and the high-quality interior is present no matter which trim level you go for, although lesser models are a bit more dull to look at. All get a 13-inch screen with smartphone connectivity and heated seats are a fantastic addition to the standard kit list, too. Read more about the Skoda Octavia's interior, design and technology…

Boot space, comfort & practicality

The Octavia hatch is one of the most spacious cars of its type and has a gigantic 600-litre boot. There’s also an estate model that offers more vertical space, but all versions of this Skoda are hugely practical. There’s legroom for tall adults in the back; it’s no wonder they’re so popular as taxis around Europe. Read more about the Skoda Octavia's boot space, comfort and practicality…

Reliability & safety

Skoda had been a top performer in Driver Power surveys, although more recently the brand hasn’t performed as well. However as the Octavia shares many parts with models from SEAT, Audi and Volkswagen, there’s no reason to think it will be unreliable. Read more about the Skoda Octavia’s reliability and safety…

Should you buy a Skoda Octavia?

The Skoda Octavia remains one of our favourite family cars. There are cars that have a posher badge, more powerful engines or smarter looks, but the Octavia offers incredible value for money thanks to its well-judged ride and handling and efficient, smooth engines. You really couldn’t ask for much more than what’s available here at a pretty reasonable price.

The Skoda is available with petrol or diesel power, and while the latter is seen as old-fashioned by some, it’s still the top choice for long-distance drivers who spend a lot of time on the motorway. It’ll be incredibly economical, but even the petrol versions are efficient and have enough power for daily driving. There’s loads of space inside for passengers and luggage, plus the tech is excellent even on entry-level models.

Frequently Asked Questions

It’s one of the best cars you can buy if you’re looking for something practical. There are few family cars that offer this much space, let alone combined with such an enjoyable driving experience.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.5 TSI SE Technology 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £26,775

Most Economical

  • Name
    2.0 TDI SE Technology 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £29,320

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 TDI 150 SE Technology 5dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £31,720
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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