- Super practical
- Comfortable ride
- Lots of clever technology
- Looks could be more inspiring
- Strong competitors
- Not the most exciting to drive
What's the Škoda Octavia like?
The third generation Škoda Octavia’s superb interior space and massive boot already had it up in the large family class – something which none of its contemporaries could claim.
And then in 2017, a facelift revitalized what was already a cracking car, with sharper styling and an improved interior with even more space.
If you have a family and need a car for all reasons, this no nonsense 5-door hatch is an ideal choice.
Reliability is excellent, build quality brilliant, standard equipment very good, and yet prices often undercut those of competitors by some margin.
Of course, the Octavia has the same chassis as the Volkswagen Golf, the Audi A3, and the SEAT Leon, so it has an exceptional starting point, but despite the same wheelbase as the Golf, it’s vastly bigger inside.
Excellent suspension in all the other models takes almost every road surface in its stride, helped by very comfortable seats.
Grip is superb even on wet roads and the roadholding is sublime, helped by the tactile and informative Volkswagen group steering that is still up there with the very best.
Digital instruments, together with a centrally mounted infotainment touchscreen and most regularly used controls on the steering wheel, make this a very easy car to live with.
And connectivity, already good before the changes in 2017, became superb.
There's a wide range of engines and a number of gearbox choices, so there's one out there to suit most, and as well as the hatch, there's a spacious estate for those who need even more load space.
There are basically seven models to choose from, with others based on those, and at the top of the range is the scorching vRS, which comes with either petrol or diesel power.
The vast majority sold here have been diesels, which come in 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre TDI guise. The 1.6-litre has either 110bhp or 115bhp and gets to 60mph from rest in about 10.0 seconds, while rated at 74 or 68mpg.
The 2.0-litre boasts 150bhp in all models apart from the vRS, which gets 184bhp. The 150bhp reaches 60mph in 8.2 seconds and can do 67mpg, while the vRS covers the sprint in 7.5 seconds and can do 57mpg.
Petrol power ranges from 1.0 litres to 2.0 litres, and they're all turbocharged. The 1.2-litre and later 1.0-litre TSI models have 110bhp or 115bhp, and cover the sprint in about 9.8 seconds at 57mpg or 62mpg respectively.
Then come 1.4-litre and 1.5-litre TSI’s, both of which have 150bhp. The 1.4-litre is quicker at 7.8 seconds to 60mph while the 1.5-litre that eventually replaced it takes 8.4 seconds, and they can do a very best of 55mpg or 58mpg.
Finally, come two versions of the 2.0-litre TSI in the vRS, with 230bhp and later 245bhp, and these get to 60mph in 6.5 and 6.4 seconds. Economy is lower – as you would expect, at around 43mpg for both, but they're superb to drive, and despite stiffer, lowered suspension, still ride well most of the time.
Almost all models have been available with 6 or 7-speed versions of the VW Group DSG automatic gearbox, but make sure it’s been serviced properly because they're expensive to fix.
Mid-range SE L trim has a wide range of kit, from sat nav and DAB radio to stability control, autonomous emergency braking, and part leather upholstery.
It also has auto start stop, keyless entry, leather covered steering wheel, parking sensors, cruise control, a driver fatigue sensor, climate control and even kerb lights in the door mirrors.
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The Škoda Octavia is an executive car that offers unrivalled levels of practicality and a comfortable driving experience, making it ideal for families and business people alike.
Equipment is good across the range, and most variants return impressive fuel economy figures too, making the Octavia a top choice on the used market.