Appealing looks, robust quality and cavernous space for a family hatch.
Value has always been a big part of Skoda’s appeal and the
latest Octavia gives you a large family car for the price of a medium hatch;
rivals like the Focus or Astra simply cannot match its rear seat legroom or the
boot capacity. But you don’t have to trade appeal for capacity; the Octavia is
also a very good looking, well-equipped and well-built contender.
The Octavia is a hatchback but the sloping rear screen and stubby tail gives it the look of a saloon, though an even bigger estate version is also available. The new-look Skoda grille and split Xenon headlamp design blend nicely into the crisply-defined styling lines of the bonnet. The overall look is contemporary but restrained, more like a premium compact exec than a hatchback, though the performance-oriented vRS models are more extrovert in style. Inside, controls are logically and clearly laid out with a premium feel to the materials used.
Seven airbags come as standard, with additional rear side airbags as an optional extra. Standard features include hill-hold assist, stability control and tyre pressure monitoring, while some models also feature an innovative front assist system – now bolstered by predictive pedestrian protection technology – that automatically applies the brakes if an obstacle is ahead. Octavia scores a maximum 5 stars in the benchmark EuroNCAP safety tests.
High-efficiency small capacity engines are increasingly the norm, so the three-cylinder 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine is well up to the task of propelling the Octavia with surprising pep: 0-62mph takes just 9.9 seconds and CO2 emissions are just 104 g/km. Alternatively, the 1.4 TSI 150 petrol offers more performance and could be worth the extra investment if you do a lot of long motorway journeys. Business users will probably be more into the 1.6 TDI 115 and 2.0 TDI 150 models for their extra mpg, though the gap between diesel and petrol is narrowing all the time. Alternatively, if you’re looking for high performance the VRS models include a petrol 2.0 TSI that reel off the 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds, while the more frugal 2.0 TDI vRS achieves it in 7.6s.
Even the base level S trim includes an impressive array of equipment including air-conditioning, alloy wheels, an 8.0in touchscreen, Smartlink featuring Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink, Bluetooth, a DAB radio and a USB socket. SE trim adds parking sensors, multifunction steering wheel, cruise control and dual-zone air conditioning plus more. SE Technology includes uprated infotainment and connectivity while for the range-topping Laurin and Klement model it would be easier to list what it hasn’t got than detail the extensive specification; highlights include an automatic parking system, upgraded stereo and 9.2in touchscreen.