If you’re in the market for a family hatchback, the Skoda Octavia should definitely be on your shortlist.
Actually, it should be near or at the top of your shortlist, as it’s a hugely practical, comfortable, refined and capable car that offers strong value for money. There’s also an estate version that has one of the biggest boots going, and which arguably makes more sense than the hatchback.
The Octavia is generally considered to be a mid-sized family hatchback or estate, meaning it competes with models like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. It’s a little larger than its key rivals, though, and this sense of practicality blended with value for money is part of the appeal.
If you’re considering an Octavia you should also have a think about whether one of its rivals might make a better choice for you, though. Perhaps you’d like something with a little more styling panache, hanker after the reassurance of a manufacturer warranty that’s longer than Skoda’s three-year plan, or don’t need something quite as large as the Octavia.
Whatever your buying motivations, we’ve got some great suggestions for you.
Best alternatives to the Skoda Octavia to consider
- Honda Civic
- Ford Focus
- Volkswagen Golf
- Hyundai i30
- Audi A3
- SEAT Leon
- Toyota Corolla
- Mazda 3
- Peugeot 308
- Vauxhall Astra
1. Honda Civic
Best for: doing everything well
Honda has been building the Civic for more than half a century, and this 11th generation car is arguably the best version it’s ever made.
With looks that are less controversial than previous Civics, the current car offers a high-quality interior with (we’re pleased to say) physical controls for the heating and air conditioning, while comfort levels are exceptional, the handling is great, and the innovative hybrid drivetrain returns great fuel economy.
2. Ford Focus
Best for: neat handling and styling
The Ford Focus enjoys immense popularity with good reason. First and foremost it’s a practical family car that, like the Octavia, can be had in estate of hatchback guises.
Beyond that, though, the Focus has always had a reputation for being a better handling car than it arguably needs to be, and this is borne out from behind the wheel, as it’s is genuinely fun to drive on a windy B road, while also being an excellent motorway cruiser.
3. Volkswagen Golf
Best for: being a class act
The Volkswagen Golf is almost a car so well known that it needs no introduction. Offering big-car levels of refinement together with an image that manages to be classy without any sense of showing off, it’s easy to understand why the Golf has such enduring appeal.
Do take a moment on any test drive to make sure you’re happy with the controls: the touch-sensitive sliders for the volume and temperature won’t be to all tastes – but beyond that, there’s lots to like, with petrol, diesel and hybrid options catering for all requirements.
4. Hyundai i30
Best for: long warranty, good all-rounder
The Hyundai i30 is sometimes overlooked in the crowded field of the family hatchback, but this is a shame, as it’s a consummate all-rounder.
The interior is comfortable, the infotainment system is a model of clarity, build quality is strong and Hyundai’s excellent five-year warranty is a big draw.
5. Audi A3
Best for: offering a premium feel
The VW Golf arguably represents a similar proposition to the Audi A3, but if the Golf isn’t quite classy enough for you, it’s well worth checking out the A3.
Sure, you’ll likely pay a little more for the Audi (all the more reason to check out our deals), but what you get in return is a striking-looking car with a fab interior built from high-quality materials, together with excellent technology and a refined driving experience.
6. SEAT Leon
Best for: great looks, lots of tech
The SEAT Leon is mechanically the same car as both the Audi and the Volkswagen listed above, but they’re also the same as the Skoda Octavia underneath, so it makes sense to highlight the SEAT while we’re here.
Why should you consider the Leon? Well, it offers essentially the same qualities as the Audi and the VW, but does so with a greater sense of style and a little more exclusivity, while also representing decent value for money.
7. Toyota Corolla
Best for: low running costs, dependability
Toyota knows a thing or two about building reliable cars, and has put its money where its mouth is with a class-leading warranty that can be extended for free until a car reaches 10 years old or 100,000 miles, as long as you get it serviced with a main dealer.
But the Corolla offers much more than a long warranty, mind: it’s much more fun to drive than you might think a sensible hybrid such as this would be, while the high-quality interior feels like it will last for years.
8. Mazda 3
Best for: fantastic handling, stunning styling
True, we’ve talked a fair bit about styling in this rundown of the best Skoda Octavia alternatives, and while we’ll stop doing this soon (probably), it’s hard to pass over the Mazda 3 without highlighting just how good it looks.
But the 3’s beauty is more than skin deep, though, as it’s a really lovely car inside (Mazda’s insistence on physical dials and buttons is good to see, too), while the handling is excellent and if you go for a manual version, the 3’s gearbox is one of the best in the business.
9. Peugeot 308
Best for: its classy interior and gorgeous exterior
Peaugeot has experienced something of a reinvention over the past few years, and the 308 is a case in point of this. While previous versions of Peugeot’s family hatch have arguably been a little lacklustre, this latest model is easy to recommend.
With swish looks inside and out and a plush, modern cabin, the 308 is a lovely place in which to while away the motorway hours, while the petrol engines are perky and efficient, and the plug-in hybrid offers an electric-only range of up to 37 miles.
10. Vauxhall Astra
Best for: comfort and refinement
Vauxhall has also come on leaps and bounds in recent years – partly as it is owned by the same company as Peugeot, so benefits from much of the same development.
The result is cars like the latest Astra, which is arguably the best-looking model ever to wear the Vauxhall badge. Offering a similarly classy interior to the Peugeot, the Astra is also impressively refined, and has a large and practical boot.
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