Available as a saloon or estate, the Skoda Octavia is a supremely well-made car that offers enough room inside to make it a sensible family runabout. The fantastic diesel engines mean it’s equally admirable as an economical motorway cruiser. With prices from around £16,000, it’s also cheaper than many rivals.
While this is all well and good, this is a crowded segment of the market so alternatives are aplenty – here’s a run down of 10 that are worth consideration. Don’t forget, whichever car you choose, our car configurator will get you savings on it, straight from the UK’s best dealers.
There’s been a huge improvement in build-quality and materials used in the latest Ford Mondeo, putting it right up there with the Volkswagen Passat in terms of refinement. All models are well-specced – you’ll find climate control and a touchscreen infotainment system on even basic trims.
Ford has delivered the goods under the bonnet too – the best choices are the 1.5-litre petrol and diesels that both combine good performance with frugality. It has a usefully large boot with 541 litres of capacity, but it can’t quite trump the Octavia which has 50 litres more space than the Mondeo. It looks sharp and drives great, but at £3,000 more than the equivalent Octavia, you’ll pay for it.
If you think this is the car for you, let our Ford Mondeo configurator find you the best deals from the top dealers nationwide.
If you’re after something that’s a little different, the Mazda 6 will deliver – it isn’t particularly popular, but it’s hard to work out why. From the outside it’s as stylish as they come, while on the inside there’s a generous amount of kit. It’s enjoyable to drive too, much like all the latest Mazdas.
There are two petrol and two diesel engines to choose from, and whichever you go for you’ll find it’ll be economical and provide more than adequate power. When you pair the 2.2-litre diesel to the brilliantly set up suspension however, you’ll get a 0-60mph run of under eight seconds and a car that’ll handle twisty B-roads just as well as motorways. If you need a large car but still want a fun drive, this is the choice for you.
Our Mazda 6 configurator will find you savings from the best Mazda dealers in the country.
Audi A3 Saloon
For the price of a mid-range Octavia, you could choose the upmarket Audi A3 Saloon instead. While it’ll cost more, you’ll get that all-important German badge, a good specification and one of the classiest interiors around. While the 425 litres of boot space is well behind the Octavia (the A3 is a smaller car in general than the Skoda), once you step inside, the dashing cabin will surely make up for it.
The refinement of the engines only adds to the comfort – they’re all as quiet as you’d expect. All will provide impressive performance figures with even the most frugal 1.6-litre diesel option providing a 0-60mph time of around 10 seconds. That isn’t super quick, but by no means is it slow. With even the entry-level cars coming with an infotainment system and voice-control tech, you won’t be short of things to play with either.
For the best savings, our Audi A3 saloon configurator will find you the best deals straight from Audi’s nationwide dealer network.
The SEAT Toledo is the Spanish company’s answer to the Octavia’s smaller brother, the Rapid. They may look similar in size and appearance and that’s because they’re closely related – just like Skoda, the SEAT is a Volkswagen group car. This’ll mean you get the same mixture of build-quality and value for money. While it can’t quite match the Octavia, the Toledo’s boot space is more than admirable at 500 litres.
The Toledo comes with a range of engines that won’t set your hair on fire but will keep you away from fuel stations for as long as possible. A perfect all-rounder comes in the form of the 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol. It’s the nicest to drive with 120hp on offer. You’ll find a six-speed gearbox on all petrol models, ensuring relaxed driving and the best possible economy on the motorway.
If you see yourself in the SEAT, our SEAT Toledo configurator will help you shave money off the purchase price – carwow customers have saved on average £2,205 when they have bought Toledos.
The cheapest Skoda Superb is around £2,000 more than the cheapest Octavia and although they’re similar cars, the Superb brings an executive touch to proceedings along with even more space. You’ll find there’s 625 litres of space in the boot, while rear passengers will be treated to more legroom than in its smaller sibling – important considerations if this will be a family wagon.
Other touches the basic Octavia misses out on is a touchscreen infotainment system, active cruise control and a variety of safety systems. The best-selling engine is the 2.0-litre diesel that’ll treat you to over 60mpg, while having a top speed of 135mph. It’s no wonder the Superb has become the default choice for company car drivers – although it’s even bigger than the already large Octavia, so check it’ll fit into your parking space.
For the greatest savings, use our Skoda Superb configurator to see how much carwow could help you save.
The handsome Citroen C5 has been with us a while, but it’s still a great choice if you’re after a saloon. Like most Citroens, the C5’s party piece is the ride comfort – the superbly supportive seats make it comfortable for long journeys and if you opt for the hydractive suspension system it’ll truly be one of the comfiest cars available.
You can only buy a C5 with a diesel engine, but the choice is reasonable. There’s a powerful 3.0-litre V6, but the 1.6-litre HDi will be more than enough for most people. The turbocharger provides power for motorway driving, while its size means a claimed 70mpg is possible. Although it’s an improvement on Citroens of old, the interior can’t quite match some rivals, and it’s not what you’d call competitively priced.
For the best deal, have a go with our Citroen C5 configurator to find the best offers from the best UK dealers.
The Vauxhall Insignia is a good-looking alternative to the Ford Mondeo or, in fact, any other saloon. While its stylish looks may suggest otherwise, prices kick off at around £17,000 – that puts it up with the Octavia in the value-for-money stakes. Once you step inside, things take a turn for the worse – interior materials aren’t a match for those found in the Skoda.
With 507 litres of boot space it lags behind the competition here too. Although there are several petrol engines to choose from, the best bet is one of the diesels – they all manage 65mpg and are part of Vauxhall’s new Whisper engine range. This means they’re as quiet, if not quieter than their petrol equivalents. You’ll notice this in the cabin, with refinement on motorways being exceptional.
To find the perfect deal, spec a car up with our Vauxhall Insignia configurator to see how much you could save – straight from the country’s leading Vauxhall dealers.
It may seem odd to see another Skoda here, but while the bigger Superb offers an executive flair, the Skoda Rapid will give you a smaller, more compact feel. Despite the £3,000 price-drop compared to the Octavia, the Rapid’s boot is almost as big as the Octavia’s at 550 litres of capacity – that makes it a true class leader.
Where the cheapness comes through is behind the wheel – while there’s a healthy range of engines, the overall drive doesn’t deliver. You’ll keep the performance and economy of the Octavia, but it won’t set your heart alight in doing-so. Other disappointments include the interior quality, with many plastics feeling cheaper than in its bigger brother. While the Octavia uses the latest materials, the Rapid makes do with odds-and-ends from older models.
For the best price, configure your perfect Rapid with our Skoda Rapid configurator – it will make sure you get the best deal.
The Volkswagen Jetta is a close relative to the Golf, but thanks to its capacious boot and roomy cabin, it feels more like a downsized Passat than anything else. Being based on the Golf’s previous incarnation, it does feel a little dated sat next to the likes of the Octavia but, what it lacks in style, it makes up for in quality.
While all engines perform well, pick-of-the-bunch is the 1.6-litre diesel engine – there’s enough power for it to sit happily on the motorway all day but, if driven carefully, you’ll manage more than 65mpg. While the Skoda and SEAT brands are seen as budget alternatives to their Volkswagen counterparts, the Jetta is also good value – one can be yours for not much more than £18,000.
To save even more off the list price, use our Volkswagen Jetta configurator to get savings from the UK’s top Volkswagen dealers.
With the improved build-quality many manufacturers have achieved in recent years, it’s easy to forget that the Toyota Avensis provided a well-made, built-to-last feel years ago. The current model is no exception and feels like a quality product throughout.
The ride comfort is up there with the best in class, while cabin and boot space comes in abundance with 509 litres of luggage capacity. There’s one petrol and two diesel engines offered, but the best compromise is the 2.0-litre diesel. There’s tonnes of torque which makes for great overtaking ability – ideal for those motorway miles. It’ll also return well over 60mpg, in-line with most other cars on this list.
If you like its solid, reliable appeal, our Toyota Avensis configurator will get you the best deals, straight from the best Toyota dealers.
Save money on your next car
If you like the look of any of he above cars, our car configurator is sure to get you the best deals. If you want more information on a particular car, our aggregated reviews have everything you’ll need to know. Alternatively, if none of these cars are for you, our car chooser will help you find ones that are.