The Skoda Octavia is a roomy, well-built family car that packs plenty of equipment at an affordable price. Alternatives are more comfortable and more stylish, though
The Skoda Octavia is a very well-rounded family car that’s affordable to buy, well equipped and cheap to run. It doesn’t quite have the badge kudos of more expensive German alternatives, but it has the competition licked when it comes to space.
It’s also available in a wide range of guises, from the off-road focussed four-wheel-drive Scout model, to a high-performance vRS version with up to 245hp. You can also have your Skoda Octavia as an even more practical estate if you regularly carry very bulky loads.
The latest Skoda Octavia was updated in 2017 when it received a few visual tweaks – including a set of rather ungainly quad-headlights. In addition to this visual hiccup, every Skoda Octavia now comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard.
This system is a doddle to use and looks significantly more upmarket than the rather outdated display you get in the Vauxhall Astra. You don’t get satellite navigation as standard, but all models come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring so you can use your phone’s navigation apps through the car’s screen instead.
The rest of the Skoda Octavia’s spacious interior has been left pretty much unchanged. All the controls are easy to reach, intuitive to use and feel more solid than in the likes of the Vauxhall Astra – if not quite as bulletproof as in the VW Golf’s plush cabin.
Also more impressive than in most alternatives is the Skoda Octavia’s practicality. There’s ample space in the front seats for tall driver’s to get comfy, and rear-seat legroom is on a par with many much more expensive – and significantly larger – cars.
It’s a similar story when you check out the Skoda Octavia’s boot. Open the wide hatchback-style bootlid and you’ll find a 590-litre load bay that’s big enough for plenty of suitcases or a large baby buggy. Flip the back seats down and a bike will fit, too. Unfortunately, an adjustable boot floor – like the one you get as standard in the VW Golf – is an optional extra on all but high-spec Skoda Octavias.
The Skoda Octavia is more warehouse stockroom than back-street boutique – it’s impressively spacious, but probably won’t draw too many admiring glances
Even with the Skoda Octavia’s boot filled to the brim, the 150hp 1.5-litre petrol engine is more than up to the job. It feels punchy when you accelerate hard, yet doesn’t cost much to run. You can also get it with a selection of diesel engines, but you’ll have to do plenty of long motorway journeys before their impressive fuel economy offsets their higher asking price. However, don’t forget you can offset the higher price by going for a carwow deal.
On the subject of motorway driving, the Skoda Octavia is quiet and mostly very comfortable when you’re cruising along at 70mph. It struggles to iron out bumps and potholes around town as well as some alternatives, however, but not to the extent that you’d ever call it uncomfortable.
You can pay extra for adaptive suspension, but even with it fitted, the Skoda Octavia’s no hot-hatch – a Ford Focus will certainly put a bigger grin on your face on an empty country road.
That said, the sporty Ford will never be able to carry as much bulky luggage or accommodate tall passengers quite as comfortably as the impressively spacious Skoda. For that reason alone, the Skoda Octavia is certainly worthy of a place on your shortlist.
For more in-depth info on the Skoda Octavia, read the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. And, if you want to see what sort of offers are available, just click through to our Skoda Octavia deals page.