Review

Skoda Octavia hatchback

Price  £16,285 - £27,750

Skoda Octavia hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Good value for money
  • Practical interior
  • Big boot
Cons
  • Dull styling
  • Firm suspension
  • Noisy diesel engines

At a glance

The greenest
Greenline III 1.6 TDI CR 110PS 5dr £20,225
The cheapest
S 1.2 TSI 105PS 5dr £16,285
The fastest
Laurin & Klement 1.8 TSI 180PS 5dr £26,630
Top of the range
Laurin & Klement 1.8 TSI 180PS DSG 5dr £27,750

"No family hatchback can match the Skoda Octavia when it comes to combining space, quality and value for money."

The Skoda Octavia is a genuinely roomy family hatchback powered by a choice of smooth, punchy and economical petrol and diesel engines. It competes with models such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf, but is bigger than both of them. That's surprising in the case of the Golf, as it and the Octavia share a platform. However, the Octavia is a surprising car all-round: surprising value for money, surprisingly practical (it has a 1,580-litre boot with the seats down) and surprisingly well built.

On the value-for-money front, the Octavia is very well equipped, with all models featuring a touchscreen infotainment system, alloy wheels, air-conditioning, Bluetooth phone connectivity and DAB digital radio. There are four trim levels: S, SE, SE L (previously known as Elegance) and top-spec Laurin & Klement (named after Skoda's co-founders).

Mid-range SE, with its dual-zone air-conditioning, all-round electric windows, rear parking sensors and front foglights, offers the best balance of price and specification (like for like, it's about £1,400 dearer than the S). The top-spec Laurin & Klement defies Skoda's modest image with features such as leather trim, a power-adjustable driver's seat and parking assistance, while nudging the price beyond £27,000, putting it firmly into Audi A3 Sportback territory.

There's a fifth trim level called vRS. As the name suggests, it's the high-performance version of the Octavia. Available with a choice of two petrol engines and one diesel, it's entertaining enough but not a patch on hot hatch rivals such as the Ford Focus ST or VW Golf GTI.

Lower down the range, there are three extremely refined, quiet and economical petrol engines and three smooth and even more frugal diesels, including a super-efficient GreenLine III version. For its balance of power, price and economy, our pick of the petrols is the surprisingly punchy 1.2-litre. However, if your annual mileage justifies the extra expense, our favourite engine of all is the 146bhp 2.0-litre diesel. It's powerful, economical and perfect for long-distance cruising.

All the engines are available with a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearboxes. For once, the smooth and fast-changing automatic is almost as economical as the manual, although it does cost around £1,000 more. The Octavia is an agile car with good steering. The suspension is a little firm, though, and the cabin can be noisy on the move.

Thanks to its maximum five-star Euro NCAP rating for crash safety, seven airbags and electronic stability control, the Octavia is definitely a safe car. The SE L trim level and above goes one better with a feature called Safety Assist. This scans the road ahead for objects that pose a risk and, if necessary, automatically brings the car to a stop to avoid a collision.

Skoda owners are a happy lot, with the Octavia scoring well in our Driver Power owner satisfaction surveys for practicality, quality and reliability.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.6 / 5

Nearly every Skoda Octavia will return more than 50mpg

Engines, drive & performance

4 / 5

Every Skoda Octavia is good to drive, but it’s not as much fun as some rivals

Interior & comfort

3.9 / 5

The Skoda Octavia boasts a well built, classy and comfortable cabin, with generous standard equipment

Practicality & boot space

4.8 / 5

No other family hatchback can match the Skoda Octavia’s huge boot and practical interior

Reliability & safety

4.8 / 5

Skoda topped the 2014 Driver Power survey, and all Skoda Octavia models were awarded five stars by Euro NCAP

What the others say

4.7 / 5
based on 3 reviews
4 / 5
"The new Octavia will provide the VW Golf with a big challenge – it's a great car. It majors on value and space, with a stylish and well made interior. Ultimately, it's not quite as good as the Golf dynamically, but it's close and it's better value. It may lack the Golf's cache, but for an increasing number of Skoda buyers, that doesn’t (and shouldn’t) matter much at all."
5 / 5
"Whichever way you look at it, the new Octavia is superb value for money. It's more expensive than the outgoing model, but gets better standard kit, lower CO2 emissions and, on average, is cheaper to insure. It might not be the most desirable car in the world, but it's quite possibly the most sensible."
5 / 5
"The new 2013 Skoda Octavia is going to make its buyers very happy. Though the pricing has gone up, we can't fault the value, and that good old cliché "a lot of car for the money" has never been so apt."
What owners say 
4.4742718446602
4.5 /5 based on 206 reviews
80%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
28 May 2015
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