Skip advert
Advertisement

Skoda Octavia hatchback (2013-2020) - Engines, drive & performance

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

Carbuyer Rating

3.8 out of 5

Owners Rating
Be the first to review
Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

The latest Skoda Octavia is a little lighter than its predecessor and has livelier handling as a result. However, it’s still not the most dynamically rewarding car to drive – rivals such as the Ford Focus, SEAT Leon and Vauxhall Astra are more fun through corners.

While the steering is nicely weighted, it’s not especially responsive and doesn’t give you much feedback. There’s a little body lean, too, although there’s enough grip for corners to be taken quickly. Of the lot, we found the 1.0-litre petrol – with its smaller and lighter engine – the most enjoyable to drive.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Where the Octavia does pull some points back over its rivals, though, is in ride comfort, which feels nicely controlled over rough road surfaces. Even models on larger wheels do a good job of smothering bumps, with only deep potholes and really poorly surfaced roads upsetting its composure.

SE models and above get a Driving Mode Selection feature, which allows you to alter the engine’s throttle response and steering weight at the touch of a button, making the car feel sportier or more relaxed depending on your preference. Unfortunately, weak customer demand means there’s no longer an option to add the Dynamic Chassis Control dampers, which allowed you to stiffen or soften the suspension at the touch of a button. This system is now only available on the vRS.

Skoda Octavia petrol engines

Even the 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine will get the car from 0-62mph in a fairly brisk 10 seconds, eventually hitting a top speed of 125mph. It's incredibly smooth too, unless you start to work the engine hard. This makes it ideal for town driving, but that's not to say it can't cruise at motorway speeds. In fact, it does this with a relaxed pace that belies its compact size.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

If that’s not quick enough, there's also a 148bhp 1.5-litre TSI. 0-62mph acceleration takes just under eight seconds, while fuel consumption is kept in check by clever cylinder-deactivation technology, which is claimed to react so quickly as to be unnoticeable on the road. It feels quick and top speed is an impressive 136mph where it's safe and legal to do so. It's fairly quiet, too – barely audible when tootling along and remaining subdued even when worked hard.

At the top of the range is the 187bhp 2.0-litre, which is a detuned version of the unit used in the vRS. That said, it’s still a muscular and eager performer, combining with the quick-shifting seven-speed DSG gearbox to sprint from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds and on to a top speed just shy of 150mph. 

Diesel engines

Both Octavia diesel engines sound a bit clattery on start-up, but get smoother and quieter once you're up to speed. They offer effortless performance in the Octavia, allowing it to comfortably overtake slower traffic and breeze up steep inclines.

The 1.6-litre TDI is marginally the smoothest of the Octavia’s diesel line-up, plus it has enough performance for most situations. The six-speed manual’s 0-62mph of 10.2 seconds won’t set any records, but with a useful 250Nm of torque at just 1,750rpm it pulls extremely well from low revs, even when fully loaded.

The 2.0-litre TDI produces 148bhp – enough to manage 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds with the slick-shifting manual gearbox, or 8.6 seconds when the dual-clutch DSG automatic is fitted. Its plentiful pulling power even at low engine revs makes the Octavia very relaxing to drive. In many respects, it’s the engine that best suits the no nonsense Octavia.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.5 TSI SE Technology 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £26,745

Most Economical

  • Name
    2.0 TDI SE Technology 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £29,290

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 TDI 150 SE Technology 5dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £31,690

Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Skoda Octavia review – the most practical family hatchback
Skoda Octavia 2024
In-depth reviews
15 May 2024

Skoda Octavia review – the most practical family hatchback

Top 10 best motorway cars 2024
Top 10 best motorway cars 2023
Best cars
4 Jan 2024

Top 10 best motorway cars 2024

Top 10 best hatchbacks 2024
The best hatchbacks 2023 hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best hatchbacks 2024

London ULEZ: what is the Ultra Low Emission Zone?
ULEZ Zone
Tips and advice
21 Aug 2023

London ULEZ: what is the Ultra Low Emission Zone?

Have You Considered

Vauxhall Astra review - striking hatchback with updated tech
vauxhall astra uk
In-depth reviews
6 Jun 2024

Vauxhall Astra review - striking hatchback with updated tech

DS 4 review – French model takes on premium rivals
DS 4 hatchback UK front 3/4 tracking
In-depth reviews
3 Jun 2024

DS 4 review – French model takes on premium rivals

Most Popular

New Alpine A290: fast, stylish and very blue electric hot hatchback revealed
Alpine A290 front quarter
News
13 Jun 2024

New Alpine A290: fast, stylish and very blue electric hot hatchback revealed

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on
Engine warning light
Tips and advice
12 Jun 2024

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
14 Jun 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
Best electric cars
Best cars
16 May 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024