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Car trim reviews

Skoda Octavia SE

The Skoda Octavia SE is a huge amount of car for the money, and we’re not just talking physical size. In SE trim it has a reasonably complete spec, too.

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SE is the second step on the Skoda Octavia trim-level ladder, one up from the entry-level Octavia S.

It boasts all the standard features of that version, including alloy wheels, LED headlights, DAB digital radio, Smartlink and Bluetooth phone connectivity, but adds key items such as front foglights, a multifunction steering wheel, cruise control, rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control and an air-conditioned storage box. The presence of these useful features is well worth paying extra for and should also make the car more desirable on the used market when the time comes to sell it on.

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Items missing from the Octavia SE that you may want to upgrade to an Octavia SE L for include larger 17-inch alloy wheels, alcantara and leather upholstery, integrated sat nav and power-adjustable heated door mirrors. Most of these can be added individually to an SE as optional extras, but if you're considering a few of them, it's worth checking whether it might not be better value to just go all in and upgrade to an Octavia SE L.

The Octavia SE is available with a wide range of engines, including 1.0, 1.4 and 1.5-litre TSI turbocharged petrols and 1.6 and 2.0-litre TDI turbodiesels. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard across the line-up, while the 1.0 and 1.4-litre petrols and the 1.6-litre diesel can be specified with a DSG automatic gearbox. You don't miss out on any engine options with the SE, although the Octavia SE L adds the option of a DSG gearbox with the 2.0-litre diesel.

Our petrol and diesel picks respectively would be the 1.4-litre TSI and 2.0-litre TDI, with the latter being particularly suited to those who do a lot of long-distance motorway driving and boasting low running costs. The TSI petrol is a great all-rounder, suited to around-town family duties and the occasional longer trip too, offering a great balance of satisfying performance and reasonable fuel economy.

What you get

  • Alloy wheels
  • Folding rear seats
  • Alarm
  • Passenger & Driver airbag
  • Front side airbags
  • Manual air conditioning
  • Auto climate control
  • Height adjustable driver's seat
  • Front electric windows
  • CD Multichanger
  • Cruise control
  • Rear electric windows
  • Bluetooth

Recommended optional extras

  • Side curtain airbags
  • Electronic stability control (ESP)
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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.

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