Elegant, spacious and economical are just a few of the plaudits that have been heaped on the Octavia. There is a range of engines to choose from – all with a price tag that will surprise you. An estate model is available and it’s worth checking out the mighty vRS with its sporting prowess.
The goodGreat value, superb efficiency and good on-board technology levels
The badCompeting in a very fierce segment
Skoda Octavia 1.5 TSI 150PS SE Technology Hatch (2020)
The fleet market accounts for a high percentage of Octavia sales every year so now Skoda has introduced a model specifically aimed at that sector.
The car is now in its fourth generation and is responsible for a quarter of all Skoda sales here in the UK. Available in hatchback or estate guise, customers can select from a good range of engines and trim levels.
In fact, the Octavia line-up will eventually comprise plug-in hybrid, hybrid, petrol and diesel powertrains and, for the many thrill-seekers out there, the first ever electrified vRS hybrid model will be arriving in showrooms by the end of the year.
The Czech car maker has brought its all-new generation model bang up to date without spoiling its already winning formula. It’s 19mm longer and 15mm wider and those new dimensions help give the car a coupe-like profile.
The traditional grille has got slightly larger and there are new light clusters with crystal-styled rear lamps. Buyers also have a wider selection of alloy wheels to choose from
Move inside and this is where the latest changes are more apparent and relevant with a new digital cockpit, two-spoke steering wheel and lots of extra on-board kit to explore.
Our SE Technology model, aimed at business drivers, was supplied in hatchback body style and was powered by a punchy 1.5-litre 150PS petrol engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.
Priced at £22,640 (£23,460 with options) it could sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 8.2 seconds, topped out at 142mph and could deliver a combined 42.2-50.4mpg with carbon emissions of 127-153g/km.
The five-door Octavia has long been renowned as a great car to drive and one that you quickly feel at home with. This new model is no exception to that rule. With ample seat and steering wheel adjustment, finding the perfect driving position is a breeze, and all controls, dials and readouts are ideally located for ease of use in the driver-focused cockpit.
On twisting country lanes it grips the surface like glue and the streamlined design means body sway is kept to an absolute minimum. The acceleration through the gears is nicely smooth and responsive with a constant stream of power on tap which makes light work of overtaking slower moving vehicles.
The Octavia is an agile car and easy to manoeuvre in busy town centres with light steering to help weave through the crowds. A plus factor is the number of parking systems to help you squeeze into a tight space.
But, in all honesty, the setting where the Octavia is most at ease is out on the faster-moving motorways where it eats up the miles for fun. It effortlessly cruises at 70mph and in one week alone, I clocked up more than 700 miles but never once tired of driving the car. It feels like you’re gliding along at times – it’s that smooth.
Although there are no drive modes on the car, the Octavia certainly delivered a comfortable yet responsive performance and the excellent suspension system helped cushion the ride even on the poorer road surfaces.
On-board technology is impressive too with the main focal point being the new 10-inch touchscreen with a neat touch slider along the bottom for quick volume adjustment. Connecting a smartphone is a simple process via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and there is also a navigation system, DAB radio, wireless Smartlink for Apple CarPlay, dual zone climate control, plus a 10.25-inch virtual cockpit display that can be personalised according to taste.
I particularly liked the somewhat quirky set-up of the climate control system. Instead of the traditional arrows to show the direction of airflow, the driver pushes buttons labelled ‘warm my feet’, ‘cool my feet’, ‘warm hands’, ‘defog windows’ and the likes.
Comfort levels for all occupants are high with ample space for a couple of adults in the back, or three at a bit of a squeeze. And the boot can swallow 600 litres of kit on the hatchback model which is increased to 1,555 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped down. If you need more space, then the estate model does offer increased limits.
There are the usual convenient storage options scattered throughout the car, but special mention to the mobile phone holders in the back of the front seats – another Simply Clever idea from Skoda.
And as one would expect, the safety specifications on the Octavia are thorough and helped it secure a maximum five-star rating when it was tested by Euro NCAP.
Skoda Octavia (2017) – first drive
When you’ve got a best-seller its imperative that it stays in the limelight, but it’s equally as important that any tweaks, redesigns and upgrades don’t drive away the regular fanbase.
That was the situation Skoda faced with its Octavia. One in every three Skodas sold in the UK is an Octavia so the latest facelift model needed to feature lots of appealing new kit and look more dynamic, yet the Czech company needed to strike the right balance – it would seem that have achieved just that.
The Octavia gets its name because it was the eighth model launched by Skoda after World War II back in 1959 and since that time almost 5.5 million cars have been sold globally.
Priced between £17,195 and £30,245, the latest Octavia is available in hatchback or estate body styles with a choice of six powertrains – three diesel and three petrol. At launch, trim options will be S, SE, SE Technology, SE L and Laurin Klement. A rugged Scout version with off-road capabilities and a sporty vRS model will be introduced later with a vRS 245PS model being added that will be the most powerful vRS production car.
Despite being a mid-generation make-over there are a number of notable changes to the Octavia. As far as design is concerned, Skoda wanted to ensure the car has more of a presence on the road so introduced a new radiator grille with vertically split headlights that certainly give the vehicle a fresh and easily recognisable face.
There is extra chrome trim, full LED technology, new fog lights, revised rear deflectors and a reshaped back bumper – features that help to create a more athletic and sporty stance. In addition, the car’s dimensions have increased with the hatchback stretching an extra 11mm in length and the estate by 8mm. This stretching tactic pays dividends inside the car where occupants all enjoy one of the most comfortable and roomy interiors in class.
Restrictions on luggage limits will be few and far between too as the hatchback can accommodate 590 litres of kit, increased to 1,580 litres with the rear seats dropped flat and the estate can cater for 610 litres with the seats upright, increasing to 1,740 with them lowered.
Skoda has taken giant strides to improve the quality of materials used within the cabin so you will find plenty of soft-touch materials along with improved and clearer infotainment displays. Even the air conditioning and ventilation controls are more premium and upmarket in their appearance.
And depending which model is selected there are features such as a heated steering wheel, heated seats, park assist, ambient lighting, dynamic chassis control and a whole host of other goodies.
Even the entry level Octavia has plenty of kit as standard, including an 8-inch touchscreen, DAB radio with eight speakers, SmartLink+ to connect to mobile devices via Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink plus lots more.
And as has become Skoda tradition these days, there are lots of ‘Simply Clever’ features scattered throughout the car such as umbrellas in the front doors or under the passenger seat, an ice scraper hidden inside the fuel filler cap and, making its debut in the latest Octavia, a new centre bottle holder – the base of the holder has been designed in such a way that twisting the bottle tightens the grip so one-handed bottle opening is easily achieved on the move.
We had the opportunity to really put the Octavia through its paces on a lengthy road trip covering more than 420 miles of mainly country roads over two days and it didn’t disappoint.
The fleet market generally accounts for about 70 per cent of Octavia sales, so it was the diesel model that instantly caught our eye for the longest section of the journey. This SE hatchback model, powered by a 1.6-litre 115PS engine mated to a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox, was priced at £21,840 (increased to £23,370 with options fitted). It could reach 62mph from a standing start in 10.2 seconds, topped out at 126mph and according to official figures could deliver combined fuel economy of 72.4mpg with carbon emissions of 103g/km.
The first thing to say is how modern the latest Octavia looks with some beautifully styled detailing and those split lights up front will certainly help it stand out in a crowd. Move inside and the interior is exceptionally spacious and even back seat passengers can stretch out in comfort. All the controls and dials are simple to operate and the seat and steering wheel were very easily and quickly adjusted which was a bonus as my co-driver preferred her seat much higher, closer to the steering wheel and with the wheel itself much lower, so that meant we were regularly making the necessary adjustments.
The DSG automatic gearbox is super-slick and whizzes through the gears and, despite being the smaller of the diesel powertrains, this car delivered excellent driving dynamics with all the power and zip needed to overtake at short notice. And it easily maintained motorway speeds with ease which will be welcomed by business drivers up and down the country.
The road-holding was ultra-grippy and assured which meant long, sweeping bends could be attacked ‘enthusiastically’ with confidence. In addition, the all-round visibility is first rate.
The Octavia has a premium feel to it and is well insulated against any road surface or engine noise. That said; at higher speeds there is a little wind sound from the mirrors, but I am being quite picky here. It’s worth noting that the excellent suspension system ironed out any uneven road surfaces so you won’t be fazed by any bumps and dips on your journey.
The family-sized Octavia is also available with a three-cylinder 1.0-litre 115PS petrol engine and it was that powertrain fitted to an SE hatchback model that was next on our hit-list. It carries a price-tag of £18,500 (£20,030 with options) and could complete the 0-62mph dash in 9.9 seconds with a top speed of 126mph. Combined fuel efficiency is 58.9mpg with carbon emissions of 110g/km.
Despite the compact engine this Octavia coped perfectly well with sweeping mountain roads complete with steep inclines. Some three pot engines scream and whine when pushed hard, but that’s not so of this set-up. It proved great fun as it whizzed through the six-speed manual gearbox. It’s certainly the Octavia to make you smile and good value too.
Further testing included the bigger engines – the 2.0-litre 150PS TDI diesel SE Estate was first with six-speed manual transmission. At £22,530 (£24,290) this car is outstanding value for anyone who regularly notches up the motorway miles but wants all the versatility that an estate car brings to the mix. It’s deceptively agile for its size and can return an impressive 65.7mpg on a combined run.
Finally, the 1.4 TSI 150PS petrol model in SE trim and hatchback styling costing £19,530 (£20,700 with options). This model boasted plenty of fizz and was the ideal model to catch up a bit of lost time in. It coasted along at motorway speeds, boasted excellent acceleration away from the traps (0-62mph in 8.1 seconds) and seemed the most dynamic of all the cars tested. It may not be quite so impressive on the economy front with combined fuel efficiency down to 54.3mpg but it will score highly with the private buyer.
All in all, the latest Octavia is a fabulous all-rounder. Skoda has taken a great car and somehow made it better. And that means there is little doubt that the Octavia will continue to attract buyers from around the globe as it offers premium styling and upmarket features, along with innovative safety systems at a price that doesn’t break the bank.
Skoda Octavia Estate Scout 2.0 184PS 4×4 DSG
It’s not just the A-Team that can beef up a vehicle these days – Skoda has taken its Octavia Estate model and given it a tough new makeover adding robust-looking body kit, lots of fresh equipment and even raising the ride height.
The model also has its own title. It’s called Scout which is most apparent by the distinctive badging on the front and rear of the car, on the door sills, steering wheel and seat backs. And there are a number of other eye-catching features that help this particular 4×4 model stand out including a very long and streamlined body, Scout-specific front fog lights, black side mouldings, 17-inch alloys and roof rails.
Step inside the incredibly spacious cabin and there is plenty of gadgetry to be discovered with techno teats galore, including a clear and easy-to-navigate colour touchscreen, sat nav, live traffic information, Bluetooth connectivity, a DVD drive, dual-zone air conditioning, a multi-function steering wheel, heated seats and lots more besides.
Thanks to a ground clearance that has been raised by 33mm the Octavia Estate Scout can easily cover uneven ground and the 4×4 capability is another bonus – that said the car is never really going to take on the truly rough terrain, but would be very competent on gravel, grass or uneven roads.
However, what this car does do exceptionally well is deliver on the practicality front. The interior is extremely spacious with loads of leg, head and shoulder room in the back. Then there’s the boot which can accommodate 590 litres of luggage – a capacity that can be increased to a whopping 1,580 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. Elsewhere there are numerous handy storage options scattered throughout the car including a practical glovebox, deep central bin and good-sized door pockets. In fact, the only disappointing feature were the duo of cup holders which are far too small to hold standard take-away coffee cups or a small bottle of water with any ounce of confidence.
But that minor gripe aside, the Octavia Estate Scout proved great fun and very accomplished when it came to driving and performance. The test car was powered by a 2.0-litre 184PS diesel engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. According to official figures it can sprint from 0-62mph in a very rapid 7.8 seconds, tops out at 136mph, can achieve combined fuel economy of 56.5mpg and has carbon emissions of 129g/km.
The acceleration was both smooth and responsive through the gears and the option to alter the driving modes adds to the appeal of the vehicle’s all-round driving dynamics. The different styles are: Eco, Normal, Sport, Individual and Off-Road.
It’s a car that’s happy to saunter around busy town centres and despite its length of 4.68 metres it was agile and easy to manoeuvre with parking made all the simpler thanks to the sensors.
But in all honesty, the Octavia Estate Scout is far more content when unleashed on faster lanes or motorways where it cruises along with very little road, engine or wind noise filtering through to the cabin.
The road-holding is assured and the steering nice and precise which, along with a host of comprehensive safety features, help to make the car a fabulous all-rounder for families that enjoy an active lifestyle and enjoy a certain element of quality along the way.
And with an asking price of £28,495, increased to £30,780 with optional extras added, the Skoda Octavia Estate Scout is also outstanding value for money.
Skoda Octavia vRS 2.0 TSI 220PS
Skoda has put the fun back into the family hatchback scene with the arrival of its Octavia vRS – the fastest Octavia on our roads today.
With a 0-62mph sprint time of just 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 152mph, the Skoda Octavia vRS is a little bit special and it is guaranteed to draw attention as it whizzes past.
The vRS oozes style and looks stunning from every angle thanks to its aerodynamic sporty lines, red brake callipers, twin exhausts, 18-inch alloys, smoke effect headlights, black door mirrors, rear spoiler, LED lights and the tinted windows that also add an air of mystique. Even the grille is blackened out with a vRS emblem sitting proudly to one side.
The interior is equally as impressive with techno treats galore, but wherever you look there are not-so-subtle hints to this car’s identity. The black cloth sports seats contain red stitching and piping with the letters vRS embossed into the headrest. The leather sports steering wheel has red stitching, there are metal pedals, and smart carbon fibre-effect door inlays.
The rear seats also boast all the elaborate vRS identity traits.
Features include an excellent sat-nav, a touchscreen infotainment system, DAB radio, a soft-touch dashboard, dual zone air conditioning, a CD player with AUX in and USB connection in the glovebox, Bluetooth connectivity, rear parking sensors and lots more.
But technical wizardry aside, this car is all about performance and it certainly likes to show off.
The 2.0-litre petrol-powered engine delivers plenty of bite with a seemingly endless supply of power on tap.
Acceleration through the six-speed manual transmission is very swift and the road-holding is outstanding meaning any bend can be attacked and conquered with confidence.
The ride can be a little hard at times but that is mainly due to the sports suspension and to be fair, this is no Driving Miss Daisy car!
And as expected, there is a quite a bit of noise to accompany the performance too.
The generously-sized boot can cater for all your luggage requirements and 60:40 split folding rear seats can increase the capacity if needed. Elsewhere, there are plenty of handy storage compartments throughout the cabin.
The driver can choose from different driving modes to suit their mood and the road conditions. These are eco, comfort, sport and custom. And they alter the car’s handling and dynamics.
The Octavia vRS can deliver reasonable fuel economy thanks partly to the eco mode and the automatic stop/start function. According to Skoda figures, it can achieve combined efficiency of 44.1mpg with carbon emissions of 149g/km.
Skoda has packed a full range of safety specifications into the car. As well as the more instantly recognisable features there is also a driver alert system to monitor driver fatigue, along with lane assist and plenty more besides.
All in all, the Skoda vRS is quite a car. It may not suit everybody’s day-to-day driving needs and some may be deterred by the £25,805 price-tag. But one thing is guaranteed – you will never get tired of driving this car.
Skoda Octavia (third generation)
Packed to bursting with techno treats, ground-breaking safety features and excellent comfort levels, the new third generation Skoda Octavia is guaranteed to turn heads and help the company achieve another record-breaking year of sales.
Prices start from £15,990 and there is a choice of four engines with more to be introduced at a later date and there are three generously-equipped trim levels.
The new-look Octavia is now bigger, wider and longer than its predecessor meaning class-leading space for occupants, but thanks to the introduction of lighter materials the car weighs up to 102kg which helps to make it more efficient than the outgoing model.
Despite a raft of design changes, the Octavia is still instantly recognisable – it simply looks more refined thanks to its newly designed grille, sharper window lines and highly detailed headlight clusters.
Inside the cabin, Skoda has introduced a colour touchscreen infotainment system along with an abundance of technical treats even on the lower spec S trim level.
The company anticipates fleet sales of 57% and believes the 1.6-litre TDI diesel model will prove the biggest seller so it was that car in SE trim with five-speed manual transmission that we took on a lengthy test run incorporating motorways, busy town centres and winding country lanes.
The test car was priced at £19,240, which increased to £21,405 with a few optional extras included. It can reach 62mph from a standing start in 10.4 seconds and tops out at 121mph. It has a combined fuel efficiency figure of 74.3mpg and carbon emissions of 99g/km.
The Octavia really impressed me. It has a premium feel to it and the build-quality is excellent. Cabin noise is very low and the massive interior means even back seat passengers can really stretch out. And there needn’t be any luggage restrictions either as the Octavia’s vast boot offers 590 litres of storage space, which can be increased to 1,580 litres with the seats folded flat.
Acceleration was not blistering but don’t forget this is the economical 1.6-litre engine producing 105PS and there was always enough power at your disposal both in and around town and out on the faster roads.
All-round visibility is excellent and the number of on-board creature comforts cannot fail to impress.
The infotainment system is relatively user-friendly, although I found the touchscreen a little fiddly at times especially when the car was being driven over a rougher road surface.
Elsewhere, techno treats include a sound system compatible with modern media devices, dual zone air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, electric windows and many driver safety features such as lane assist and a driver fatigue sensor.
The Octavia has achieved the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP safety tests and includes some outstanding features such as the Automatic Post Collision Braking System which stops the car immediately after an accident so it doesn’t get propelled into oncoming traffic. There is also a driver fatigue sensor that monitors any changes in driving styles and warns the driver to take a break.
Skoda sold almost a million cars worldwide last year and the introduction of the new Octavia is likely to see the company’s success story continue to grow.
Skoda Octavia SE Connect 1.6 TDI 105PS
If getting value for money tops your wish-list when buying a new car then look no further than the Skoda Octavia.
That’s because this five-door model looks good, has plenty of on-board specifications and handles well. But above all, it features a fuel gauge that barely moves meaning trips to the filling station will be few and far between.
With combined fuel efficiency of 62.8mpg, the Octavia is a truly economical option, but thankfully the performance has not been compromised in achieving such impressive figures.
The 1.6-litre diesel-driven engine provides ample power both in town and out on faster country roads and acceleration through the five-speed manual transmission is nice and responsive too.
The Octavia looks good with neat streamlining, smart light clusters, 15-inch alloys, body-coloured door mirrors and handles, body-coloured bumpers and tinted windows.
The interior is fairly simplistic in design, but nonetheless very effective with all dials, controls and readouts perfectly placed for driver usability.
Creature comforts include air con, Bluetooth connectivity, a sound system with CD player and additional loud speakers, MP3 compatibility, electric windows and much more besides.
Although the interior features a lot of plastic, it does not feel cheap and remember the car’s price tag of £17.5k – you could buy two Octavias for the cost of a modern day premium car!
There is ample room within the Octavia for four adults to travel in comfort and there will never be any luggage limitations either as the deceptively-large boot can easily accommodate family-sized suitcases. And if necessary, the rear seats can be folded flat and the boot’s capacity increased even further.
Other storage options include deep door bins and an illuminated glove-box.
All-round visibility is excellent which is essential these days with cars and pedestrians darting out from all angles.
If I were to pick fault it would be the lack of a sixth gear. On more than one occasion while motorway driving, I was ready to shift up to sixth to no avail.
But that aside, the Octavia is a real winner and is certainly ideal for anyone who wants to see their hard-earned cash go a long way.
Skoda has packed a comprehensive list of safety features into the Octavia and it’s worth noting that all models come with Skoda Roadside Assistance.
This means if you break down – even while on holiday in Europe – you can use a freephone number to call for help. And this service is totally free to operate for the first three years.
All in all, the Skoda Octavia is a sound investment for any family or business driver who clocks up the miles, but doesn’t want to spend half their life queuing to fill up.
Skoda Octavia Scout 2.0 TDI DSG
With its 4×4 capabilities, eye-catching good looks and high level of on-board technology, the Skoda Octavia Scout certainly lives up to its “be prepared” title.
Boasting smooth streamlining, flared wheel arches, roof rails, twin tailpipes, 17-inch alloys, chrome kick plates, privacy glass and specially styled chunky Scout bumpers, this model really does look great from any angle and its raised ground clearance means it can take on more challenging surfaces with ease.
Once inside, there is plenty of technical wizardry to keep you occupied and help make each journey a pleasant one.
For example, creature comforts include cruise control, dual zone climate control, acoustic rear parking sensors, satellite navigation, a CD player and radio, a multi-function steering wheel and plenty more besides.
The Octavia Scout is an estate model and features ample room for five adults – four in extreme comfort with plenty of leg, head and elbow space.
And there will never be any restrictions on luggage either as the very generously-sized boot can easily accommodate a number of family-sized suitcases.
If necessary the 60:40 split-folding rear seats can be folded flat to open up even more storage space.
Comfort levels are good and the front seats can be manually adjusted to find the best driving position.
Due to its massive length, the Octavia Scout is not the most agile vehicle on our roads today, but it was easy enough to manoeuvre and thanks to good all-round visibility squeezing into tight parking spaces proved fairly simple.
Powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine delivering 140PS, the car coped admirably with faster moving motorway traffic and acceleration through the automatic transmission was smooth and responsive. Road holding was also impressive on tighter bends.
I did find the engine and road surface noise was a tad loud at higher speeds, but that was my only real gripe after a 500-mile-plus test run.
Skoda has fitted plenty of top notch safety features into the Octavia Scout such as anti-lock brakes, electronic stability programme, hill hold control, numerous airbags and lots more.
All in all, this car which is competitive;y priced at £23,985, offers an excellent blend of family car practicality, economical running costs and the option of 4×4 capabilities when the need arises.
Skoda Octavia vRS 2.0 TDI PD Estate
YOU really know you’ve made it big time when the people who make their living as drivers opt for your car.
That’s the case with Skoda with thousands of cabbies sitting comfortably behind the wheel of either the Superb or Octavia models.
Now, there could be a number of reasons for the shrewdest business-people in the book choosing Skoda, but after a short while driving the Octavia, it all became so clear.
Skoda has for many years now built a highly respected reputation for quality build and when you add outstanding economy, comfort levels to match any saloon, reliability, practicality and excellent safety specifications it’s easy to see the appeal.
The on-the-road price of the Octavia vRS creeps in at a little less than the £20,000 mark, and for that outlay you get a great deal for your money.
The package includes a six-CD player, tinted glass, heated door mirrors, air con with a pollen filter and snazzy seat designs.
Then for a few pounds more you can include extras such as rear parking sensors, an electric sunroof and cruise control.
Throughout the Octavia is a host of storage compartments including an illuminated air conditioned glovebox and a spacious boot area.
But taxi drivers up and down the country rely heavily on performance and that’s exactly where the Octavia really excels. The 2.0-litre engine provides plenty of power and with its excellent economy figures, the fuel gauge barely moves.
It comes complete with a whole host of safety features, including anti-lock brakes, airbags, electronic stability programme and an immobiliser to keep away any uninvited attention.
And with numerous trim levels to choose from there is certainly a model to suit all tastes.