Skoda Octavia Hatchback full 9 point review
You might imagine that the entry-level 1.2-litre petrol engine would struggle to haul around a car this big, but it’s easily up to the job and is great around town. Performance from the 1.6-litre diesel is fine, although we prefer the Greenline version, which gets more power and a six-speed gearbox instead of the standard 1.6’s five-speeder. The 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel is strong and flexible, while the vRS models get 2.0-litre petrol or diesel engines, so are effortlessly fast.
Ride & Handling
For the most part, the Octavia rides comfortably enough. You feel more of bumps than you do in a VW Golf, but they don’t thump through to the cabin like they do in the smaller Rapid. The Octavia isn't quite as agile as a Ford Mondeo, but the body doesn't lollop around through tight twists and turns, and there's plenty of grip.
The Octavia’s petrol engines are smooth and quiet, although the diesels are a tad noisy compared with the same engines in the VW Golf, and you feel more vibration through the pedals. There’s some wind noise on the motorway, but road noise is well suppressed and the gearchange is pretty slick and accurate.
Buying & Owning
The Octavia costs less to buy and run than most of its rivals – no matter if you’re a private buyer or a company car driver. The entry-level 1.2 TSI undercuts the equivalent VW Golf by a fair chunk, for example, and both the 1.6 and 2.0 TDI models are about as cheap for company car tax as you’ll find in the class. Fuel economy is impressive for such a large car, too.
Quality & Reliability
The Octavia's cabin shames those of many more expensive cars for its quality and finish – it’s even a match for the VW Golf. All the materials feel plush and solid, while the gaps between panels are tight and regular. The Octavia was too new to be included in the most recent JD Power ownership satisfaction survey, but the previous model was awarded ‘excellent’ marks for mechanical reliability.
Safety & Security
All Octavias have seven airbags as standard, and rear side airbags are available as an optional extra. Other standard safety features include stability control and electronic brakeforce distribution. The Octavia has also received the full five-star crash test rating from Euro NCAP. An alarm and engine immobiliser are fitted to every model.
Behind The Wheel
Masses of adjustment to the steering wheel and driver's seat allows people of all shapes and sizes to get comfortable. The seats are generally supportive, too, although some people may prefer a bit more shoulder support. The dashboard is logically laid out, and the touch-screen infotainment system is one of the best around. Over-the-shoulder vision isn’t great, though.
Space & Practicality
The Octavia is closer in size to a Ford Mondeo than a Focus. Six-foot adults can comfortably sit behind similar-sized front occupants with legroom to spare. The boot is enormous and suffers from no suspension intrusions, although when the rear seats are tipped forward, there's an annoying step in the floor.
The Octavia is available in four trims – S, SE, Elegance and vRS – and even the cheapest of these gives you air-conditioning, alloy wheels, Bluetooth, a DAB radio and a USB socket. SE is our favourite and adds rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control and rear electric windows. Elegance cars have sat-nav, part-leather seats, cruise control and automatic lights and wipers, while vRS models get sporty styling and xenon headlights.