2020 Skoda Octavia spotted testing
All-new version of our reigning Family Car of the Year has been seen out on the road ahead of its autumn debut...
On sale Early 2020 Priced from £20,000 (est)
Few cars remain class-leading throughout their lives, but the current Skoda Octavia is one of them; it's our reigning Family Car of the Year, despite the fact that it will soon be replaced by an all-new version, which has recently been spotted undergoing final testing.
The design is partially obscured by fake panelling, but it's still clear that it will swap the controversial split headlights of today's Octavia for more conventional units reminiscent of those on the larger Superb.
They flank a grille that's much wider than before, while the rear of the estate model features an integrated spoiler at the top of the window.
The underpinnings of the current Octavia have been carried over, so interior space is unlikely to grow significantly, but that shouldn't put you off, given that the Octavia already offers more rear leg room and a bigger boot than any of its rivals.
While we're still to see the interior, the dashboard is expected to borrow heavily from that of the smaller Skoda Scala (below), meaning a large touchscreen infotainment system, rotary air conditioning controls and the option of customisable digital instruments.
Higher-spec models will also be permanently connected to the internet, allowing them to show advanced 3D sat-nav mapping and let the engine coast in the run-up to junctions or when you’re heading downhill.
The turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine that we currently recommend in the Octavia will still be available, but many of the petrols will feature 48-volt mild hybrid technology to both improve acceleration and cut emissions.
Expect the new Octavia to cost slightly more than today's car but remain competitive, with prices starting at around £20,000.
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The 10 most efficient family cars
What Car?'s True MPG tests show what fuel economy you can expect in the real world, so which of the new Octavia's rivals currently sets the standard? Below we count down the top 10 models we've tested so far – and reveal the one that used the most fuel.
10. Renault Megane 1.5 dCi 110
True MPG 47.2mpg
In addition to its impressive True MPG, the Megane comes with lots of luxury and safety equipment. However, it's not as practical or enjoyable to drive as the best rivals.
9. Audi A3 2.0 TDI S line
True MPG 47.3mpg
The A3 is a former What Car? Car of the Year and, in five-door Sportback form, it's still one of our favourite family cars. This 2.0-litre diesel engine is worth the price premium over the rather grumbly 1.6 and should definitely be on your shopping list if you'll be covering a lot of miles.
8. Fiat Tipo 1.6 Multijet 120
True MPG 49.1 %
Fiat's Ford Focus rival undercuts most family hatchbacks by thousands, plus it delivers gutsy performance if you go for this high-powered diesel model. Just bear in mind that the low price is reflected in the quality of the interior and disappointing refinement.
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The Octavia has always been one of our favourite family cars, and this latest one promises to be more versatile than ever. Let's see how it fares in day-to-day use