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...

2020 Skoda Octavia prototype front

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.

2020 Skoda Octavia prototype

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.

2019 Skoda Scala dash

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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Next: More new cars coming soon >

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

Renault Megane

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.

Read our full Renault Megane review, or see what discounts are available on the Megane

9. Audi A3 2.0 TDI S line

True MPG: best family cars 2018

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.

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.