Meet Skoda’s line-up of 5-star cars

We explain how Skoda’s line-up of family-friendly models impressed our road-test team so much, and why they could be right for you...

Skoda Scala; Skoda Enyaq; Skoda Karoq range image

When it comes to picking a versatile car that meets the needs of you, your family and friends, there’s certainly no shortage of options. Family-sized models from compact hatchbacks to high-riding SUVs (and everything in between) offer all the practicality, comfort and technology you could ever need. So the question is, how do you know which models will best fit into your busy life?

Well, that’s where a five-star review from the discerning and fastidiously focused What Car? road-test team can shine some light. And it’s exactly what four of Skoda’s outstanding range have been awarded: the Skoda Scala hatchback, the Skoda Octavia hatchback and estate, the Skoda Karoq family SUV, and the all-electric Skoda Enyaq large SUV.

Each of these impressive cars achieved their rating based on their own strengths, but there are some standout features shared by the entire line-up that helped them achieve their top- mark score. These include outstanding value for money, exceptional practicality, superb visibility and safety technology, and plush well-built interiors.

So to find out why Skoda’s line-up is so good, and which of its models is right for you, we’ve decided to dive into the key reasons why each one of them has the pride of flying What Car?’s five-star flag.

Discover the Skoda range

Skoda Scala front three quarters driving

Skoda Scala: 5-star family-sized hatchback

Let’s start with the Skoda Scala. Don’t let its compact hatchback dimensions fool you. This family-sized hatchback is every bit as practical, tech-packed and value-adding as its larger siblings, as the experts from What Car? explained.

“Don't discount the Skoda Scala on the basis that it's inexpensive,” they said. “You rarely get something for nothing, so as cars become bigger and more sophisticated, they’re also becoming more expensive. Well, the Skoda Scala is an exception to the rule. It ticks many of the boxes that more expensive family cars fail to tick with its supple ride, decent handling, good infotainment system, amazing rear seat space and vast boot.”

Indeed, What Car? were particularly keen on the Skoda Scala’s marked improvement in interior quality, onboard tech and driving position. “The interior of the Skoda Scala has taken a step forward and feels well screwed together. Hard, scratchy plastics have been replaced with soft-touch materials and recycled fabrics, while the ‘Lodge’ interior that comes with SE L trim and up offers an even nicer mix of materials.

“The Skoda Scala's infotainment is one of the better systems in the family car class, too. All versions of the Skoda Scala come with a high-definition touchscreen display, measuring 8.25in on the SE trim and 9.2in on others. Everything above entry-level SE trim gets a superb 10in Virtual Cockpit that features crisp graphics and plenty of configurability.

"The Skoda Scala also gives you a wide range of steering-wheel adjustments, and you get driver's seat height adjustment as standard. Adjustable lumbar support is also standard on all trim levels, although the lever's location isn’t all that intuitive."

Out on the open road, the Skoda Scala also offers impressive driving characteristics. “Come rain or shine, the Skoda Scala delivers more grip than the Mazda 3, and that grip is better balanced front-to-rear than it is in the Kia Ceed,” What Car? said. “The Skoda Scala is one of the better-riding family cars, too. It's far better at isolating you from razor-edged bumps and potholes than a Ford Focus or Mazda 3. For the best results, spec your Skoda Scala with the smallest 16in alloy wheels, which just happen to be standard on our favourite SE trim.”

The Skoda Scala also scored incredibly well when it came to visibility and safety technology. “Thanks to the Skoda Scala's relatively slim windscreen pillars, forward visibility is impressive,” What Car? said. “The rear pillars are thicker, but there's still an acreage of glass that makes your over-the-shoulder vision way better than it is in many rivals. Standard safety kit on the Skoda Scala includes lane-keeping assistance, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, traffic sign recognition and seven airbags.”

The Skoda Scala scored strongly for practically, too, thanks to its five spacious seats and between 467 litres and 1410 litres of versatile storage space. “Rear passenger space is one of the Skoda Scala's greatest attributes,” What Car? commented. “Leg room and head room are exceedingly generous for the class – beating even the spacious Ford Focus, and up there with the Seat Leon and the Skoda Octavia.

“The Skoda Scala’s rear seatbacks fold in a conventional 60/40 split. With the rear seats in their upright positions, the Skoda Scala can take more luggage in its 467-litre boot than a Ford Focus. It can manage up to seven carry-on suitcases below its parcel shelf, against six and five respectively for those two rivals.”

Finally, What Car? gave the Skoda Scala a full five stars for value and ownership costs, with particular emphasis on fuel economy and the generous levels of standard equipment. “If you stick with our recommended entry-level SE trim, an equivalently equipped Ford Focus will cost you thousands more,” What Car? said. “It gives you all the basics, including 16in alloy wheels, dual-zone air conditioning, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob, a front centre armrest, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

“Fuel economy is also a Skoda Scala strength. You can expect to see more than 40mpg in the real world. Even the 1.5-litre TSI 150 shouldn't break the bank. With its low P11D price and sensible CO2 emissions, the Skoda Scala is also a fairly cost-effective choice as a company car because BIK (benefit-in-kind) tax payments are reasonably low.”

Skoda Octavia Estate front three quarters driving

Skoda Octavia: 5-star family-friendly hatchback and saloon

Next up is the best-selling Skoda Octavia, available in both sleek saloon and ultra-versatile estate forms. Both versions of the Skoda Octavia make a compelling case as family-friendly alternatives to high-riding SUVs thanks to their vast amounts of interior space, impressive driving character and great safety credentials.

“First and foremost, the Skoda Octavia offers generous space for occupants and a massive boot that dwarfs most competitors from the class above, plus its plush interior and frugal engines make it a fantastic car for covering big distances in,” What Car? said in its comprehensive review.

Like the smaller Skoda Scala, What Car? were fans of the Skoda Octavia’s well-built and tech-packed cabin. “Plush, squidgy plastics are present on the top and front of the Skoda Octavia's dashboard and above the armrests on the doors. There are some harder plastics lower down, but they're pleasingly textured and everything feels solidly screwed together.

“Helpfully, Skoda has positioned the infotainment touchscreen in the Skoda Octavia high on the dashboard so you don’t have to take your eyes far from the road to see it. All models come with a 10.0in touchscreen, Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring, and a DAB radio.”

In terms of practicality, the Skoda Octavia wipes the floor with almost all of its competitors. In the hatchback, you get between 600 litres and 1555 litres of boot space (depending on whether you fold the seats down), while the estate yields between 640 litres and 1700 litres. 

“The Skoda Octavia’s boot, in both variations, is not only huge compared with similarly-sized rivals, it also dwarfs most competitors from the class above,” What Car? commented. “The load area is longer and taller than in most comparably priced hatchbacks, and it’s a practical shape.”

But the Octavia doesn’t just impress in the back. Both versions offer vast amounts of room for both front and rear passengers, while the rear bench is also surprisingly wide, making it a very comfortable car for three back-seat passengers to sit side by side in. There’s also ample storage space, including vast 1.5-litre door bins.

The Skoda Octavia also scored highly for visibility and safety technology – a thread that runs through all of Skoda’s family car models. “The Skoda Octavia hatchback has large side windows and relatively thin windscreen pillars so looking forwards, or left and right at junctions, is easy,” What Car? said. “The Skoda Octavia Estate’s thin rear pillars give you great all-round visibility, too. It makes this relatively big estate car one of the easiest to manoeuvre in tighter spots.”

Both versions of the Skoda Octavia were awarded a maximum five-star rating by Euro NCAP, helped by the inclusion of automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance and an e-call system that notifies the emergency services if you’re involved in an accident, as standard.

Another theme shared by all of Skoda’s line-up is exceptional value, and the Skoda Octavia is no exception. To start, the broad range of frugal petrol and diesel engines will help keep your daily expenses down, while the What Car? team heaped praise upon the Skoda Octavia’s generous levels of equipment compared to rivals.

“SE Technology trim seems good value against the Ford Focus, and even top-end SE L will set you back much less than equivalent premium models, such as the BMW 1 Series and the Mercedes A-Class,” What Car? said. “Our chosen trim is the mid-range SE Technology trim because it offers the best value for money, costing hardly any more than SE trim despite gaining front parking sensors and infotainment upgrades.”

Finally, What Car? were deeply impressed by the Skoda Octavia’s engaging handling and mile-munching ability. “The Skoda Octavia estate’s ride is, on the whole, excellent. It’s noticeably softer than a lot of its rivals, including the Ford Focus estate and its wafty bent also makes it particularly adept for relaxed jaunts on motorways and A-roads.

“Despite the softness of its suspension, the Skoda Octavia estate is perfectly capable when it comes to corners. In particular, its steering is precise and has plenty of reassuring weight, providing you with a good sense of connection to the road through the front tyres.”

Skoda Karoq front three quarters driving

Skoda Karoq: 5-star family-friendly SUV

Now we come to the first of Skoda’s five-star SUVs, the Skoda Karoq. The popularity of high-riding family SUVs like the Karoq has skyrocketed in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. They offer rugged standout style, a commanding high-rise driving position, and all of the versatile family-friendly practicality you could ever need. And these are exactly some of the points the discerning What Car? road testers praised.

“The Skoda Karoq is a top-drawer family SUV with clever seating options, a big boot, and plenty of space inside for passengers,” What Car? said in its exacting road-test. “It’s also a pleasure to drive, thanks to its comfortable ride and great visibility, and it has a well made interior.”

Like both the Skoda Scala and Skoda Octavia, the Skoda Karoq also comes equipped with a well-made cabin and plenty of useful technology. “Driving the Karoq is made easy by well-sited, sensibly grouped buttons and switches on the dashboard, and the crisp digital instrument cluster,” What Car? said.

“Regardless of trim level, the Skoda Karoq comes with an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system as standard. It gives you clear graphics, has a simple operating system, and is one of the best touchscreens in the class. You also get sat-nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth, Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay. You’ll also find plenty of squishy surfaces on top of the dashboard and doors, and even the harder materials lower down are textured in such a way that they don't feel cheap.”

The What Car? experts also noted the Skoda Karoq’s supple ride and handling prowess. “The Skoda Karoq comes up trumps when smoothing the harsh edges off ruts and bumps around town. The ride gets even better on motorways, making it a soothing companion on long journeys.

“The Skoda Karoq sits on the same underpinnings as the Seat Ateca and Volkswagen Tiguan, but Skoda has clearly worked hard to give the Karoq its own character, and it falls squarely between comfort and sportiness. The steering has a fine level of accuracy that lets you glide from corner to corner with ease.”

The Skoda Karoq earned a bunch of brownie points for its class-leading practicality, too. You get five copious seats – perfect for busy family life – and between 521 litres of 1810 litres of boot space (with VarioFlex rear seats fitted). “It’s unlikely that anyone will get into the front of the Skoda Karoq and start grumbling about a lack of space,” What Car? said. “It’s possible to slide the seats back a good amount to accommodate long legs, while those tall in the body will find the seat drops low enough to give plenty of head room.

“[In the rear] the Skoda Karoq has large door openings that make fitting a child seat relatively painless. There’s plenty of leg room for adults, so even six-footers won’t find their knees pressed up against the front seatbacks.”

But it’s the rear seat configurability and overall boot space where the Skoda Karoq pulls well clear of the competition, with What Car? giving particular praise to Skoda’s ingenious VarioFlexi seats. “This is an area where the Skoda Karoq wipes the floor with its rivals. The VarioFlex seats (optional on SE Drive and SE L trims) do all sorts of clever things.

“For a start, the seatbacks are split fairly evenly into three separate sections, rather than the usual 60/40. That offers much more flexibility if you want to carry long loads as well as passengers. That’s not all. The seats recline and slide back and forth independently of one another. You can even remove all three rear seats from the car, freeing up more space.”

Like its siblings, the Skoda Karoq also offers superb value for money and low running costs. “The Skoda Karoq's SE Drive trim is generously equipped, with 17in alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, automatic lights and wipers, privacy glass, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, cruise control and rear parking sensors,” said the What Car? team. 

The Skoda Karoq is also cost-effective to run and own, too. The 1.0-litre TSI 116 engine achieved more than 40mpg in the What Car? real-world efficiency test, while strong resale values and exceptional value compared to similarly equipped Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage models make the Skoda Karoq a no-brainer when it comes to maximising your cash.

The Skoda Karoq also offers a wealth of advanced safety technology and superb all-round visibility, just as any good high-riding family SUV should. “The Skoda Karoq is one of the easiest family SUVs to see out of because it combines a raised driving position with narrow windscreen pillars and big side windows,” What Car? commented. “Pulling out of T-junctions, manoeuvring around multi-storey car parks and changing lanes on a motorway are a breeze.

“All models have automatic emergency braking as standard and rear parking sensors, with SE L models and above gaining front sensors and a rear-view camera (these are available as part of a Parking Package on entry-level SE Drive models).”

Feel Electric Skoda Enyaq motorway driving

Skoda Enyaq: 5-star all-electric family SUV

Finally, let’s talk about Skoda’s world-beating all-electric family-friendly SUV: the Skoda Enyaq. Available in both ultra-versatile SUV and dazzling coupé forms, the Skoda Enyaq’s sharp lines will certainly turn heads on the school run. 

But it’s not all show and no go. What Car? particularly rated the Skoda Enyaq’s all-electric range, impressive practicality and overall value: “The Skoda Enyaq is practical, good to drive, smart inside and our favourite 85 version has an impressive range between charges. As long as you avoid the pricier trim levels and the expensive options packages, it's also good value for money.”

When it comes to choosing the right Skoda Enyaq for you, there’s a few options to pick from. The entry-level Skoda Enyaq 60 offers up to 249 miles of range and a charging speed of up to 120kW. The bigger battery pack in the Skoda Enyaq 85 SUV will allow you to travel up to 348 miles in between charges, and up to 353 miles in coupé form. Both come with charging of up to 135kW.

As well as impressive range and fast charging times, What Car? also appreciated the Skoda Enyaq’s space and practicality. You get up to 585 litres of luggage space as standard, or up to 1710 litres with the 60:40 split rear seats folded down. And there’s only a subtle compromise if you pick the sleeker Skoda Enyaq Coupe, with 570 litres as standard expanding up to 1610 litres.

“The Skoda Enyaq’s main boot compartment is huge, taking up to nine carry-on suitcases under the tonneau cover,” What Car? said. “With the Skoda Enyaq Coupé, there’s a negligible difference in boot capacity, so it will still swallow an impressive eight carry-on suitcases below its parcel shelf.”

It’s a similar story for front and rear passengers, too. “You certainly won’t complain about space in the front, even if you’re well over six-foot tall,” What Car? said in its rigorous road-test. “There’s loads of head room and generous leg room, and the width of the interior means you won’t find yourself rubbing shoulders with your front seat passenger.”

“The Skoda Enyaq is also huge in the back. There’s easily enough legroom for a couple of six-footers to lounge out, with equally tall folk sitting in the front. Head room is plentiful, too.”

Like all the Skodas we’ve covered, the Skoda Enyaq received praise for its advanced safety tech that lends a second pair of eyes when out on the open road. “The Skoda Enyaq demonstrates just how safe a mainstream electric car can be,” What Car? said. “It’s great at avoiding accidents in the first place. You get lots of driver assistance kit thrown in, including automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance.”

The What Car? team also praised the Skoda Enyaq for its comfortable ride and engaging handling, both helping to make every journey more enjoyable. “The Skoda Enyaq is one of the most comfortable electric cars for the money. It does a better job of controlling its movements and cosseting its passengers more than almost every rival, and also dazzles for gaining composure as you gather speed. The Skoda Enyaq handles tidily and it’s easy and relaxing to drive, which is the overwhelming priority for a car like this.”

Finally, we come to value. And despite what you might think about the cost of all-electric cars, What Car? found that the Skoda Enyaq demonstrates superb value for money in all areas. “You might imagine that, with so much to offer, the Skoda Enyaq would be an expensive choice. But the opposite is true. It undercuts key rivals and – despite its keen pricing – it gets a reasonable amount of standard kit. The Enyaq is also exceptionally cheap to run if you’re a company car driver, because it’s in a very low benefit-of-kind tax bracket.

So, from the compact Skoda Scala family hatchback to the seriously impressive Skoda Enyaq all-electric family (and everything in between) those are just a handful of reasons why Skoda’s lineup of family cars were awarded five stars by What Car?’s discerning team of automotive experts. Now, it’s time to pick which one is best for you.

Discover the Skoda range