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New Skoda Octavia vs used Audi A3

Few family cars are able to compete with the new Skoda Octavia – is a used Audi A3, with its similar price tag, one of them? We find out.....

New Skoda Octavia vs used Audi A3

The contenders

New Skoda Octavia 1.5 TSI 150 SE Technology

List Price: £22,640 Target price: £22,640 Official fuel economy: 50.4mpg (WLTP) Emissions: 127g/km CO2 Power: 148bhp 0-62mph: 7.9sec Top speed: 142mph

Used Audi A3 Sportback 35 TFSI S line

Price new: £28,205 Price today: £26,000* Official fuel economy: 45.6mpg (WLTP) Emissions: 141g/km CO2 Power: 148bhp 0-62mph: 8.0sec Top speed: 139mph 

*Price today is based on a 2020 model with low mileage and a full service history and is correct at the time of writing

The humble family car class has seen some truly excellent models go on sale in the last year or two, and one of our favourites is the fourth-generation Skoda Octavia. This latest version of Skoda’s best-selling car follows in the footsteps of the previous generations by being incredibly spacious as well as practical, comfortable and efficient. 

Here, we’ve brought along another one of our family car favourites to compete with it and, in the spirit of upping the ante a little, it wears a premium badge. The stylish Audi A3 has always been another one of our favourite family cars, and this latest version boasts sharp handling, a great driving position and strong engines. It's here because a nearly new example can be bought for a similar price to a brand new Octavia. 

Skoda Octavia 2021 dashboard

So which will prove the better buy? Read on to find out… 

New Skoda Octavia vs used Audi A3 – interior & equipment

Build quality, equipment, ease of use

Despite the A3’s premium badge, it’s surprisingly similar to the Octavia when it comes to build quality. This is to say good, but not class leading. The A3 makes use of high quality materials throughout its interior, while the Octavia is a similar story with its many plush, squidgy plastics. Both get noticeably cheaper, however, as you look towards lower parts of their centre consoles and doors.  

Audi A3 dashboard

The interior of the Octavia is very well laid out and is easy to get accustomed to. The seats are comfortable, with all models coming with adjustable lumbar support to help fend off back pain on long journeys. 

Its digital instrument cluster – which takes the place of traditional dials and is standard on all models – has good graphics and is clear, and you get plenty of layout and content options. In addition, the car’s infotainment system is just as slick. The touchscreen is responsive and our only complaint is that, with some climate functions hidden away in one of the menus, fine tuning the settings can prove more distracting when driving than it would be with separate physical controls.

As with the Octavia, a digital gauge cluster is present on all A3s – our test car has the 10.3in unit, higher trim levels get a 12.3in one. Its sharp infotainment system has crisp graphics and is responsive to user inputs. Unfortunately, as with the Octavia, some features we’d prefer to have physical controls for are hosted within the system, which (again) can be somewhat distracting to have to deal with whilst driving. 

Skoda Octavia 2021 rear seats

Equipment levels are good in both cars. All Octavias and A3s get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, as well as sat-nav and DAB radio. 

New Skoda Octavia vs used Audi A3 – space & practicality

Driving position, practicality, visibility

The Octavia's driving position is great but not quite as perfect as the A3’s. With plenty of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel, drivers will quickly feel at home behind the wheel of both cars, it’s just the A3 feels that bit more spot on.

On the other hand, the Octavia wins hands down when it comes to passenger space. It feels suitably spacious in the front and rear – almost surprisingly so in the latter. The Octavia is very roomy for its size. Boot space is also extremely generous, and there’s an estate version available for those wanting even more practicality.

Audi A3 Sportback 2021 rear seats

Passenger space in the A3 is adequate, but it’s a less airy space and not accommodating for taller people. There aren’t as many storage spaces dotted around inside as there are in the Octavia, either. Its boot is smaller, too. 

When it comes to visibility, the Octavia’s pillars are that bit thinner than the A3’s, so it proves that bit easier to see out of. 

Next: What are they like to drive? >>

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