Buying and owning
Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security
The Octavia and Golf are closely matched on list price, with less than a hundred pounds separating them, while the 308 is around £1000 cheaper than either. However, if you’re paying in cash, it’s worth haggling at all three dealers, because discounts are available if you do. There’s around £1800 to be had off both the Octavia and Golf, while roughly £1000 can be bartered off the 308, bringing the Target Prices of our trio much closer together.
Considerably more buyers will opt to sign up to a finance agreement, though, and on a PCP deal over three years – limited to 10,000 miles annually and fronted by a £3000 deposit – the 308 is the cheapest option (if you give it back at the end of the term), setting you back £252 per month. That said, the Octavia and Golf aren’t far behind, costing £270 and £284 per month respectively.
That order remains if you’re a company car driver. The 308’s lower list price and CO2 emissions make its monthly benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax bills around £20 cheaper than the Octavia and Golf’s.
However, look at three-year ownership costs and the tables turn, with the 308’s considerable depreciation and higher servicing costs making it the priciest by some margin. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to run our True MPG fuel tests on the 308, but the Golf returned a slightly better figure than the Octavia.
The Octavia’s standard kit list stands out with its leather and Alcantara seats and LED headlights, which are expensive options on the other two cars. The 308 counters by being the only car with a standard panoramic roof, while the Golf’s standard adaptive cruise control (the other cars get regular cruise control) is a welcome luxury. However, its lack of climate control seems remiss and is worth adding at £415.
There’s a bigger elephant in the room when it comes to safety: automatic emergency braking isn’t standard on the 308 but a £400 option. That’s very disappointing, given that Skoda and Volkswagen include it as standard. The 308 also has the least impressive Euro NCAP safety rating (although it still achieved five stars), scoring the lowest marks for adult occupant, child occupant and pedestrian protection.
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