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New Skoda Octavia & Volkswagen Golf vs Peugeot 308

The Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf family hatchbacks have just been updated with more efficient petrol engines. Let’s see how they stack up against the frugal Peugeot 308

Words ByWhat Car? team

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Peugeot 308 rear seats

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

Space and practicality are the Octavia’s fortes; it frankly destroys the Golf and 308 here. Its rivals come closest to matching it in their front seats – a couple of tall adults will enjoy good head and leg room in all three cars – but the Octavia still offers the most.

In the rear, there really is no contest. The Octavia has by far the most leg room and marginally the most head room, too, allowing another pair of tall adults to stretch out behind similar-sized people in front. The Golf isn’t far behind on rear head room and actually offers decent rear leg room by wider class standards, but it still seems stingy next to the Octavia. Trailing in third place is the 308, which not only looks comparatively cramped in the back but feels it, too. In fact, it has less knee room than many cars from the class below.

The main reason for the 308’s tight rear quarters is that space has been given over to its generous-sized boot, which is larger than the Golf’s and a consistent square shape inside. Still, the Octavia’s boot easily outguns both its rivals’ for space and access. Indeed, in our carry-on suitcase test, it swallowed a staggering 11 cases – more than many large SUVs – versus the six we managed to squeeze in the 308 and the five that fitted in the Golf.

However, it’s worth pointing out that while all three cars get 60/40 split-folding rear seats as standard, only the Golf gets a standard height-adjustable boot floor. This means it’s the only car that has a near-fl at extended load bay from the boot entrance right through to the front seatbacks when the rear seats are folded down.

Peugeot 308

There’s more than enough room for a couple of tall adults in the front seats, but rear space is tight, having been traded for a generous boot. And even then it’s small compared with the Octavia’s.

Boot 470-1309 litres Suitcases 6

Skoda Octavia

The Octavia is simply huge in every area. Front and rear space are class-leading, while its boot can take 11 carry-on suitcases; that’s more than we could cram into the Audi Q7 luxury SUV.

Boot 590-1580 litres Suitcases 11

Volkswagen Golf

The Golf’s boot is beaten on size, but it is at least a practical shape. Rear seat space is better than the 308’s but can’t match the Octavia’s, while a couple of tall adults can stretch out in the front.

Boot 380-1270 litres Suitcases 5

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