What will they cost?
Skoda pitches its Octavia above the Astra on list price, but once dealer discounts are taken into account the reverse is true with the Octavia costing cash buyers £245 less. However, the Astra is nearly £300 cheaper to run over three years. Not only is it predicted to be worth more if you sell it after three years, but our True MPG tests also found it uses slightly less fuel in real-world driving, it costs less to insure and road tax is free. Only servicing is pricier on the Astra, costing nearly £200 more over three years.
Those buying on a personal contract purchase (PCP) scheme will find Skoda’s finance deals more competitive, though. Taking out a three-year deal, limited to 10,000 miles a year and with a £3000 deposit, costs £181 per month. On the same terms, the Astra costs £70 more each month. This difference is mainly due to Skoda contributing £1000 towards your deposit.
The bulk of sales of these cars will be to private buyers, but their low list prices, and the fact that business users don’t have to pay the 3% diesel benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax surcharge, makes them both attractive company cars, too. Here, the Astra makes more sense because its 99g/km CO2 emissions and slightly lower P11D price mean it costs around £300 less for a 40% taxpayer to run through work over three years.
Both cars come with manual air conditioning, electric and heated door mirrors, electric front windows, a DAB radio, USB socket, Bluetooth and one free paint colour – blue. The Astra wins the equipment race, though, by throwing in standard electric rear windows, LED daytime running lights and cruise control.
However, the Octavia has a more comprehensive list of safety and security equipment, despite both cars achieving five-star crash test ratings with Euro NCAP. Both come with an engine immobiliser and a tyre pressure monitor, but the Octavia has one more airbag (seven vs six) and offers the chance to add two more in the rear for £285.
Only Vauxhall offers the chance to add automatic emergency braking, but the absence of a standard-fit alarm means that security firm Thatcham rates the Astra poorer than the Octavia for resisting thieves.
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