Used test: Peugeot 308 vs Skoda Octavia vs Volkswagen Golf

These three family hatchbacks all offer great value for money when bought at a couple of years old, but which one fulfils the brief best? We have the answer...

Skoda Octavia

Our verdict

The good news is of course that the 308 is the cheapest car to buy here, and excellent value for a two-year-old car. Unfortunately, nervous handling, an unsettled ride and decidedly cramped rear seats all count against it. If you add in its potentially heavy future depreciation, it finishes well behind.

In contrast, even this Mk7 Golf is still a five-star car. It’s the most agile and has the comfiest ride, too. That it’s also the quietest and has the highest-quality interior makes it a hugely compelling buy at this age.

But all things considered, the Octavia has to be our winner. It’s fractionally behind the Golf on ride, handling and interior quality, yes, but it has a punchier engine, the most standard kit and unrivalled space and practicality in this class. Yes, there’s an all-new one imminent, but this version is still a terrific family car and bought at this age it’s a great buy, too. 

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1st – Skoda Octavia 1.5 TSI 150 SE L

Skoda Octavia rear - 67-plate car

For Limo-like rear seat space; lots of standard equipment; colossal boot
Against Suspension noise; ride isn’t as comfy as the Golf’s

What Car? rating 5 out of 5 stars

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2nd – Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI Evo 130 SE Navigation

Volkswagen Golf rear - 67-plate car

For Classiest interior; most comfortable ride; assured handling
Against Not as well-equipped as the Octavia; not nearly as roomy either

What Car? rating 5 out of 5 stars

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3rd – Peugeot 308 1.2 THP 130 Allure

Peugeot 308 rear - 17-plate car

For Cheapest to buy here; decent boot
Against Brittle ride; fiddly infotainment system; automatic emergency braking wasn't standard

What Car? rating 3 out of 5 stars

Read our full used Peugeot 308 review

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Specifications: Peugeot 308 1.2 THP 130 Allure

  • Engine size - 1.2-litre petrol
  • Power - 129bhp
  • Torque - 125lb ft
  • 0-60mph - 9.7sec
  • Top speed - 129mph
  • Fuel economy - 61.4mpg (Official average)
  • CO2 emissions - 107g/km

Specifications: Skoda Octavia 1.5 TSI 150 SE L

  • Engine size - 1.5-litre petrol
  • Power - 148bhp
  • Torque - 184lb ft
  • 0-60mph - 8.6sec
  • Top speed - 136mph
  • Fuel economy - 40.2mpg (Official average)
  • CO2 emissions - 114g/km

Specifications: Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI Evo 130 SE Navigation

  • Engine size - 1.5-litre petrol
  • Power - 128bhp
  • Torque - 148lb ft
  • 0-60mph - 9.7sec
  • Top speed - 131mph
  • Fuel economy - 38.3mpg (Official average)
  • CO2 emissions - 113g/km