What are they like inside?
If space is a priority, the Octavia is the better bet. While both cars are impressively roomy in the front (the Leon offers slightly more leg room, although you’d have to be unusually tall to feel cramped in the Octavia), the Octavia has more rear leg and elbow room.
That’s not to say the Leon is short on space. Two six-footers will be comfortable in the back of either car and the standard central armrest is a welcome touch, too. Carrying five people is possible in both, although the middle rear passenger is forced to straddle a tunnel running along the centre of the floor and would have to put up with a hard seat base.
While the Octavia has the bigger boot– it’s deeper and the more upright rear screen eats up less of the load area – the Leon’s is in some ways more useful. Both cars get levers in the walls of the boot area that drop the 60/40 split seats, but in the Octavia you’re left with an annoying step in the floor of the extended load area. The Leon’s variable-height boot floor leaves a flat load bay. You also get recessed storage cubbies around the wheel arches in the Leon, whereas the Octavia makes do with a few elastic straps.
Up front, both cars have a sensible dashboard layout with mostly high-quality materials and straightforward switches and controls. Skoda’s use of gloss plastics and its more streamlined air vent design make the Octavia's interior look and feel a fraction more upmarket, but neither car's interior feels remotely cheap.
Both have similarly simple to use infotainment systems, with logical menus accessed via a touchscreen. However, while the Leon’s screen is more conveniently positioned, being higher up the dash, it’s smaller (5.0in vs 5.8in) and has frustratingly small icons that are sometimes placed right at the edge of the screen, making them tricky to hit accurately on the move.
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