Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
The Octavia is very competitively priced against its rivals, and looks like good value when you consider how much bigger it is by comparison. Don’t discount the entry-level petrol engine; it’s surprisingly cheap for this class and is well suited to low-mileage drivers. Resale values, while not as good as those of a Volkswagen Golf, Kia Ceed or Audi A3, are still decent by class standards and will better or match those of rivals such as the Ford Focus. PCP finance deals and leasing costs are competitive, if not class-leading.
The whole range delivers extremely competitive fuel economy. The 1.6 TDI 115 diesel is the one to go for if you really want to eke your fuel out, while the 1.0 TSI petrol managed an excellent 46.0mpg in our real-world tests. For something with a bit more zip without a massive thirst, the 1.5 TSI 150 petrol is our top tip. It returns 38.3mpg in the real world and its company car tax bracket is low.
For speed demons, the vRS models are great-value performance models, if not the most thrilling hot hatches around.
Equipment, options and extras
The Octavia is available in S, SE, SE L, SE Drive, Sportline and Laurin & Klement trims. Hot hatch models are badged vRS, with a pumped-up vRS Challenge spec available, too. All versions come with air conditioning, alloy wheels and the excellent infotainment system we detailed in the earlier section. There are a few key options you can’t add to S trim, though, so it’s worth stepping up to SE.
SE is our favourite trim level for value. It adds rear parking sensors, a multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, plus Skoda’s drive mode select with eco, comfort, sport and custom modes. Despite having all this, it remains competitively priced
SE Drive trim is also worth considering as it includes sat-nav and online services, plus some nice additional extras, including a front armrest and height adjustment and lumbar support added to the front passenger seat. There’s also the thoughtful touch of an umbrella under the passenger seat – just like you'd find in a Rolls Royce.
The one to go for if you’re a company car user is SE L. It includes Infotainment Online connectivity with a wi-fi hotspot, privacy glass, an auto-dimming rear mirror, plus front and rear parking sensors and adaptive cruise control.
There’s also Sportline trim, which adds bigger wheels, sports seats and lots of black trim, such as door mirror housing and roof lining. It also gives you steering-wheel paddles if you opt for the automatic gearbox. It doesn’t cost a great deal more than SE L, so if you want some extra sporty feel, it could be a good shout; otherwise, stick to the lower trims. As for the top-spec Laurin & Klement, which adds a bigger infotainment screen, heated steering wheel and premium sound system; it’s only available with the larger engines and, as such, looks rather expensive.
The Octavia’s standard three-year, 60,000-mile manufacturer’s warranty is pretty average these days, especially when Kia offers seven years or 100,000 miles on its equivalent Ceed model. You can pay to extend the Octavia’s warranty for up to five years and 100,000 miles, and fixed-cost servicing is available to cover the first three years.
Skoda as a brand does well for reliability, though, appearing in seventh place out of 31 manufacturers examined in the 2018 What Car? Reliability Survey. That result places it above Volkswagen and Seat, as well as premium brands that include Mercedes and Porsche. The Octavia itself also did well, finishing fourth in the family car class.
Safety and security
The Octavia received the full five-star crash test rating from Euro NCAP back in 2013, although there are rivals that scored higher marks in the individual sections of the test.
All versions have seven airbags as standard and rear-side airbags are available as an optional extra. Other standard safety features include stability control, hill hold assist, tyre pressure monitoring (which can alert you to a slow puncture) and a system that automatically brakes the car in the immediate aftermath of a collision to avoid a second impact.
Disappointingly, only SE L and Laurin & Klement models offer automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian protection (referred to by Skoda as front assist) as standard. This important feature is standard on a number of competitors and should really be across the Octavia range, but at least it isn't an expensive option.
Blindspot detection, lane-keeping assistance and rear cross-traffic assist, which automatically stops the car if you’re about to reverse into the path of traffic crossing behind you, are also available as options. An alarm and engine immobiliser are fitted to every model and security experts Thatcham Research has rated it highly for its resistance to theft and break-in.
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