What's the used Skoda Octavia hatchback like?
The Octavia is surrounded in the Skoda range by a variety of popular SUVs but it's still the Czech firm's keystone model, and its best-selling one, too. It's not just the public who love it – we've always admired this clever and classy family car for its space, all-round competence and general affordability.
This is the fourth-generation model, and, like the previous versions, it moves the Octavia by gentle degrees upmarket. It's sharper to look at and plusher inside than the third-generation model it replaces, and also more aerodynamic, for greater efficiency. The Octavia has grown larger and more refined, with more technology than ever before, but still majors on being good value compared with its closest rivals.
Trim-wise, you'll find SE, SE Technology and SE L, as well as the sporty vRS. SE gives you 16in alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, auto lights and wipers, heated door mirrors, keyless start and even an umbrella in the door.
SE Technology trim is barely any more expensive than SE trim new, despite gaining voice control, floor mats and more distinctive alloy wheels, plus front parking sensors and an infotainment upgrade. There’s a bit of a price jump to SE L, but you do get plenty of extra luxuries and some useful kit for your money.
On the road, the 2.0 TDI 150 diesel-engined car is an impressive performer, polishing off the 0-62mph dash in a very respectable 8.7sec. The 1.5-litre petrol is similarly quick. The only caveat is that you need to work it a bit harder than you do the diesel. The manual gearbox is precise and the optional dual-clutch automatic delivers impressively swift shifts.
On motorways, the Octavia can waft along on its softly sprung suspension for mile after mile. The consequence of this soft set-up, though, is that it feel a little floaty over crests. Despite the softness of its suspension, it's perfectly capable when it comes to corners. In particular, its steering is precise and has plenty of reassuring weight.
Inside, finding an ideal driving position is easy. SE L models get a powered driver’s seat with a memory function to make getting comfortable even easier. All Octavias have adjustable lumbar support.
Skoda has positioned the infotainment touchscreen high on the dashboard so you don’t have to take your eyes far from the road to see it. In entry-level models, it's an 8.25in screen with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, as well as a DAB radio. Meanwhile, SE Technology and SE L cars feature a 10.0in screen with built-in 3D navigation that’s clear and easy to follow.