What's the used Skoda Octavia hatchback like?
The is Skoda Octavia is the brand's best-selling model worldwide. With great popularity comes great responsibility, of course, so when this third-generation model was introduced in 2013, its push slightly upmarket was seen as a bit of a gamble.
It soon paid off, though, with healthy sales and a rapid rise in the Octavia's reputation as a sensible, practical family hatchback that can hold its own against premium rivals such as the Audi A3 and VW Golf. Indeed it was so successful it lasted right the way through – with the help of one facelift in 2017 – until 2020 when it was replaced by a larger and all-new fourth-generation version.
Engines & Performance: The Octavia features a range of familiar Volkswagen Group engines. These include a 113bhp 1.0-litre petrol, a 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol (later replaced with a 1.5-litre), a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel. More explosive Skoda Octavia vRS versions are also available, in either petrol or diesel form.
All of the engine options deliver adequate performance and are capable of 0-62mph in less than 10 seconds, although the larger units are more flexible and better-suited to motorway cruising and cross-country driving.
That aforementioned facelift in 2017 brought a more distinctive nose with quad headlights, though there were few other design changes. More equipment was added to each model, though, while the 1.2-litre and 1.4-litre petrol turbos were replaced by 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre engines respectively.
Ride & Handling: The Octavia's ride isn't quite as smooth as that of the Golf, but it's still very comfortable, and heaps better than many rivals'.
And while it's no sports car, it nevertheless handles very tidily; responsive steering and well set-up suspension mean the Octavia changes direction fast and always feels composed, and there's more than enough grip on offer too.
Interior & Practicality: The interior falls short of being truly premium (perhaps unsurprisingly, given it doesn't bare a truly premium badge), but it's a step above most mainstream rivals, such as the Seat Leon. There are plenty of soft-touch materials and the switchgear feels relatively classy.
While the Octavia shares a platform with its Volkswagen Group siblings, it has been lengthened to provide superior interior and boot space. Indeed, there’s very little to touch it in the space and practicality department; there’s plenty of head and leg room inside and a huge boot that offers more than enough luggage room for a family.
Trims & Equipment: There’s a choice of models, too, ranging from the entry-level S up to the posh Laurin & Klement, which comes kitted up to the hilt. In between, you'll find SE, SE Technology and SE L are the most popular versions; the former gets dual-zone climate control and front fog lights as standard, while SE Technology adds an upgraded touchscreen sat nav and, in later cars, automatic emergency braking. SE L, meanwhile, adds snazzier Alcantara seat trim and privacy glass.
What used Skoda Octavia hatchback will I get for my budget?
You can buy a used Skoda Octavia for around £2500 if you don't mind astronomical mileage and/or previous damage. However, we recommend a budget of around £7000 to start off with, that way you'll have a choice of a few respectable examples. It'll likely be 2013/2014 model is S trim.
Later models, from the 2017 facelift up until 2020, go for around £8000 to £12,000, depending on your desired specification.
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How much does it cost to run a Skoda Octavia hatchback?
MPG: The diesel-engined cars are, unsurprisingly, the most economical – but not by as huge a margin as you might think. Having said that, the 1.6 TDI engine helps the Octavia achieve a combined fuel consumption of 68.9mpg, under the old NEDC tests, or 57.7mpg under the newer, tougher WLTP tests, while the 2.0 TDI 150, which is one of our favourite engines, achieves 65.7mpg, or 56.5mpg under the WLTP.
The 1.0 TSI 115 three-cylinder petrol engine is a more recent addition to the range, but this sprightly performer can returns a combined 58.9mpg under the NEDC, and 52.3mpg under the WLTP. The 1.4 TSI 150 petrol engine can return a figure of 54.3mpg, while the latest 1.5-litre engined Octavia averages 57.7mpg, or 51.4mpg under the WLTP tests.
CO2 emissions: Not all engines were available before the April 2017 tax changes, so we're concentrating on the ones that are here. The 1.6 TDI has the lowest figure of 99g/km, while our preferred 2.0 TDI puts out 117g/km. The best petrol is the 1.0 with 104g/km. Pay attention to which 1.4 petrol you have because the 148bhp version has lower emissions (118g/km) compared with the 138bhp model (121g/km).
The slow-selling 1.2 and 1.8 petrols put out 114g/km and 141g/km, respectively.
Road Tax: Annual car tax (VED) is based upon CO2 emissions for cars registered before April 2017, and is charged at a flat rate for cars registered after that date (until April 2022). This is currently £180 per year.
Servicing: Servicing is cheaper than many rivals and Skoda has a fixed price scheme for cars over three years old where an oil change is £184, along with periodic intervals for the air filter (£45), pollen filter (£35) and - where equipped - diesel fuel filter (£59).
It’s worth noting that all diesel Octavias and most petrols have a timing belt that needs to be replaced every five years at a Skoda dealer at a cost of £449. In addition, it makes sense to replace the water pump at the same time.
Insurance: Insurance costs are slightly cheaper than an equivalent Volkswagen due to Skoda’s cheaper repair costs.
Which used Skoda Octavia hatchback should I buy?
If you can stretch to one of the newer, 1.0-litre or 1.5-litre engined cars, we reckon these are the best balance of punch and fuel economy. However, they're still rare and relatively pricey, so for most budgets, the older 1.2-litre and 1.4-litre engines will do just fine. The latter is our favourite, as it was far more popular when new and so is now easier to find on the used market; what's more, it offers a great balance of efficiency, performance and smoothness. If you do enough miles to require the fuel efficiency of a diesel, the 2.0 is the one to have, as it's smoother and punchier than the 1.6.
Almost any version of the Octavia will be satisfying to own, but we like the SE best of all. Mind you, if you're flush with cash and buying a later model, an upgrade to the SE Technology version isn't such a bad idea.
Our favourite Skoda Octavia 1.5 TSI 150 SE
What alternatives should I consider to a used Skoda Octavia hatchback?
Cheaper Octavias find themselves up against the Vauxhall Astra, a ubiquitous but pleasant hatch that’s good to drive and comes with a practical interior. Entry-level versions can be a bit sparse and the diesel engines can be gruff. On top of that, the low-speed ride is a little firm.
The Ford Focus is great to drive, with a smooth and quiet Ecoboost engine in some versions and low running costs. Some of its rivals are cheaper to buy, however, and the Octavia offers more space and more kit, and also feels better-made.
The VW Golf shares its underpinnings with the Octavia, despite being a shorter and less capacious car. It’s brilliant to drive, well equipped, refined and comparatively cheap to run. On the other hand, it’s not as roomy inside as the Octavia and the interior is a little dreary.
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If you'd like to buy a used Skoda Octavia, or any of the other cars mentioned here, check out our Used Cars For Sale pages