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Skoda Octavia Review

Find out more about the Skoda Octavia in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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8
Out of 10
Average Price £12,155
Model Review

Named after a classic model produced between 1959 and 1971, the Octavia returned to the Skoda range in 1996 and has since become the brand’s best-selling model.

Introduced to UK roads in 1998, the Octavia was pitted against established rivals such as the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall’s Vectra, and even though it could be said the first generation models were on par, they didn’t gain the same level of success or recognition. It was introduced with a hatchback, estate and vRS models.

The model was updated in 2004 and in keeping with the first model, it was larger and cheaper than most hatchback rivals and was more in line with saloons in terms of size and practicality. Although it may not have been as attractive as its competitors, it offered plenty of options, including the Scout model, which was a smaller estate model.

Its third generation was brought to market in 2013 and although the practicality and efficiency remained, the price was hiked up slightly so Skoda could take advantage of the model’s popularity and quality. The model was facelifted in 2017 and continued the quality for value feel that made the Octavia a market hit.

Latest Model

Updated at the start of 2017, the Octavia may not be the conventionally shaped hatchback but because of that it makes the most of its 4670mm length and is very spacious. Fitted with a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines that all comply with European regulation, meaning it can be – pound for pound – one of the best cars on the market.

Fitted with safety systems, such as park assist, lane assist and light assist, the Octavia offers some good tech, and alongside a five-star Euro NCAP rating, it can be a great option in terms of safety for all markets.

Style-wise, Skodas may not be the most stand out options and because of that their quality can go unnoticed. The thing is, they aren’t ugly to look at, they are just a bit plain in regular spec, although in vRS trim, the Octavia is lower and more dynamic to look at meaning if style, performance and value for money are your thing, the Octavia vRS or vRS estate could be the car for you.

Value for money

Starting from £17,085, the base Octavia S comes with plenty of tech and features to perform at a good level for many people. Coming as standard with a touchscreen infotainment system, electric front windows, daytime running lights and start/stop technology, there is plenty of equipment from the standard price. Coming with a 1.0-litre petrol and manual gearbox, the Octavia has increased in price since the last generation, but the kit as standard justifies the price tag. However, top spec pre-facelift vRS options from the same generation are available for a similar price if you look for them.

Coming with a 1.0-litre petrol and manual gearbox, the Octavia has increased in price since the last generation, but the kit as standard justifies the price tag. However, top spec pre-facelift vRS options from the same generation are available for a similar price if you look for them.

A 2014 estate version of Octavia vRS is available for £16,999 and fitted with a 2.0-litre 181bhp diesel engine, it can get from 0-60mph in 7.9 seconds and on to a top speed 143mph. As the top spec, it comes with half leather sports seats, a multi-functional leather steering, cruise control, touchscreen infotainment system and adaptive headlights, as well as a powered tailgate – which lifts automatically thanks to a foot-activated sensor in the rear bumper – and park assist. As well as having only 18,000 miles on the clock, high quality used examples of the Octavia vRS are available at good prices.

As well as having only 18,000 miles on the clock, high quality used examples of the Octavia vRS are available at good prices.

Looks and image

Where the Octavia is let down is how it looks and how it drives, although it can’t be faulted on how comfortable it is. On the outside, similarly sized vehicles such as the latest Ford Mondeo, Honda’s striking new Civic and the Audi A3 are much more attractive and interesting to look at, and this means that the Octavia could be marked down in people’s estimations. If we’re being complimentary, the looks are understated, but more likely than not it will get lost in the crowd.

To drive, it isn’t the most distinguished in the sector but that doesn’t mean it is bad. Other options such as the VW Golf and the Ford Focus will provide a better all-round driving feel that will bring customers in, but in terms of long distance cruising, the Octavia can match the class-leading models.It is far from uncomfortable, but at slower

It is far from uncomfortable, but at slower speeds it can feel unrefined as bumps and potholes can travel through the car and can diminish the overall feel. The estate’s multilink suspension set up with the four-wheel drive option improves the overall ride and can make it much more comfortable in all areas.

Thanks to Skoda’s VW Group ownership, it can boast one of the best interiors in its price bracket. Although design-wise it may not be the most riveting to look at, it is well-built, cleverly thought out and offers plenty of great tech options from the base trim line.The further up the trim range you go, interior feel improves and you also gain more quality features that ensure it is one of the better models to buy in the sector.

The further up the trim range you go, interior feel improves and you also gain more quality features that ensure it is one of the better models to buy in the sector.

Space and practicality

The Octavia’s stand-out feature is its capacious interior and rather impressive storage space. Crammed into the 4.7m body, you get 590 litres of boot space in hatch form, with an extra 20 litres with the estate type. With the seats down both can boast over 1000 litres extra storage, which is difficult to ignore.In the rear passenger section, space doesn’t come at a premium and although the middle passenger will have to cope with the central tunnel,

In the rear passenger section, space doesn’t come at a premium and although the middle passenger will have to cope with the central tunnel, the Octavia’s rear layout is the most spacious in its class.The front section of the cabin is great for space too, and with plenty of great cubby holes and an optional cooled central bin, the ‘Simply Clever’ mentality shines through.

The front section of the cabin is great for space too, and with plenty of great cubby holes and an optional cooled central bin, the ‘Simply Clever’ mentality shines through.

Thanks to its class-leading interior space, families will love the Octavia. Although the smaller yet frankly more highly regarded Ford Focus will attract more people due to its lower price point, it is worth looking at the Octavia because it is safe, well-built and is very adaptable for all comers.

With a five-star rating from Euro NCAP, it is difficult to argue against the Octavia’s safety prowess. With useful yet expensive safety options available, such as adaptive cruise control and blind spot recognition, they can be paired with the standard tiredness recognition and seven airbags. Other options, such as rear view parking camera, intelligent light assist and lane assist, are standard on

Other options, such as rear view parking camera, intelligent light assist and lane assist, are standard on top spec models and are available on most other trims.

Engines

To ensure plenty of options, Skoda provide three petrol and three diesel engine options to cater for different wants and needs. With the petrol ranging from 113bhp to 217bhp for the vRS model, they provide the smoothest and most refined drive in the range. Although the top spec vRS returns around 44mpg at best for both body types, the 1.0-litre 113bhp petrol can offer north of 60mpg with both manual and automatic gearboxes.

Although they grumble more and noises can transfer into the cockpit on a more regular basis, the diesel options are best for people going on longer journeys more often. The base level 109bhp 1.6-litre TDI can return 76mpg with the automatic DSG box, but the most impressive is the same engine with GreenLine III technology, as that can offer 80mpg – an impressive figure for a hatchback or estate model.

Running costs

Due to its superb economy, the Octavia is relatively cheap to run and own. Visits to the pump will be further and far between when compared to some of its rivals, especially with the GreenLine model, which includes fuel saving technologies to help you go further – such as low rolling resistance tyres and an extra gear ratio in its DSG automatic gearbox.

For road tax, the Octavia can range from none at all with the least powerful diesel options up to a dizzying £145 for the most powerful petrol option in the vRS. Models fitted with the 1.2-litre petrol and 1.6 TDI diesel are classed in insurance group 14, with most models classed between group 15 and 20.

Due to their added performance and increased emissions level, the vRS models are in group 26 for the diesel model and group 29 for the petrol variant.

Things to look out for

Since its appearance on the market in 2013, the latest generation Octavia is yet to suffer from a major problem and as it is going into its fourth year on sale that is mightily impressive. This is mainly due to its alignment with the VW Group and that has helped to massively improve the brand’s reliability. The first generation was the most culpable to faults, but even then the recalls were more precautionary rather than for a serious issue. As is normal it is best to check a used model’s history for the complete insight on the vehicle.

Rivals

Due to its hatchback classification, the main rivals for the Octavia will be the sector’s heavyweights – VW’s Golf and the Ford Focus. But in terms of size, it can take on some of the smaller saloon models, such as the Ford Mondeo and the Mazda 6. The Octavia doesn’t on the larger Superb’s target market, but is a good stepping stone to its bigger brother. The new Civic from Honda, the Mercedes A-Class and the Vauxhall Astra are also competent challengers to the Octavia.

Depreciation warning

The hatchback market isn’t the best market in terms of depreciation, so don’t expect the Octavia to hold its value particularly well over the first three years from new. However, due to the model’s better build quality and finish than most of its hatchback rivals, it will be easier to sell at around 45 per cent of its original value. Best performing models are diesel versions and mid-range trim models, although models in a good condition will do best whatever the trim.

Which Octavia to Pick

Trims Explained

After having seven trims during the first part of the current model’s lifespan, Skoda cut down to five following the facelift, and with an impressive level of standard equipment any level should offer a pleasing experience.

S

Even from the base ‘S’ spec, Skoda fits a touchscreen infotainment system, in this case the Bolero setup and it offers the basic features needed for your drive and entertainment. Also fitted the stop/start engine function, manual air conditioning, a cooled glovebox and tinted glass.

A leather steering wheel, Bluetooth and AUX/USB inputs are also fitted, meaning that for the £17,085 starting price, Skoda provides plenty of good kit at a good starting price.

SE

The step up to SE trim is over £1,000, but for that money you get features probably worth more than that fitted. Rear parking sensors, driving mode selection, dual-zone climate control with humidity sensor, front armrest with storage box and driver fatigue sensor are all added to the Octavia, which makes the step up very much worth it.

Although it still comes with cloth trim, the £18,435 starting price is very competitive for what is on offer.

GreenLine III

The small off-shoot of SE is the GreenLine III trim, which adds optimised rolling resistance tyres and energy recovery system to ensure the best fuel efficiency statistics are attained.

This model starts at £20,925.

SE Sport

For added dynamic features, SE Sport trim provides the upgraded Amundsen infotainment system with Wi-Fi hotspot capability, as well as LED rear lights, cruise control and a three-spoke multifunctional sports steering wheel. Sports upholstery also adorns the interior, with the SE Sport starting at £20,415. SE L trim is an alternative to SE Sport, and it adds more premium features such as leather and alcantara seat trim, electrically folding door mirrors and front assist.

This levels starts from £21,165.

Scout

Also on offer is the Scout off-road orientated model, which adds more rugged plastics to the exterior and an off-roading mode for a more adventurous model. It is also given more ground clearance and easier access to the front and rear seats.

This model starts from £26,130, as it also comes with four-wheel drive.

vRS

The vRS model is considered as the top spec due to its improved performance capabilities, and with sports suspension, the top level diesel and petrol engines that comes with either manual or DSG automatic gearboxes and vRS-specific bodywork additions. Including many of the aforementioned safety systems, this is quite an expensive option, but due to its reliability and added performance, it is a model to consider against its similarly powered and priced rivals.

What to look out for

  1. Good reliability almost guaranteed
  2. One of the largest interiors in its class
  3. Can depreciate quickly but performs better than its rivals on the used market
  4. Cheap to run through most engines
  5. Great safety record throughout the history
  6. Not the most exciting to look at
  7. Can be bettered on its driver engagement
  8. Perfectly comfortable on long drives
  9. Diesel engines can be noisy
  10. Good levels of tech features

Review Rating

"Hot on the heels of the hatchback version comes the Skoda Octavia Estate, offering cavernous space for both people and luggage, low running costs and very competitive pricing.... Read More"