Skoda Octavia review


What is?

What is? It’s a turning point for the books, that’s what it is. Yes, the new Skoda Octavia could be a better car than the Volkswagen Golf Mk8 it’s based on.

More on that later. For now, some introductions. This is the fourth generation of modern Octavias and, unsurprisingly, it’s the most complex and technologically advanced to date, with Skoda trying to inject some flair to match the usual look practice.

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The Czech firm has continued the tradition of offering the Octavia as station wagon (read more here) and the kind of hatchback/liftback hatchback we have here, as VW and Seat get away with it. for the Golf and Leon. The liftback has always allowed Skoda to score those all-important practical points, and there’s no change on that front here. The boot of the new Octavia is actually 10 liters larger than before, at 600 litres, which is 120 liters more than that of the new Golf.

But this time around, the Octavia hatch (Skoda still refers to it as such) is much more swoopy and interesting to look at, too. You’ll no doubt have your own take on this slightly aggressive front end from Audi-lite, but while the Golf’s styling may have regressed with its new generation, the Octavia looks better than its predecessor. It’s also bigger on the outside: 19mm longer and 15mm wider to be precise.

Now that “first editions” are on sale (you might still be able to pick one from stock), there are only three trim levels to choose from: SE, SE L, and vRS. The latter is different enough to warrant its own critique, which hides behind those blue words.

There are also no real shock absorbers at the front of the drivetrain, although there are plenty of possible combinations to get by. There you have it: in the UK, petrol engines include a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder with a 6-speed manual gearbox and 109bhp, as well as a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with the same gearbox and 148bhp. CV. Both can also be had with 7-speed DSG, although they are branded as e-TEC mild hybrids thanks to an additional 48-volt system.

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The diesel is a 2.0-litre TDI that comes in 113hp and 148hp and can be paired with a manual or DSG gearbox. There’s also a plug-in hybrid, badged Octavia iV, which combines a 1.4-litre petrol engine with an electric motor for a total output of 201bhp and an all-electric range of around 37 miles.

The aforementioned vRS is available with petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid options. Oh, and in other parts of the world there is an Octavia G-TEC that runs on compressed natural gas. Don’t expect to see this in the UK anytime soon though.

Our choice of the range.

1.5 TSI SE L 5 doors

What’s the verdict?

Skoda may have reversed the situation. I would now recommend an Octavia over a VW Golf or Seat Leon

As we mentioned earlier, the Octavia is now almost certainly the car I’d recommend over the Golf and Leon. Crikey, who saw this coming?

Along with our more sensible caps, it’s easily the most practical of the three, has the least boring interior, and is designed to provide a comfortable (if slightly forgettable) driving experience. Some of the materials can be a bit rougher than on the Golf and this 2.0-litre TDI is certainly a bit noisier, but it’s also the most interesting hatch and it doesn’t just look like a cut-and-paste job from the Volkswagen group. Without a doubt, a turning point for the books.

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