Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4
  • Logical layout and excellent build quality
  • Lacks the premium finish of equivalent Golf
  • Excellent touchscreen standard on SE L and above

Skoda interior quality has come on a lot in recent years, as displayed by the logical, well laid-out cabin of the Octavia.

It’s not as premium as a Golf – the materials used aren’t as expensive-feeling – but there’s no doubting the build quality or functionality. Everything feels tightly screwed together and capable of withstanding the worst of what children and family pets will have to throw at it.

One of the biggest differences to the cabin of the 2017-facelifted model is the multimedia touchscreen. The 8.0-inch Amundsen unit (standard fit on SE Drive models and up) is far more sensitive to inputs than anything previously fitted to a Skoda.

Upgrade to the Columbus system – which is standard in Laurin & Klement models – and you'll get a 9.2-inch touchscreen which is even more impressive, even if the lack of physical buttons is a curious omission.

Elsewhere the seats and driving position are well judged, plus there’s plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel.

The area around the gearlever is a bit of a let-down on automatic models, however. The gearstick itself looks dated and awkward, while the cut-outs showing which gear is engaged aren’t much better.

Sportier vRS models have a plusher feel, boasting full Alcantara faux suede sports seats, ambient lighting and a racy-looking flat-bottomed steering wheel as standard.

Comfort

  • Impressive (but not perfect) all-round ride comfort
  • Struggles over large bumps or badly broken road surfaces
  • Motorway cruising manners are among best in class

The Octavia’s standard suspension certainly favours comfort over sportiness. The upshot of this is a car which displays an impressively refined ride quality for the majority of the time, soaking up uneven country roads and hard-worn motorway surfaces with ease.

It only comes undone when driven over a pothole, or series of major cracks or imperfections in the road. While the best-riding cars will absorb the impacts, the Octavia’s chassis often becomes overwhelmed and sends sharp uncomfortable judders into the cabin – even on the standard 16-inch wheels.

It’s not the end of the world – but does noticeably affect an otherwise impressive ride. You can spec Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) to overcome this.

There’s an acceptable amount of wind noise at speed, especially from the door mirrors, yet it’s well below the threshold for being overly intrusive or annoying.

It helps make the Octavia an impressive motorway cruiser, a point at which both diesel engines feel happiest. They can be a little noisy around town, but settle down nicely once up to speed. The petrols meanwhile remain quiet and refined at all speeds.

The standard cloth seats on S and SE spec are comfortable and reasonably supportive, yet customers may want to upgrade to SE L trim for the improved Alcantara and leather upholstery. The material is far nicer, plus the added side support is useful.

A quick footnote on the vRS 245 – we found the ride quality on adaptive suspension-equipped versions to be unacceptably firm with the heavier DSG automatic gearbox. The manual model was a little bumpy but certainly agreeable, whereas the auto was surprisingly uncomfortable over rough surfaces.

Larger wheels, like the 19-inch alloys you can have fitted to the vRS models, also contribute a fair bit of road noise on the motorway.