4.3 out of 5 4.3
Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3

Stylish and pragmatic Skoda is the best pound for pound family car

Skoda Octavia Hatchback Review Video
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At a glance

New price £21,700 - £36,720
Lease from new From £265 p/m View lease deals
Used price £15,100 - £32,265
Used monthly cost From £377 per month
Fuel Economy 40.4 - 282.5 mpg
Road tax cost £145 - £155
Insurance group 12 - 25 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Roomy passenger compartment and massive boot
  • Very wide range of models and prices
  • Smooth ride and good refinement
  • Excellent fuel consumption from diesel

CONS

  • Prices have crept up, so it's no longer cheap
  • Hybrid isn't at its best on long journeys
  • It's a little bit anonymous in an image-conscious market
  • Keen drivers might want less bodyroll

Skoda Octavia Hatchback rivals

Written by Murray Scullion on

The fourth-generation Skoda Octavia boasts cutting-edge tech and a sharper new style, while delivering loads of passenger room and practicality for a competitive price – just like its predecessors. It's a good-looking car that will have many people assuming it's a premium model when they first see it in the metal – a result Skoda won't be unhappy with.

Fittingly, Skoda's VW Golf alternative shares much of the Volkswagen's technology under the skin – and despite its familiar-looking proportions and overall look and feel, this one is a huge leap forward. As before, it feels like the Octavia has its own bit of family car market to itself – there's little to touch it that offers the same level of interior space and practicality for the money.

The thing is, it might be roomy, but is it as clever and as capable as Skoda would have us believe? To be worthy of your money, it's going to have to be a very good all-rounder, and not just brilliant at one thing – and with rivals that include the aforementioned Volkswagen Golf, the Parkers award-winning Ford Focus or its excellent sister car, the SEAT Leon, as well as the excellent Kia Ceed/Hyundai i30 cousins, it's a big ask.

What's it like inside?

Well, let's just say that it's much more modern and touchy-feely inside than the last-generation of Octavia. Although that car had a touchscreen, this one is much more prominent, and takes over a number of the functions previously reserved for physical buttons. We're not sure it's a good move, as prodding a touchscreen while driving isn't as intuitive as pushing a button or twisting a knob.

It's also a more luxurious place than the Octavia of old. Now, the entry-level car is called the SE and its 10.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system offers full smartphone connectivity. There are chrome details in the cabin which really lift it as well, giving it a more premium aura inside than any Octavia before – that goes some way to justifying the near-Golf pricing structure.

As you'd expect from a Skoda Octavia, it's roomy for your money, and offers similar accommodation for passengers and their luggage as cars from higher market sectors, such as the Vauxhall Insignia and Ford Mondeo.

What models are available?

There really is an Octavia for everyone. Of the standard models, there are three trim levels and no less than eight engines on offer, as well as the hatchback and estate bodystyles.

The range starts with the SE, then there's SE Technology and SE L. Standard equipment levels are generous. SE Technology cars get sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors and that option of a plug-in hybrid.

SE L models get electrically-adjustable seats and LED ambient lighting on the inside. The larger Columbus infotainment system is standard, and comes with voice control and online services. This car also ups the safety tech with blindspot protection and adaptive cruise control that can bring the vehicle down to a complete stop. After that, you're into vRS territory.

Octavia vRS: available in three versions

Want a fast Octavia? The vRS range continues to offer a petrol, diesel and four-wheel drive option – except this time, there's a plug-in hybrid version as well. The engine range starts with the 200hp diesel, which is available in front- and four-wheel drive forms, as well as a plug-in hybrid and petrol – both of which develop 245hp.

Those familiar with the previous version will instantly recognise the subtle bodykit and front sports seats, while the grown-up and well-rounded driving experience we've grown to admire continues to be the order of the day.

So, the Octavia is looking good for drivers who want the latest Volkswagen Group tech to accompany their roomy family car choice. But is this combination of tech and space enough to compensate for the upward move in prices – is it still the most rational family car for your money?

Click through these pages to read everything you need to know about the Skoda Octavia including its practicality, how much it costs to run, what all the different engines are like - and if they're good to live with and whether we'd recommend buying one.

Skoda Octavia Hatchback rivals

Other Skoda Octavia models: