Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3

Should you buy one?

Yes, it’s a highly recommended choice. Based on our experience of several versions, Skoda has produced a very capable, likeable family hatchback with very little worth criticising. Tech and spec are now on the pace with the best of the rest, while its efficiency is highly impressive. Comfort, interior room and refinement are also very impressive.

If anything, the interior has made a bigger step forward than the sharp-looking exterior with its latest update, and the quality and usability are ever so slightly ahead of the Volkswagen Golf. This news should no doubt be a bit of a shock for anyone with any lingering doubts about Skoda’s car-building prowess these days.

If you don’t mind driving a larger car for your money, it’s a nicer vehicle to live with than the Ford Focus, and it just about outdrives the Kia Ceed and Hyundai i30, as long as you’re not after the last word in driver precision. It’s not perfect, though: the front centre air vents are located too low to feel effective and some of the dash buttons are cheap. We’re nitpicking, yes, but that’s a measure of how good the rest of this car is. Right now, we’d put this on a level pegging with the Volkswagen Golf for overall ability.

Which model should you choose?

There are so many varieties of Skoda Octavia, you might be overwhelmed by choice – the good news is that they divide quite logically. If you’re a long-distance driver, the 2.0 TDI in 150hp form looks hard to beat. With 60mpg+ within the reach of most drivers, a 600-700-mile range looks a very tempting way of avoiding visits to the refuelling station.

For those on less than 15,000 miles a year, the news is good, too. The 110hp e-Tec hybrid has impressed us. Its overall refinement is brilliant for a car that occupies such a lowly position in the range, and has all of comfort and refinement of the rest of the range, but at a price barely above £20,000.

The sporty vRS is a good all-rounder, especially when specced with the optional Dynamic Chassis Control. The adaptive damping offers long distance comfort in one drive mode, before firming up for better body control in Sport when you want a bit more fun. It’s not the most exciting out of the performance hatches, but that is beside the point with the Skoda, being a grown up and effortless way to get from point-to-point.

What we like

Aside from the ample interior room, the Octavia offers excellent long-distance cruising ability, even if there’s a little more wind and road noise than you get in the Golf. It’s also worth noting that the suspension is more biased towards ride compliance than handling accuracy – which isn’t necessarily that easy to find these days. We’re confident to say that if you choose the Skoda over the Golf, you’re not going to be wanting for anything.

What we don’t like

There’s very little not to like – the infotainment system can be laggy, and its over-reliance on touch controls annoys us, taking the shine off what is pretty much the perfect family cars.

Further reading