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Skoda Octavia Review

9 / 10
5 February 2024
Skoda Octavia driving

The Skoda Octavia is a brilliant all-rounder – it’s immensely practical, well equipped and inexpensive to run.

It’s one of those cars that will slot into your lifestyle perfectly, so long as you don’t want an SUV and can put up with it being completely unexciting.

What we like:
  • Huge boot and rear-seat space
  • Smart interior
  • Economical and punchy engines
What we don't like:
  • Uninspiring to drive
  • Average warranty
  • Small trim level range

Should I buy a Skoda Octavia?

There’s a certain joy to things being just really good. Not the sort of joy you get from winning the lottery or getting married, but maybe a warm feeling inside and a half smile. That’s exactly what the Skoda Octavia gives you – a warm feeling.

It won’t make you set your alarm early on a Sunday morning just to go for a drive, and it won’t make all the local teenagers turn and take pictures for Instagram. It’s a purchase made by the head rather than the heart. But you certainly won’t regret owning one. Few, if any, cars are so well-rounded as the big Skoda.

Of course, it offers more space than you can probably fill – and vastly more space than any other family hatchback. But it also offers great fuel economy, plenty of tech and even a composed, tied-down driving experience.

Unless you want white-knuckle excitement or the high ride height of an SUV, you should find plenty to like in the Octavia. It’s an ideal family car, and you won’t think twice about chucking prams, sports equipment, furniture or furry friends into its cavernous boot.

Interior and technology

Skoda calls the design language of the 2024 Kodiaq ‘Modern Solid’, but we reckon that sums up the Octavia’s interior nicely. With a large central touchscreen, digital dials on most models and a smart two-spoke steering wheel, it’s certainly modern-feeling. Solid, too, thanks to the impressive build quality and durable materials.

The touchscreen, fitted as standard to every Octavia, could be more responsive and a bit more intuitive. But it has sharp graphics, and the functions you’ll use everyday are easy to find and easy to use without taking your eyes off the road for too long.


The Skoda Octavia has a completely different body shape to the Volkswagen Golf it’s based on, and it’s a whole 40cm longer. By far the largest family hatchback on the market, the Octavia is leagues ahead of its rivals for practicality. It’s so big that Skoda offers a second family hatch, the Scala, for drivers who find the Octavia hard to park.

Rear-seat space is more than generous – this is limousine levels of legroom. It’s almost hard to see why you’d step up to the even bigger Skoda Superb. Passengers won’t feel like they’ve drawn the short straw at all. Big door bins, a handy phone pocket in the seatbacks and USB-C chargers mean that people sitting in the back can be kept fed, watered and entertained on long journeys.

And while the 380-litre boot in the Golf is pretty average these days, the Octavia has a boot to get excited about. The Octavia hatch offers 600 litres and the estate 640 – more if you fill higher than the parcel shelf. Both figures are class-leading. Both also come with handy hooks and cubbies, and levers to fold the rear seats down from the back of the car.

Engines and performance

There’s a wide range of engines available in the Octavia, and all of them are great. Even the entry-level 1.0-litre petrol engine feels more than powerful enough – although we can imagine it might start feeling a bit laboured with a car full of people and stuff. There’s also a 1.5-litre petrol engine with a dollop more power, and that’s a brilliant choice if you drive on a varied mix of roads.

Long-distance drivers will be happy to know that there’s still a diesel available, and the 150hp 2.0-litre engine returns up to 64mpg.

Even the hotter Octavia vRS still comes with a diesel option, and four-wheel drive is available on this engine, too. The petrol vRS, which shares its 245hp engine with the Volkswagen Golf GTI, is unsurprisingly the thirstiest – but it’ll still manage a very reasonable 40mpg on a cruise.

If your commute tends to involve a lot of local or urban driving, the Octavia iV plug-in hybrid could save you serious money on fuel. A fully charged battery can give you up to 44 miles of electric-only driving and, if you use the battery power most of the time, you’ll see over 200mpg. The hybrid is auto-only and is nearly as quick off the line as a diesel vRS.

Driving and comfort

Besides the range-topping vRS, there’s little in the way the Octavia drives to excite keen drivers. It’s a confident, easy driving experience that has a hint of sportiness, so all bases are pretty much covered. The steering is light but doesn’t require any guesswork or mid-corner adjustment, and the Octavia doesn’t become twitchy at high speeds like some cars with light steering.

The Octavia doesn’t completely insulate you from broken road surfaces but, in truth, neither does a Range Rover. You’ll still notice potholes and big impacts, but the harshness is successfully filtered out. Whatever the road surface is like, the Octavia is a car that you’ll be happy to drive long distances in.

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