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Skoda Octavia interior, tech and practicality

Comfort and visibility

It’s all very sensible inside the Skoda Octavia, which is no bad thing. A lot of functions have been moved to the infotainment screen, clearing up some dashboard space and giving it a cleaner, more modern look. The two-spoke steering wheel also feels fresher and more premium than you might’ve been used to in previous Skodas.

There’s still a row of buttons beneath the touchscreen, although some of them aren’t regularly used functions. It’d probably be better having more of the climate control functions in that button bar, although the screen isn’t too hard to use so it’s not a massive problem. Skoda has made the full-width dashboard trim into a wrist rest so you can steady your hand to use the screen while you’re driving.

The Octavia’s big windows make for good all-round visibility, and rear parking sensors are fitted as standard to take the strain out of reversing – a good thing considering how much longer the Octavia is than most of its rivals.

Skoda is hot on practicality, and the Octavia offers plenty of storage space upfront. The glovebox is big and there are a few little cubbies which should prove handy for stashing odds and ends away. The cupholders are quite small, though – they’ll hold cans or shop-bought drinks bottles, but coffee cups and reusable bottles will have to go in the door pockets.

Standard equipment

There are only three trim levels to choose from in the Octavia, and one of those is the standalone vRS performance model. SE trim is first and comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, two-zone climate control, cruise control and push-button start.

Mid-range SE L spec features 17-inch wheels, tinted rear windows, suede upholstery and heated front seats, front parking sensors, adaptive cruise control and keyless entry.

The sporty Octavia vRS gets a pointier body kit and some unique colour options, plus 19-inch two-tone alloys, a flat-bottom steering wheel and sports seats. Upgraded headlights feature, but the spec sheet is largely the same as SE L.

Look out for SE Technology, SE First Edition and SE L First Edition cars if you’re a used buyer – these have a few desirable extra features.

Infotainment and audio

Every Octavia boasts a 10-inch touchscreen perched above the dashboard. Tiled on-screen icons and a couple of shortcut ‘buttons’ next to the screen make it fairly easy to navigate to the main functions and settings. As touchscreens go, it’s decent enough to use on the move, and is actually more intuitive than the system in the related Volkswagen Golf.

Sometimes it can look a little busy and we would like it to be quicker to load – there are more ‘please wait’ messages than we’d like – but these aren’t major issues on the whole.

Built-in sat nav features on higher-spec cars, but all come with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so you can use your phone’s navigation and media apps if you wish.

Most trims get Skoda’s fantastic Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster, with a crisp screen taking the place of conventional analogue dials. It’s a system that’s easy to follow and isn’t packed with unnecessary information, and we’d also pick a car that features it because it makes the interior feel a lot more up-to-date.

Rear seat space

The Octavia is simply huge in the back. If you’re too tall to get comfortable in it, you’d probably have a successful basketball career. There’s loads of headroom, loads of legroom and enough space for three adults to cosy up side by side. It’ll be much more comfortable if only two adults clamber in the back – two people will have acres of space to stretch out in.

Rear-seat passengers are treated to a host of features, including thoughtful phone pockets stitched into the seatbacks, USB-C ports to charge devices, armrest cupholders and flock-lined door bins to stop items rattling.

The Octavia is a great choice for families, whether you pick the hatchback or the estate. The doors open nice and wide so it’s easy to extract young children, the Isofix points are clearly visible and there’s probably enough space that toddlers will struggle to kick the front seats.

Boot space

It’s hard to believe the Octavia shares its underpinnings with the Volkswagen Golf – not only do they look completely different, but the Octavia has over 50% more boot space than a Golf. The Octavia hatchback has the style of a saloon but a more usable tailgate, which opens up 600 litres of luggage space.

Whatever you’ve got to carry, chances are it’ll fit in the Octavia’s boot. The space is long and wide, with a huge opening. There are a few useful hooks and cubbies to stop your stuff rolling around the vast chasm of space.

Anything that doesn’t fit in the hatchback’s boot will more than likely fit in the Octavia estate’s boot, which is 40 litres up on paper – and much bigger if you’re happy to load to the roof. Roof rails also come as standard so you can carry bikes or a roofbox.

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