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Skoda Octavia engines, driving and performance

How does the Skoda Octavia drive?

In standard guise, the Skoda Octavia is assured, confident and pleasant. The vRS adds a sprinkling of excitement but all Octavias have a sensible ‘Skoda-ness’ running through their fuel pipes. Really, it’s all you could ask for from a daily driver, and it’s good enough to drive to make it feel a little engaging rather than totally dull.

If we’re being really picky, the steering is a little light – the SEAT Leon's slightly heavier steering makes it feel a touch sportier – but the flipside of that is that you don’t have to heave the steering wheel round to get it into a parking space. Life behind the wheel of an Octavia is easy peasy.

Is the Skoda Octavia comfortable?

With its modestly sized alloy wheels and the ability to sit on the motorway with the best executive cars all day long, the Octavia is pretty comfortable over most road surfaces.

It doesn’t completely get rid of impacts from potholes and bumps, but it manages to remove the harsh jolts really well. You’ll still notice broken Tarmac, but you won’t feel like you’re crashing heavily into every pothole.

What’s the best engine to get?

Short of a fully electric option, the Octavia offers an engine choice for every buyer. In the standard range, there are two petrol engines, a diesel engine and a plug-in hybrid, and some of the petrol engines get mild-hybrid tech to reduce fuel consumption.

Diesel power suits a car like this well, but you’ll need to make sure you’re doing long journeys on a fairly regular basis to prevent any DPF issues occuring in the future. If a diesel car suits your lifestyle, the Octavia’s 2.0-litre diesel engine with 150hp is a brilliant all-rounder. It’s quick to get up to speed and yet, at a steady cruise, will return over 60mpg. Note that the diesel engine will need infrequent AdBlue topups to keep it running properly.

For lower-mileage drivers, either of the petrol engines are ideal. The 1.0-litre, 110hp entry-level engine might sound a bit weedy, but it’s surprisingly capable of getting the big Skoda up to speed with no fuss whatsoever.

Above that is a 1.5-litre engine with an extra cylinder and another 40hp. Thanks to a system that shuts down half the engine on light throttle, this bigger, more powerful engine gets within a few mpg of the 1.0-litre unit. The 1.0-litre engine returns 52-55mpg, while the 1.5 manages 49-51mpg.

As if that wasn’t already enough choice, there’s also the Octavia iV plug-in hybrid. Offering a 43-mile electric range, this option is perfect if you spend a lot of time in town. Officially, it’ll return around 250mpg although, once the battery has run out, you’ll see more like 40mpg.

What’s more, the Octavia vRS is also available with petrol, diesel and hybrid engines. These are all more powerful than the standard lineup, with the petrol and hybrid offering 245hp and the diesel offering 200hp. Four-wheel drive is offered with the diesel engine – it’s the only Octavia to get this option.

Skoda Octavia performance

No Octavia feels sluggish, with even the 1.0-litre petrol engine dipping under 11 seconds to get from 0-62mph. That’s more than enough to keep up with fast-moving traffic – but it may feel a little sluggish if you’re fully laden with people and luggage.

If that’s a regular occurrence, the 1.5-litre petrol engine might be the better choice, as it knocks a couple of seconds off the 0-62mph time and feels noticeably more sprightly. Around 8.5 seconds is also what the diesel needs to get up to that speed, and its low-down power makes it feel quite responsive.

The Octavia vRS is basically a hot Golf in a more practical body, and offers the fastest acceleration in the range. The 245hp petrol gets to 62mph in just 6.6 seconds, which’ll feel rapid on the majority of roads. The diesel is less than a second behind, despite being 45hp down on the petrol.

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