The Skoda Octavia presented a huge coup for Skoda when it was launched in 1998. Built on the same platform as the Volkswagen Golf, the Octavia was somehow much larger inside and boasted a cavernous boot, making it an attractive family car. Not only is it practical and reliable, but the Octavia also has sporting prowess in the form of the vRS model, which has a cult following among buyers who want both usability and fun. Now in its fourth generation, the Octavia still sells in huge numbers despite the popularity of SUVs. Let's find out why.
The Skoda Octavia is the first place to look if you are looking for a reliable family hatchback or estate. The Czech firm is part of the VW Group and enjoys all the experience, engineering know-how and quality parts from the group's resources. And yet, the Octavia feels like a unique and individual car, and is aimed at family buyers who want good quality for a reasonable price. It offers all the interior and luggage space of a large family car, at the price of a small family car.
The Octavia boasts a wealth of tried and tested petrol and Diesel engines, offers a 4x4 Scout version, and is now even available as a fire-breathing hybrid vRS. It comes generously specified as standard and its infotainment system is high quality and pleasant to use.
It is a comfortable place to sit and the ergonomics are second to none. The switchgear is nice to use and the fit and finish is excellent. If you specify a vRS version, you get sports seats and some extra sporting touches to liven up the cabin.
The ride is comfortable, the handling keen, and the lofty size of the Octavia ensures it doesn't crash into every Great British pothole.
Skoda prides itself on the little thoughtful touches, so you'll find a clip at the edge of the windscreen for pay and display tickets, and an ice scraper behind the fuel flap to save your credit card.
There are plenty of petrol engines to choose from, starting with a 1-litre TSI offering 115bhp, which is surprisingly nippy. There is a 1.5 TSI offering 150bhp, a 2.0 TSI with 190bhp, and of course the vRS which boasts 245bhp.
Mile-munchers are catered for with a brace of Diesels starting with a 115bhp 1.6 TDI, a 150bhp 2.0 TDi and the 200bhp vRS version.
Octavias come with an excellent spec as standard including air conditioning and alloy wheels. Further up the range adds features such as sat-nav and an infotainment touchscreen, and of course the vRS models offer those extra sporting touches.
There is a lot of choice in the market so look out for a good one. Be wary of high-mileage ex-fleet or taxi examples, or those with lots of wear inside from heavy family use.
The Octavia is renowned for reliability, but look out for issues with the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) on Diesel versions. Make sure it's been serviced on time, and you should have no issues at all.