Skoda Octavia SE L hatchback review
Our Rating

4/5

Skoda Octavia SE L hatchback review

Following a mid-life update, does the ever-popular Skoda Octavia continue on in the same vein with a refreshed look? We find out…

Introduction

As affordable family hatchbacks go, the Skoda Octavia is one of the best – thanks to its practical layout, inoffensive looks and very reasonable running costs.

Currently in its third generation, the Czech brand has given the mid-size model a light update, which has added an altered fascia and new safety technology to keep it bang up-to-date.

Available as a sporty vRS or an off-road-inspired Scout, the Octavia range is very varied indeed, with estate and hatchback editions also on offer.

But does this reinvigorated version offer the same as past Octavia models? We take a look…

2017 Skoda Octavia family hatchback

Performance

Fitted with a 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine, the Octavia we tested came with 148bhp and 250Nm of torque on offer, which helped get the model from 0-60mph in 8.2 seconds and go onto a top speed of 137mph.

That is more than enough performance for the day-to-day commute and meant that you could settle down and enjoy the refined engine, which was quiet and smooth throughout. Although a diesel will offer better fuel economy, the petrol was more than capable of achieving its quoted 56.5mpg – which is very respectable.

2017 Skoda Octavia family hatchback

Ride & Handling

As with other Skoda models, the updated Octavia was very easy and nice to drive, although steering was a little light on some occasions. That does lend to excellent urban driving so you can navigate narrower streets capably and efficiently. But if you want more weight for your turn-in, simply switch on Sport mode for that added heft.

Even when our model was fitted with large 18-inch alloys, the Skoda coped superbly well with lumps, bumps and ruts in the road – thanks to its softly-sprung suspension and damper setup. It did float over rises at times, which can feel slightly unsettling, but if you opt for a smaller alloy you will find little to fault with the overall feel and drive of the Octavia.

2017 Skoda Octavia family hatchback

Interior & Equipment

If you’re after a family hatchback with storage and passenger space aplenty, then look no further than the Octavia. Further space can be added in the Octavia’s estate guise, but with 590 litres of boot space you won’t be wanting for any more in the hatchback. Rear legroom is exemplary – even with taller passengers up front – and headroom is excellent all around, with the space accentuated by the large windows.

Like the exterior design, the cockpit look won’t send the pulses racing – but it is well laid-out and everything is where you expect it to be. With plenty of great features from a base spec, the Octavia is well-appointed for its price and offers more than enough value for money.

In the SE L trim we tested, standard equipment includes LED headlights and daytime running lights, alcantara and leather upholstery, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 17-inch alloy wheels and colour trip computer, which work alongside Bluetooth, leather steering wheel and air conditioning.

Skoda also fits the Octavia with plenty of standard safety equipment, including cruise control, rear parking sensors, driver fatigue sensor and drive mode select all on the SE L model we tested. Front assist and intelligent light assist with high beam assist were also applied.

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2017 Skoda Octavia family hatchback

Cost

Starting prices for the Octavia are excellent for the segment, as a base spec S model starts from £17,195 – which is very competitive. The SE L car we tested has a starting price of £21,865, but thanks to optional extras came in at £26,695 – although you don’t have to spend that much.

Running costs are very reasonable too, as the Octavia comes with an efficient line-up of engines that also offer low road tax costs. Insurance costs are also very affordable – helping the Octavia be one of the most budget-friendly models in its segment.

2017 Skoda Octavia family hatchback

Verdict

If you glance at the Octavia, you won’t be overly impressed by how it looks both outside and in. But if you judge it on that alone, you’re doing the Octavia a disservice, as it is one of the most practical, well-built and sure-footed in its segment.

With a silky-smooth drive, efficient and refined engines, and excellent amount of equipment for your money, it really is difficult to ignore the Octavia. If you do want that extra bit of space though, the estate gives that extra practicality. A great all-round effort from Skoda here.

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