Skoda Octavia (2013-2020) Review

The spacious and solid Skoda Octavia is one of the best-value new cars on sale today

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Plenty of standard equipment
  • Strong engines, shared with VW Golf
  • Lots of passenger and luggage space
  • Unexciting to drive
  • Pricier rivals offer classier cabins
  • More engine noise than some rivals
Skoda Octavia prices from £8,995.
Finance from £156.37 / month.

There's one very good reason why you might buy the Skoda Octavia over any other family car on the market, and that's space.

Inside the family hatchback's crisply folded bodywork is more room than you'll find in any other car of its class. It doesn't matter whether you sit in the front, the back, or poke your nose into the boot: the Octavia is enormous.

The 590-litre boot is larger than you'll find in a Ford Mondeo, which is a bigger category of car (and more expensive). The Octavia hatchback is also more spacious than most family estate cars, including the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer and Seat Leon ST.

There's enough legroom in the back for three adults to sit in comfort, and for two to really stretch out in the supportive seats. Add in the various cup holders, storage spaces and cubbyholes, and you'll be able to cram in your family's travelling clutter, while keeping the interior clear.

On top of all of this is a car that also performs well on the road. It needs to because there are plenty of ways to spend your money on a family hatchback. These include the sporty Seat Leon, the characterful Mini Clubman or the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra, which combine comfort with nimble cornering.

The Octavia shares its mechanical parts with the Volkswagen Golf, as the brands are owned by the same company. Both cars have been engineered for comfort. The Golf is smoother - particularly at low speeds - but the Octavia isn't far off. The Skoda suffers from more engine and wind noise than in the Golf, but you'll still be able to hold a normal conversation at motorway speeds.

While the Octavia can't quite match the quality of the plastics used in the Volkswagen, its interior is still well-built and feels solid. And you have to remember the Octavia is a larger car for less money, so the fact it gets so close to the VW is impressive in itself. A recent update to the car introduced more sophisticated and larger touchscreens across the range, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, for easier control of your phone, on every model.

The update also added more equipment as standard and introduced the four-headlight design at the front of the car, which makes it easy to distinguish the latest version of the Octavia: pre-updated versions have two headlamps at the front.

With its focus on comfort, the Skoda is not the car to choose if you're looking for driving excitement, unless you opt for the high-performance vRS, which has a sportier feel and fast acceleration.

The rest of the range has steering that's light but accurate, so it's easy to judge how much to steer in a corner, and to make smooth progress. The car's space does make it a little longer than most other family hatchbacks, but the other Octavia dimensions are fairly average, so it's easy to drive and park, especially in models with rear parking sensors.

However, you don't feel very engaged with the process as a driver. The light steering seems to respond a fraction slower than in a Focus, Clubman or Leon, so there's little sense of the energy and agilty that would make driving on country roads more enjoyable for keener drivers.

The engines, too are focused on economy rather than performance. A new 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol looks too small for such a large car, but is quick and economical. In reality, the 1.0-litre is more than fast enough for most prospective Octavia buyers, partly thanks to the car's light weight for its size. There are efficient diesel options too.

Low running costs will help to cushion the price of the car: Skodas are no longer a budget choice. In fact, at launch the entry-level Octavia was more expensive than the cheapest version offered in a range of rivals, including the Vauxhall Astra, Kia Cee'd, Hyundai i30 and Toyota Auris. For around £1,000 more when the Octavia was launched you could even have a taller crossover, such as the Seat Ateca or Nissan Qashqai, which offer a higher driving position. However, the Octavia remains the more practical choice, making those alternatives little more than cars chosen for fashion rather than function.

If you do want even more capacity than the hatchback offers, then the Octavia Estate increases boot capacity slightly. Meanwhile, if you're after more of the off-road look, or need a car that can tackle more challenging terrain, the Octavia Scout is raised off the ground and comes with a four-wheel drive system for better off-road performance.

A five-star Euro NCAP safety score, advanced safety equipment and a track record of superb customer service from dealerships complete the Octavia’s very appealing proposition for potential owners.


Key facts

Warranty Three years / 60,000 miles
Boot size 590 litres
Width 1,814mm
Length 4,659mm
Height 1,461mm
Tax (min to max) £140 to £200 in first year, £140 thereafter / Pre-April 2017 cars: £0 to £130

Best Skoda Octavia for...

Best for Economy – Skoda Octavia 1.6 TDI CR GreenLine III

All diesel Octavias will be pleasingly cheap to run, but the GreenLine is the special extra-efficient version with the very best fuel economy and CO2 emissions figures. It’ll cost nothing to tax and should eke out just over 80 miles from every gallon of fuel you put in, if you drive very carefully.

Best for Families – Skoda Octavia 1.2 TSI 110 SE

The Octavia's SE trim level includes a few nice touches that family buyers will appreciate, such as a central armrest, rear electric windows and extra safety equipment including a driver fatigue sensor and rear parking sensors.

Best for Performance – Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI Laurin + Klement

Skoda produces a specialised high-performance version, the Octavia vRS. In the core range, the fastest Octavia is the 1.8-litre petrol Laurin & Klement version with a manual gearbox, which does 0-62mph in just 7.3 seconds.

One to Avoid – Skoda Octavia 1.2 TSI 110 S

It’s possibly a bit harsh to say you should ‘avoid’ the entry-level Octavia, as it’s a perfectly fine and well equipped car in its own right. It’s just missing a few nice touches and will be a little less desired on the used market when the time comes to sell or trade in.


January 2013: Introduction of third-generation Skoda Octavia to UK
January 2014: More frugal GreenLine model joins the range

Understanding Skoda Octavia names

Engine 2.0 TDI

The size of Skoda engines is given in litres (here it's 2.0). Diesel engines are badged TDI and petrol cars have turbocharged TSI engines.

Trim SE L

The Octavia hatchback is available a number of specification levels, starting with S and progressing to SE, the company-car-focused SE Business, the efficient GreenLine III, the fully featured SE L and the luxurious Laurin & Klement.

Gearbox DSG

All engines offer the option of either regular six-speed manual transmission or the highly rated Skoda DSG twin-clutch, seven-speed automatic gearbox.

Skoda Octavia Engines

Engines: 1.2 TSI, 1.4 TSI, 1.8 TSI (petrol); 1.6 TDI, 2.0 TDI (diesel)

Petrol or diesel is the first choice to make when buying an Octavia – unlike some rivals, there are no electric or plug-in hybrid versions being offered just yet. As always, petrol is the better choice for those who do mostly town driving or have fairly low annual mileage (less than around 20,000 miles) and diesel is better suited to high-mileage motorway drivers.

All Octavia petrol engines are turbocharged and identified by the letters TSI. Even the entry-level 1.2-litre performs well, getting the car from 0-62mph in a little over 10 seconds, so this is all the engine most buyers will probably need. If you do want more power, there’s a 1.4-litre version of the same engine that takes about two seconds off that acceleration figure, but suffers a slight drop in fuel economy, too.

The 1.8-litre petrol engine won’t be on a lot of buyers’ radar, as it’s only offered in top-spec Laurin & Klement trim. It does make the Octavia surprisingly fast, but average fuel economy is likely to be a little less than the 1.4, potentially still up to around the 50mpg mark, depending on your chosen gearbox and wheel size, if you drive carefully.

Opening the diesel range is a 1.6-litre with 104bhp and very similar performance to the 1.2-litre petrol. It’s more economical, obviously, but also a little noisier when you’re on the move. The GreenLine III version of the Octavia gets its own slightly more powerful 1.6-litre diesel, which has near-identical performance to the 104bhp engine, but pushes economy over the 80mpg mark. Both 1.6-litre diesels have low enough CO2 emissions to be exempt from road tax entirely.

Next up is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel, a strong and smooth engine ideally suited to motorway cruising. Although road tax is £20 a year here, economy can reach an impressive 70mpg – remarkable when you consider the performance on offer.





0 - 62mph

top speed

1.2 TSI


56.5 - 57.7mpg


10.2 - 10.3s


1.4 TSI


54.3 - 58.9mpg


8.1 - 8.2s


1.8 TSI


47.9 - 50.4mpg


7.3 - 7.4s


1.6 TDI


72.4 - 76.4mpg


10.6 - 10.7s


1.6 TDI






2.0 TDI


64.2 - 70.6mpg


8.4 - 8.5s

132 - 134mph



Skoda Octavia Trims

Trims: S, SE, SE Business, GreenLine III, SE L, Laurin & Klement

The entry-level Skoda Octavia S doesn’t really feel like an entry-level car, as it has alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel, air-conditioning, an eight-speaker stereo, Bluetooth and DAB digital radio.

We think it’s worth spending a little more for SE, though, as that packs in dual-zone climate control, front foglights, rear electric windows, a front armrest, rear parking sensors and ‘driving mode selection’, which allows you to set the car up for greater economy or sportiness as desired.

As its name suggest, the Octavia SE Business is aimed squarely at company-car users and is available only with diesel engines. On top of the SE’s kit, it features satellite navigation and cruise control. The Octavia GreenLine III, meanwhile, gets the same equipment as the Octavia SE, but has some tweaks to its 1.6-litre diesel engine and incorporates features like low-resistance tyres to return the maximum possible fuel economy.

Above those models sits the SE L, which boasts leather upholstery, power-folding mirrors, a rear central armrest, rain-sensing wipers, a multifunction steering wheel. The even more luxurious Laurin & Klement (named after the founding partners of Skoda) has bigger 18-inch alloys, bright xenon headlights, LED rear lights, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance and parking assistance.

Used Skoda Octavia

The Skoda Octavia makes a great choice as a used buy for many of the same reasons it’s a superb new car: space, efficiency, equipment and value. It has reasonably good residuals, so there are no absolute bargains to be found, but like most cars, depreciation is sharpest in year one, so there’s value to be found in low-mileage, year-old examples in particular.

Skoda Octavia with diesel engines vastly outsell petrol-powered examples when new, so if you’re after the latter in particular, you won’t have as many examples to choose from and may well need to be patient or look outside your local area to find the car you want.

Octavias are also popular as company cars, so there can be quite a few high-mileage diesels out there for sale. It’s probably better to keep an eye out for a lower-mileage example that was privately purchased and well specified from new.

Other Editions

Octavia Estate (2013 – 2020)

The Skoda Octavia Estate is a sensible family car, with the added bonus of a gargantuan boot and tonnes of rear seat space

Octavia (2020)

The Octavia is a practical and safe family car that now takes a step up market with new tech and hybrid power