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Skoda Octavia review - hands-on

Chris Finnamore
19 Mar 2013

A huge and good-value family car that's surprisingly fun to drive

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Skoda took us to Wiltshire for the launch of the latest model in its Octavia family car range. The new model promises more space, sharper looks and a pile of standard kit and high-tech optional extras.

At first, we were taken aback by how much the Octavia looks like the previous-generation Audi A6, especially from the sides and rear. The front is dominated by a large grille and badge, which could be prettier, but the sharp-edged lights give the car a smart, modern look. Alloy wheels are standard across the range, too - the Octavia is moving upmarket.

Skoda Octavia

These social aspirations are also reflected in the price. The £15,990 base model is around £2,000 more than the outgoing car, so the Octavia is no longer the bargain it once was. It's still a couple of grand less than a base Ford Mondeo, though.

TRIM LEVELS

There are three trim levels - S, SE and Elegance. Standard equipment is generous even on the base model, which comes with such luxuries as a leather steering wheel, climate control and an 8-speaker touchscreen entertainment system with DAB. There's also no messing about on the safety front, thanks to seven airbags and the Automatic Post Collision Braking System, which detects when you've had a shunt and slows the car down to 6mph while turning on the hazard lights.

Skoda Octavia

Looks like an Audi A6 to us

An extra £1,200 gets you the SE trim level - highlights of this posher version are dual-zone climate control with separate temperature zones for driver and passenger, voice control for a Bluetooth-attached phone and the Driver Fatigue Sensor. This uses a camera to learn what you look like when you're alert, and if it notices you showing signs of fatigue the system will warn you audibly and visually. Elegance adds automatic lights which dip and go full-beam depending on the driving conditions, and built-in satnav as standard.

Skoda Octavia S prices
Skoda Octavia SE prices
Skoda Octavia Elegance prices

Octavia trim levels - click to enlarge

ENGINES

The Octavia is available with four engines: 1.2 and 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol models with 105PS and 140PS, and 1.6 and 2.0 turbodiesels with 105PS and 150PS. Confusingly, there are also four different gearboxes, with different models available depending on which engine you choose. The petrol models are only available with 6-speed manual gearboxes, while the 1.6TDI can be had with either a 5-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch automatic DSG transmission. If you buy the top-end 2.0 diesel, you can have 6-speed manual or 6-speed DSG gearboxes.

Skoda Octavia

Skoda reckons most people will buy the 1.6 diesel

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