The Skoda Octavia is one of Ireland’s favourite cars and does well with buyers seeking a spacious family car without the high price tag.
But even heroes like the Octavia need a refresh every now and then so for 2017, Skoda has treated the current generation of the Octavia to a facelift with tweaked styling and some other updates to the range.
There’s a new radiator grille at the front and controversially, they’ve split the Octavia’s familiar block headlights. But I get the feeling that Octavia buyers really won’t let the small matter of some split headlights come between them and their next car and elsewhere the Octavia holds a familiar presence on the road.
It’s easy to feel at home in the cabin of the Skoda Octavia with its straightforward layout and reassuringly good build quality. The only major changes inside are new infotainment systems in the centre of the dash that look a bit glossier and more up to date. Smartlink+ with Apple Car Play and Android Auto is now standard across the range.
In Ireland the Skoda Octavia comes in three familiar trims – Active, Ambition and Style – and the more salubrious Laurin & Klement. The Ambition model is the sweet spot priced from €22,250, with air con, electric windows front and rear, 16” alloys, cruise control and reversing camera as standard.
Style models like the one on test (from €24,750) have an impressive 9.2” Navigation & Infotainment system as standard, with 4G LTE SIM card slot to enable a high speed Wi-Fi hotspot within the car (data plans sold separately), and a host of additional connected services from Skoda Connect.
The Park Assist feature has been improved for 2017 and Trailer Assist, Predictive Pedestrian Protection, Blind Spot Detect and Rear Traffic Alert are all available as options.
Interior space remains one of the largest in the class with the hatch retaining boot space of 590 litres and 610 litres in the Combi estate.
The Skoda Octavia has a reliable suite of engines on offer too including the 1.2TSI (86hp), 1.0TSI (115hp), 1.6TDI (90 and 115hp) and 2.0TDI (150hp). Manual and automatic gearboxes are available, as is 4×4.
I drove the Skoda Octavia 1.0TSI earlier in 2017 and while it is impressive for low mileage/urban drivers, the 2.0-litre TDI with 150hp in my test car left little to complain about with excellent performance and economy over a week of driving. There is engine noise making its way into the cabin but it’s muted and the Octavia is just a fantastic companion for travelling long distances.
This car is not allergic to a rural road either and grips well with weighty, direct steering inspiring confidence behind the wheel. The Octavia is generally as comfortable as you want from a family hatchback but it is a bit noisy and harsh over big bumps and ruts in the road surface, especially around town, implying that it lacks that extra layer of refinement and comfort that marks out the very best rivals.
Yet on a whole the Octavia is one very impressive car and there is no arguing with the fact that it is an absolute bargain if you really value the amount of space you are getting for your money because it dwarfs the competition in this regard. Stoic and sensible, the Skoda Octavia won’t be toppled from its position as one of Ireland’s favourite hatchbacks any time soon.
Model tested: Skoda Octavia Style 2.0TDI 150hp
Price: €29,050 (Range starts at €19,750)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
0-100km/h: 8.4 seconds
Top speed: 218km/h
CO2 emissions: 113g/km
Motor tax: €200 per year
If you are looking for a spacious family car, you might also like this review of the Toyota Corolla.