Read Caroline’s Skoda Octavia review for everything you need to know about buying Skoda’s most popular model in Ireland.

The Octavia has been a real success story for Skoda. It’s the brand’s most popular model and over 7 million have been sold.

A fourth generation of the Octavia launched in 2020 and has kept the car among the bestsellers. And that’s despite the market being saturated with SUVs and crossovers of all sizes. Skoda’s humble hatchback has prevailed.

The Octavia has always been known for practicality and straightforward motoring. But the latest version is the brand’s most advanced yet. It goes on sale from €30,245, though the price does creep up when you opt for one of the more powerful engines and trim lines.

And for that there are many – Ambition, Style and Sportline – as well as petrol and diesel engines including high performance Octavia RS models.

The plug-in hybrid has been withdrawn from sale for now due to supply issues.

The Skoda Octavia Sportline on test for Changing Lanes
The Skoda Octavia Sportline on test for Changing Lanes

What’s so special about the Skoda Octavia?

The Octavia is classed as C-segment but it is huge inside. It’s built on the same platform as other Volkswagen Group cars like the Seat Leon, Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf. Yet the stretched wheelbase means that there is much more generous legroom in the back.

The boot is by far the biggest of the compact class with 600 litres in the hatchback and 640 litres in the estate version. To put that in perspective, a Volkswagen Golf can only manage 380 litres.

There’s been a gentle evolution of styling but somehow the Octavia looks a little more elegant and upmarket than before. Even the entry level Ambition model gets 17-inch alloy wheels.

Top of the range Sportline models sit a bit lower to the ground and come with more sporty black trim around the grille, bumpers and rear bootlid spoiler, along with a set of unique 18-inch alloy wheels.

The latest Octavia is a bit more aerodynamic than before and clean lines accentuate its length.  It’s a timeless design that ages well. The Octavia is technically a hatchback but it looks more like a saloon really.

Headlights are now slimmer with matrix LED technology available for the very first time in the Octavia.

There are quite a few changes inside too.

The cabin of the Skoda Octavia
The cabin of the Skoda Octavia

Inside the Skoda Octavia

There’s loads of space for passengers inside and it’s a very comfortable cabin to spend time in. Seating three across the rear bench shouldn’t be a problem either.

The dashboard has a new minimalist design and Skoda has also introduced some plusher materials to the cabin and ambient lighting.

Infotainment is provided via a new free-standing touchscreen in the centre of the dash and there are a few sizes available from 8- to 10-inch. Ventilation has moved to the screen but there are a few handy shortcut buttons below that make it easier to interact with. There’s a modern, full digital driver display.

Some hard plastics prevail in the cabin in obvious places like the door handles. But generally the cabin looks good and feels hard-wearing.

Sportline models get sports seats with integrated headrests and a fabric insert in the dashboard. There’s also a three-spoke sports steering wheel. Though the overall impression is a little underwhelming for a top of the range model with a list price from €40,700.

There is a good level of equipment however, like heated front seats and wireless smartphone charging.

The Octavia is available with petrol and diesel engines
The Octavia is available with petrol and diesel engines

Driving the Octavia

Engine options for the Octavia include a 1.0-litre TSI turbo petrol with 110hp, a 2.0-litre diesel with 115hp or 150hp, and a 1.5-litre TSI turbo petrol with 150hp. Mild hybrid versions of the petrol engines are available with a 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox. But the 6-speed manual remains a good choice for the Octavia.

The high performance Octavia RS is available as a 2.0-litre diesel (200hp) until early 2024 when production stops or as a 2.0-litre TSI (245hp).

My test car was the Octavia 1.5-litre TSI Sportline with a list price of €40,700. It is a real gem of an engine. With 150hp, there is plenty of power when you want it and the Octavia never feels under pressure. It’s a smooth, quiet and refined companion of the Octavia.

There’s also cylinder deactivation to improve the efficiency. It works by shutting down two cylinders when the engine is under low load. On the motorway it really helps lower the consumption, though it does increase during town and other suburban driving. My average fuel consumption over a week of driving was 6.6 litres per 100 kilometres.

On the road, the Octavia is a straightforward drive with direct, precise steering and good grip in cornering. It’s more comfortable and refined than ever but there is some persistent road noise. Sportline models also ride a little firmer over the road surface than Octavia’s on a more standard suspension, though it does cruise motorways with ease.

There's loads of space in the back of the Octavia
There’s loads of space in the back of the Octavia

Did you like it?

Nothing else in this class really comes close to the value the Octavia offers when you consider how much bigger it is than rivals. If you value practicality, this is the car for you.

It’s also very handsome, particularly in the Sportline trim. The Octavia has closed the gap on rivals with more comfort and tech on board than ever before. There’s a good selection of well-proven engines to choose from with the 1.5-litre petrol being one of the nicest to drive.

The Skoda Octavia is an Irish favourite and it’s easy to see why. It’s a sensible and practical choice of car. After all these years.

Model tested: Skoda Octavia Sportline 1.5 TSI
1.5-litre turbo petrol
Power: 150 hp
Torque: 250 Nm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 8.5 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€200 per year


Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

The Skoda Octavia Sportline is on sale now
The Skoda Octavia Sportline is on sale now