Well here it is, our favourite mile muncher now in its fourth-generation guise. Wearing a new sharp look with a renewed layer of perceived quality and greater refinement the new Škoda Octavia could be all the car you’ll ever need. Underneath the new restyled exterior, the Octavia sits on the versatile MQB platform that it first adopted in 2012. This steel and aluminium structure has proven successful across a multitude of Volkswagen Group vehicles. Now with a new body and heavily revised interior the new Octavia is 14% more aerodynamically efficient than its predecessor. Using the same 2686mm wheelbase of the outgoing model the interior space and load-carrying ability has somehow still managed to grow 22mm in length and 15mm in width with a subtle 3mm height rise. Remarkably in Combi (Estate) car trim like our test car, you now get 640 litres of boot space, which is 30 litres larger than last years model. When you press the button to activate the electronic mechanism to open the boot you are greeted with a sizeable cargo area even before you lower the rear seats. Up front the storage space continues with decent centre console and large door bins for drinks etc. The Octavia was always a highly practical car to live with and now even more so.
From the drivers seat there is a sense of even greater space from the models past. The design of the new multi-layer dashboard is cutting edge and everything is within ease of reach. The fully adjustable twin-spoke multifunction steering wheel is much easier on the eye and a new electronic gear selector not only looks cleaner but also is more intuitive to use. Škoda have come a long way in the materials used inside and they not only look higher grade, but also feel more premium than those in the Octavia of old. On the tech front you get a wide range of infotainment options largely down to the fact that Škoda has access to the VW Golf 8 technology. Buyers get a choice of four trim levels to include Active, Ambition, Style and RS with central displays ranging from a standard 8.25-inch up to the 10.25-inch screen in our Style model test car. Along with standard touchscreen control the new Golf derived slider element can be used to change the radio volume etc. Gesture and voice control is also available although we still struggle to see the point in gesture control. A heads-up display is also available but again it depends on whether you deem that essential or not.
Our Octavia Combi was powered by the 150hp 2.0 TDI and for us it’s the one to go for. In everyday conditions it’s incredibly capable in all of its four driving modes. It doesn’t feel weight when loaded with passengers and it breezes up even the sharpest of inclines all whilst maintaining decent fuel economy. How does it do this? Well it has been heavily revised to include new pistons, conrods and two catalytic converters featuring a twin-dosing urea injection system that was designed to reduce NOx emissions by up to 80%. This insures Euro 6d-Temp compatibility making it a diesel power plant for the future. On the petrol side buyers can choose between a turbocharged 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0-litre unit developing 110hp, 150hp and 245hp respectively, as well as a single turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel in two states of tune at 115hp and 150hp. Mild hybrid options will be also available in the not to distant future.
The new fourth-generation Škoda Octavia has a raft of high-tech safety features including Turn Assist, which can monitor traffic when turning right at a junction as well as identify cyclists and pedestrians. It also gets collision avoidance assist, which is operated via the car’s front cameras, monitoring the road ahead at a distance of up to 35 metres. The system can also intervene to avoid a potential collision if the driver fails to take action at speeds of up to 145km/h. Aside from this, the usual array of airbags is offered on every model, along with hill-hold assist, dynamic headlights, lane-keep assist and post-collision braking to prevent further accidents after a crash.
Prices for the new Škoda Octavia Combi kick off at €25,450 for the Active Spec. Ambition will set you back €27,250 whilst Style starts at €29,350. Our automatic DSG test car was coming in at €43,148 with the added extras.
After a weeklong test-drive it is honestly hard to give the Octavia Combi back. It’s such a pleasant machine to drive. Flicking between the four driving modes on the Driving Mode Select allows you to pick the car that best suits your needs for that particular day. By altering the characteristics of the steering, damping and throttle mapping you munch motorway miles or carve up back roads in this spacious estate. As mentioned above its quite economical also with a WLTP combined figure of 4.3 and 5.4L/100km in its most economical driving mode. The appeal of the Octavia Combi continues to centre on its ability to outperform its competitors in this sector. Why people still choose small or mid size crossovers and SUV’s is beyond us because as a package, the Octavia Combi is mighty appealing!
Great to drive
Spec gets pricey, keep it simple.