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The Skoda Octavia isn’t normally the type of car to turn up and smack you around the face with its honesty. But this budget-VW Golf is a wonderful car. And the new one - that thing above - looks even better.

Those smart, clean lines were revised from top to bottom by design chief Jozef Kaban and his team, and yes, while there’s certainly an air of a battery-farmed VW Group product, it’s still unpretentious. Which is the key really.

And underneath the new suit sits a revised body. The new, third generation Skoda Octavia sits on the new MQB platform - that Lego set that will underpin many millions of VW Group products - is 90mm longer and 45mm wider, while the wheelbase has grown by 108mm, and it’s all for you. The extra growth over it’s predecessor has meant there’s more space for your head, elbows, knees and even your chattels in the back (the boot’s risen to 590-litres in volume).

It’s lighter as well; 102kg less than its tubby forebear. If you want some completely unrelated cultural context, that’s roughly the weight of George Foreman when he fought Muhammad Ali in the 70s for the heavyweight championship of the world.

So engines powering this sans-Foreman Octavia should be able to perform well - better than the last model’s entry-level engines (they struggled with the heft). For the new Octavia, there’s a 1.6-litre diesel GreenLine version emitting just 89g/km of CO2, along with three other diesel units and four petrols running all the way up to a 177bhp 1.8-litre TSI. You get the option of manual or DSG transmissions, and Skoda is working on all-wheel-drive versions too. Oh, and there’s an Octavia RS “in the pipeline”, which we hope is the understated gem its predecessor was…

There are some electronic nannies in the shape of an Adaptive Cruise Assistant, Light Assistant, Parking Assistant, and a future ‘traffic-sign recognition’ pack just like the new S-Class’s, along with keyless entry, a panoramic sunroof, touchscreen infotainment systems and loads of practicality; stuff like an ice-scraper built inside the filler cap, a warning vest holder, rubbish bin and other storage bays.

Prices yet to be confirmed, but the current one starts at £13,385. Fancy it? Or are your badge pretentions just too strong to sway from the VW Golf?

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