What is it like on the inside?
Everything is just so. The materials are good, with Alcantara used in pleasant but not OTT quantities, while the sports seats hug you nicely and not too tightly. The steering wheel possesses three spokes, ousting the curious two-spoke item used in the stock Octavia. Crucially – unlike the Mk8 GTI – its buttons are actual buttons, not weird touch sensitive pads, so you won’t accidentally turn the heated wheel on (or off) during sterner-faced cornering. The little metal scroll wheels nestled among those buttons are tactile, too.
And the infotainment?
You guessed it – it’s touchscreen heavy in here. Which will surprise, delight or slightly irritate you, depending on your disposition. Much like the Mk8 GTI, there are gritted-toothed-helmsmith operations – like turning off the ESP – buried behind half a dozen menu prods. Painful.
That said, once you’re used to where everything lives within the standard-fit screens – a 10in item in the middle handling satnav, music, driving modes and aircon, and the 10in Virtual Cockpit dials (with much customisation) ahead of you – it’s all a doddle, in truth. If you’re worried about fiddling with the aircon while driving, we’re with you, but Skoda’s built some extremely common sense commands into the voice control.
‘My hands are cold’ will turn the heated wheel on and pump warm air out of the nearby vents, for instance. It sounds unbelievably cheesy, but it works about a thousand times better than BMW’s gesture control or shouting ‘Hey Mercedes’ at your dashboard. Skoda successfully turns chintzy tech into something useful; who’d have thought it…
Is it spacious?
In the back, there’s a tonne more room for the legs and possessions of passengers than you’ll find in other hot hatches, while there’s two USB sockets and the seat-back pockets have two sections – one magazine sized, one ready to snugly envelop a phone.
Head further back and the boot is 600 litres in the hatch, or 640 in the estate (or 450/490 respectively in the hybrid). BIG, in other words, with a Golf offering 380 litres. The Octavia costs similar money but acts like it’s a size above.