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Car Review

Skoda Octavia review

£26,500 - £34,030
Published: 31 May 2024


What is it like on the inside?

At first glance it looks smart and most of the touchpoints on the doors and the dash feature soft touch materials for a premium feel. Skoda says that central strip which runs across the dash reflects the shape of the car’s grille, while the minimalist interior goes big on touchscreens and haptic keys over physical buttons.

But looking smart is one thing, being functional is another. This generation Octavia saw Skoda incorporate pretty much all physical switchgear into the infotainment display, which now measures a whopping 13 inches and comes as standard across the range. Generous, at least.

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You don't sound impressed...

Well, we’d have liked more physical switchgear, but Skoda has redesigned the menu structure so it is more intuitive, including some customisable shortcut buttons. While it’s an improvement on the pre-facelift setup, we still found some features difficult to find, which forced us to turn to Skoda’s (admittedly very good) Digital Assistant, Laura. 

Over the coming months Laura is set to receive ChatGP integration, which Skoda tells us will result in "a variety of new capabilities that go far beyond the previous voice commands”, including answering general knowledge questions. Given our experience using it elsewhere within the VW Group, it’s a feature we can do without. 

Every Octavia also gets a 10.25-inch revamped digital instrument cluster behind that two-spoke steering wheel, though we couldn’t tell much difference. Still, the dials can be configured in four different ways with a full-size navigation screen an option, and the layouts are all controlled using the scrollers at your fingertips. Nice.

How does it compare to rivals?

The Octavia is better than its VW Group siblings, largely because of a strip of proper shortcut buttons to instantly access the climate controls, heated screens, drive modes and park assist features. But the volume is still controlled by a strange touch sensitive slider under that central screen. Annoying.

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The facelift also introduces new upholstery, trim and door panel designs. Sustainability is the keyword here, so think leather seats tanned with coffee bean husks. It’s a smart look, and well worth checking out on the configurator.

It’s also worth noting just how practical this Octavia is. The 600-litre boot in the hatch is only 40 litres smaller than the estate, while there’s plenty of room in both the front and back seats. That sloping roof does impinge on headroom ever so slightly in the rear, but you’d hardly notice unless you regularly transport multiple six footers. Just another reason to buy the estate, we guess…

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