BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Advertisement feature
View the latest news
Long-term review

Skoda Octavia Estate SE L 1.5 TSI – long-term review

Published: 14 Mar 2021


  • SPEC

    SE L 1.5 TSI



  • BHP


  • MPG


  • 0-62


Skoda says the Octavia is 'simply clever.' Is it?

Thanks to lockdown, I've not had chance or reason to do many miles this month, but I have had the opportunity to reflect on some of the details that make the Octavia such a pleasure to live with.

I’m talking about clever and fun design features that must cost peanuts to build in and make you wonder why every car doesn’t have them. To be fair, some of the features I am going to highlight do appear in other cars – for instance the umbrella concealed in the driver’s door panel has long been a feature of the Rolls-Royce range, but it was a welcome surprise to find it in my humble Octavia. Likewise, the parking ticket clip built into the windscreen surround can also be found in Volvos, but that doesn’t stop it being a clever addition.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Then there is the ice-scraper with a tyre tread depth gauge, which is stored inside the fuel filler flap. There are mobile phone sized pockets in the back of the front seats, the car is littered with USB-C charging points (including one in the rearview mirror for some reason) and the cupholders have dimples which keep your bottle of fizz in place so that you can twist off the lid with one hand.

Under the bonnet the windscreen washer lid folds out to create a funnel to avoid spillage – but perhaps my favourite discovery concerns the head-up display. This has a ‘snow mode’ which means the data appears in blue rather than the usual white to enable you to read it against a snowy background. This is probably more useful in the Czech Republic than London but it still looks cool so I keep it switched on.

My only disappointment is that the automatically recharging LED torch hidden in the boot is no longer a feature of this generation Octavia. Regardless, perhaps I am easily pleased but these clever ideas continue to make me smile and add real practicality to the car.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine