From £26,7758

Latest changes bring well-placed refinements to the fourth generation of Skoda's family car

Find Skoda Octavia deals
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
New car deals
From £26,775
Nearly-new car deals
From £17,648
Sell your car
In partnership with
Powered by

Few cars encapsulate the spirit of the brand that produces them like the Skoda Octavia. Whether in hatchback or estate form, the model has become known for its understated charm, all-round practicality and tremendous value for money. 

The formula clearly works: across four generations since it was launched in 1996, Skoda has now sold more than seven million Octavias, easily making it the firm's best-seller. And the values of the Octavia have seeped into the brand's whole line-up today.

The appeal of the Octavia continues to centre on its outstanding versatility, rather than its driving dynamics

The history of the Octavia essentially charts Skoda's growth under Volkswagen Group ownership. It sits on the VW Group's MQB platform that it shares with the Volkswagen Golf and its 28-year history showcases Skoda's rise from budget brand to a credible mainstream brand. 

The fourth-generation Octavia arrived in 2020 as an altogether more mature offering than previous generations, with bolder styling and a plusher interior. And it’s now been given a mid-life facelift, with subtly refreshed exterior styling, an upgraded infotainment display inside and a revamped powertrain line-up – including a new entry-level petrol.  



skoda octavia review 2024 02 panning side

There's something of an old-school charm about the Octavia. In an era when buyers are flocking to SUVs and car firms are pushing plug-in hybrid and full-electric vehicles, it's offered as a hatchback and estate, and with only the merest hint of mild-hybrid electification. No shame in that: Skoda is playing to this car's strengths, and there's still huge appeal for such cars.

Underneath its sharply drawn exterior, the Octavia retains the versatile MQB platform that it first adopted in 2012 and is now used extensively across the Volkswagen Group – albeit in a lightly modified form, with added rigidity and stiffness to its hot-formed steel and aluminium structure.

The fourth-generation Octavia retains the 2686mm wheelbase of the car it replaces but, in a move aimed at providing greater interior accommodation and more load-carrying space, it has grown moderately. The hatch measures 4698mm long, 1829mm wide and 1470mm tall, while the estate is stretched to 4705mm.

The retention of the MQB platform means many of the 'hard points' of the third-generation Octavia are also carried over, such as the electromechanical steering system and the suspension, which uses a combination of MacPherson struts up front and either a torsion beam or multi-link arrangement at the rear, depending on the model, but all with detail changes aimed at making the car more comfortable. There have been some minor tweaks for the facelift because of updated safety regulations.

Overall, there are four chassis options, with top-spec models offered with Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) featuring Driving Mode Select system, as fitted to our test car. The Sportline cars have a 10mm-lower ride height, while bringing adaptive damping and a range of different driving modes that allow you to alter the characteristics of the steering, damping and throttle mapping.

Skoda has mirrored the developments brought to the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf, alongside which the Mk4 Octavia was conceived, by providing the car with a reworked electric architecture. With this comes more advanced active safety systems, including optional adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance with level-two autonomous functions, as well as matrix LED headlights (optional on Sportline models, standard on the forthcoming vRS models).

The design changes for the facelift have been kept purposefully light, although there are new designs of LED lighting and a revamped bumper. It’s subtle but distinctive, and it shouldn’t alienate the many fans of the Octavia.


skoda octavia review 2024 09 interior

With the fourth-generation model, the Octavia took a clear step upmarket, with plenty of premium-looking trim and technology on display in the cabin. That’s been further emphasised by the 2024 facelift, which brings in changes introduced recently on other VW Group models that use the MQB platform.

The most notable is that the Octavia now gets a 13in central touchscreen, while in the UK all but entry-level models also have a 10.25in digital instrument display. The infotainment features redesigned graphics, and the system is generally clear and simple to use.

The system now comes with a permanent internet connection that allows for features and services from Skoda Connect and it will soon feature a ChatGPT-aided AI digital voice assistant, should you like such things.

While the touchscreen has grown, there are still a useful number of physical buttons, both on the lower reaches of the dashboard and the steering wheel. The slightly contentious volume control slider remains, but given you can also adjust the sound with a rotary dial on the steering wheel spoke, that shouldn’t scare you too much.

The cabin feels hugely spacious for a car of this size. Adults will have plenty of room in the back, whether it's in hatch or estate form, and there’s a bright, open feel throughout. Dual-zone climate control is standard, and Skoda has also promised a new function that will turn on all the in-car heating features (front and rear windscreen, steering wheel and seats) with a single button press. 

Equipment includes a wireless smartphone charger and a host of USB-C ports that now offer 45W of output – so they’ll charge your phone three times quicker than before. 

The facelifted Octavia also includes new upholstery, trim and door panels. Skoda trumpets the use of sustainable materials, including recycled fabrics in the seat and trim materials. We’ve so far spent time in a model representing SE Technology and Sportline, and both cabins were pleasant places to be. If anything, the matt trim effects of the SE Technology trim looked and felt nicer than the faux-carbonfibre dash effect featured on the Sportline models.

Another example of Skoda’s sustainability push is found with the leather seats offered on certain trim levels, which are tanned using coffee husks from beans used by the staff at the firm’s Mlada Boleslav factory. They consume around 25 tonnes of coffee a year, if you were wondering.

On the subject of sustainability, that now extends to two of Skoda’s most popular ‘Simply Clever’ features: both the umbrella hidden in the door and the ice scraper in the fuel cap are now made from recycled plastics.

The Octavia has long found appeal because of its practicality, and both the hatch and estate retain a large boot. The hatch has a 600-litre storage compartment and the estate's stretches 640 litres. That gives the Octavia a substantial boost over class rivals such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.


skoda octavia review 2024 13 front tracking

The revised Octavia is being launched in 2024 with a range of five four-cylinder engines: three petrol units and two diesels. At launch, only front-wheel-drive models will be offered, with a high-performance vRS due to follow later this year and all-wheel-drive version in early 2025.

The previous entry-level three-cylinder engine that was offered with the fourth-generation Octavia has been replaced by a 114bhp 1.5-litre TSI unit, which drives through a six-speed manual gearbox. A more potent 147bhp TSI unit is also offered.

Both those powertrains are also available with a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox that features an integrated mild-hybrid unit. While it doesn’t change the output, the mild hybrid system can be used to boost efficiency and smooth acceleration by providing extra power and it enables engine-off coasting.

A 2.0-litre TDI diesel will continue to be offered, either as a 114bhp manual or in 148bhp tune using the mild-hybrid DSG automatic.

The vRS version will have 261bhp and 273lb ft from a 2.0-litre four-pot that it will share with the Volkswagen Golf GTI. The 4x4 will use that engine in 201bhp, detuned form, while the diesel vRS previously offered has been axed.

So far, we’ve tried the entry-level 114bhp petrol, which is expected to be the UK best-seller, in an Octavia hatch, and the 148bhp MHEV diesel in a Sportline estate.

The 114bhp petrol is pleasingly smooth and quiet, and the six-speed manual is crisp to use. That said, the unit does need to be worked somewhat to get the best out of it and it can occasionally struggle if you call for extra power at motorway speeds. That said, it is a pleasant and relaxing unit to drive, and ideal for most use cases.

The extra torque of the diesel can easily be felt throughout the power band, and it serves as a real reminder of the strengths of the fuel: unobtrusive, untroubled long-haul cruising. It’s a refined and quiet unit, capable of making effortless progress, with near-seamless interaction between the combustion engine and the mild hybrid system.

It’s not rapid by any stretch of the imagination and can become a bit breathless beyond 4500rpm, but it manages to deliver fairly vigorous acceleration when you load up the throttle in lower gears, thanks to its 265lb ft peak of torque at 1600rpm.

Both the petrol and diesel feature relatively tall gearing, which helps considerably when it comes to constant motorway cruising, married to the impressively smooth mechanical refinement. 


skoda octavia review 2024 14 rear tracking

The Octavia’s dynamic traits mirror the performance of its engines: there’s a quiet competence to the whole thing that makes for unruffled, pleasing progress. The emphasis is on the overall ease of driving, while the handling is controlled but never excitable. Operate within the car’s limits and it’s satisfying in almost every situation. Just don’t expect much in the way of all-out athleticism. 

The steering isn’t exactly alive with feel and feedback, but it’s accurate and suitably weighted for the Octavia’s positioning. There’s a distinct lightness to the steering wheel at low speeds that makes for excellent manoeuvrability around town and it weights up nicely for greater engagement at higher speeds.

The Octavia corners with a good deal of agility. Turn-in is crisp and precise, while body roll is nicely controlled, with progressive movement as lateral forces rise. 

Our TSI test car was in European Selection trim, which broadly matches the UK’s SE L grade, but featured 18in wheels instead of 17in versions. It was still smooth and unruffled, although on coarser surfaces there was a small amount of jostling, which should be less apparent on smaller wheels, based on previous experience of the pre-facelift Octavia.

Our TDI Sportline model also had 18in wheels, along with Sports suspension and a ride height lowered by 15mm. The impact of that could be felt in the ride on rougher roads, although the ability to adjust the drive modes offered some compensation. And buyers will still find little to complain about.


skoda octavia review 2024 01 tracking front

Having only driven the facelifted Octavia on the launch event in the Czech Republic, it’s too early for us to pass definitive judgement on its running costs. However, the entry-level TSI petrol hatch has an official fuel economy of 49.5-54.3mpg, and our experience suggests it is possible to get close to that figure.

The 2.0 TDI estate with the mild hybrid system has a claimed economy of 57.6-62.7mpg, which, allied to a 45-litre fuel tank, makes it a true long-range warrior. Expect to be able to get close to 500 miles out of a tank.

The Octavia will be launched in the UK with four standard trim levels, all of which will be offered on both hatch and estate models. There are also a number of Design selection interior options.

The line-up will start with SE Technology, priced from £26,775 for the hatch and £27,755 for the estate. That will include 16in wheels, LED front and rear lights, and heated front seats. 

SE L models will start from £31,250 (hatch) and £32,480 (estate) and add 17in wheels, animated rear lights, artificial leather upholstery, adaptive cruise control and other driver assistance features.

Sportline trim will be offered with the more powerful TSI powertrain and will be priced from £32,255 (hatch) and £33,285 (estate). As well as bespoke Sportline design features, the lowered sport suspension and dynamic steering, there are 18in wheels and plentiful gloss black elements.


skoda octavia review 2024 15 rear static

There’s nothing particularly dramatic about this mid-life facelift of the Octavia: instead there are a few well-placed changes and updates that serve to strengthen what was already an excellent all-round package.

It’s not exactly the last word in excitement, but the Octavia does everything it’s designed to do very well. It's a potent blend of practicality, refinement, space and value for money, now mixed with a decent dash of premium allure. It captures the spirt of the Skoda brand – and more importantly offers excellent all-round family motoring.

James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

Skoda Octavia First drives