From £12,6858

Dashboard, infotainment, sat-nav and passenger space

No one stepping into an Skoda Octavia will feel like they have chosen a value alternative. The top of the dashboard is swathed in soft-touch ‘slush’ plastics, the fabrics are good and some of the attention to detail is terrific.

The door bins, for example, are moulded to hold a one-litre drink bottle and the chrome door handles are rubber-backed to enhance their tactile appeal.

The Volkswagen Golf’s rear quarters are roomy, but those of the Octavia are nothing less than palatial. There’s enough legroom for two six-footers to sit comfortably in tandem and the headroom is generous.

Equally impressive is the boot capacity of the saloon. This was a strength of the old Octavia and the boot volume of the new model has grown by 36 litres. With the rear seats in place, the capacity is 560 litres, which grows to 1350 litres when the split folding rear seats are tumbled down.

Although the Octavia estate may not look quite as appetising as its in-house siblings, it certainly provides a bigger helping. At 580 litres with the rear seats up and 1620 litres with them down, the load area trounces that of price rivals such as the Ford Focus estate (475-1525 litres).

The load sill is at an acceptable height, the opening well shaped, and the boot sides of usefully regular design. One major criticism is that the load area isn’t fully flat with the rear seats folded.

Top-specification Elegance models get a false floor that allows for secure storage in a lower compartment, and this also has the effect of creating a flat surface for the whole length of the boot.

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