Skoda may have sold six million examples of the Octavia since 1996, but we think it can expect to sell a great deal more.

In diesel-powered estate form, the fourth-generation car not only hits high notes in terms of its fuel economy, ease of use and interior space, but in the right specification it will also offer better value than most of its rivals.

It leads the charge to take Skoda upmarket, and mostly succeeds

Admittedly, these traits will be familiar to owners of the previous Octavia and, to some extent, the one before that. But the newcomer brings an interior that no longer leaves Skoda’s mid-sized model feeling quite so obviously placed on the bottom rung of the Volkswagen Group product line-up, and the car has swapped some utilitarian charm for an ambience that’s more traditionally alluring.

However, our choice of engine might not be the diesel tested here. It yields reasonable performance, but petrol options – or, better still, the upcoming plug-in hybrids – would do better in terms of refinement. There is also room for improvement with the otherwise capable infotainment system. Skoda should be wary of its new minimalist approach in terms of switchgear. This is an otherwise extremely capable and competent machine.

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