If the letters ‘MQB’ aren’t already part of your automotive lexicon, the Skoda Octavia is yet another reminder why they should be. 

The Volkswagen Group’s modular platform underpins a large number of models across the various brands. The key to that breadth of application is flexibility, evidenced here by the fact that the Octavia’s wheelbase is a full 50mm longer than that of the Volkswagen Golf and 108mm longer than its predecessor’s

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Ice scraper fitted inside the fuel flap is a neat touch

The effect is a dramatic enhancement of rear legroom, far-flung C-pillars and a 90mm addition to the previous car’s total length (18mm is concealed in a shorter front overhang). 

What the bigger body doesn’t do, impressively, is add to the second-generation car’s kerb weight. Better selection of materials – not least the greater use of high-tensile steel in the platform – and lighter components mean that Skoda claims as much as a 102kg weight saving over the previous Octavia

But it’s worth mentioning that our scales recorded a 110kg difference between the maker’s quote and reality, which suggests that equipment spec has a significant impact on the final figure. 

Despite also growing in height and width, the repercussions for the styling are deftly handled. This remains a well proportioned car; it’s anonymous, and cursed with a huge tailgate to manhandle, but it never appears ungainly or oversized.

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Under the fluff, the Octavia gets a new suspension set-up — albeit one still made up of MacPherson struts at the and a torsion beam rear axle – and, for now, is offered with a choice of four engines. 

All are familiar VW Group units: the 1.0 TSI and 1.4 TSI constitute the petrol line-up, while the all-important diesel options are covered by the 1.6 TDI and the 2.0 TDI range-topper

High-performance vRS versions get more dramatic power outputs from the 2.0 TSI and TDI engines, as well as the more sophisticated multi-link rear suspension that the regular models are denied.

There are some models which comes with four-wheel drive, including the Octavia Scout and the 2.0-litre diesel vRS.

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