Skodas have traditionally been simple, straightforward, no-nonsense cars, and they are themes that are largely continued inside the latest Skoda Octavia

We say ‘largely’, because the introduction of the Rapid, which has allowed the Octavia to be pushed towards the mainstream ‘large family’ sector, means that Skoda has felt compelled to offer some smart technology options.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
The carrier bag hooks in the boot are great but why not put one in the front footwell?

We’ll come to those in a moment, but, by and large, if you like getting more space than you expect and simple, clear controls, you’ll like what the Octavia offers. The driver’s and front passenger’s seats are large and flat but remain comfortable over distances, while generous storage cubbies abound, including places that will take a 1.5-litre water bottle.

The rear seats are similarly accommodating, and even large occupants will be able to get comfortable. Wide door openings, a broad seat base and generous headroom are all present and correct. The rear seatbacks fold (although they don’t leave a flat floor, which is only a mild disappointment) in front of a large boot. 

With those rear seats in place, the load space amounts to 590 litres, rising to 1590 litres with the seats folded. The big, heavy tailgate takes a bit of lifting, but at least it means there’s a large opening.

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

The cabin’s design, meanwhile, is relatively clean and simple. The dials are crisp and additional display systems easy to read, backed up by large buttons. The recent facelift has also done wonders to lift the appeal of the cabin to give a added plushness and moderness to an already ergonomically pleasing cabin.

Basic Skoda Octavia models are sensibly equipped, despite the low price tag, with six trim levels to choose from - S, SE, SE-L, Laurin & Klement, Scout and vRS

Entry-level S models come with 16in alloy wheels, LED headlights and rear lights, tinted rear windows, hill hold assist, advanced electronic locking differential, air conditioning, electric front windows, and electrically adjustable and heated wing mirrors as standard. Also fitted is Skoda's 6.5in touchscreen Bolero infotainment system complete with DAB radio, smartphone connectivity, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and eight speakers.

SE models get added niceties such as 16in alloy wheels, front foglights, cruise control, rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, electric rear windows, pockets on the rear of the front seats and two large cubbyholes which are air conditioned. Upgrade to the mid-range the SE-L trim and you'll find your Octavia kitted out in 17in alloy wheels, full LED headlights, an Alcantara and leather upholstery, auto-dimming rear view mirror, front assist emergency braking, automatic lights and wipers, and the very British umbrellas under the front seats. There is also an upgraded infotainment system complete with an 8.0in touchscreen display, sat nav and wifi hotspot.

The luxurious and range-topping Laurin & Klement trim gives the Octavia 18in alloy wheels, cornering front foglights, LED rear lights, heated front seats, an electrically adjustable driver's seat, LED ambient interior lighting, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry and start, numerous safety techonologies, a heated steering wheel and auto-dimming and folding wing mirrors. If that wasn't enough you also get a 9.2in infotainment touchscreen display and a Canton audio system as standard too.

The rugged, off-road capable Scout gets all the standard equipment as the SE trimmed Octavia, plus adaptive LED headlights, silver roof rails, tinted rear windows, a rugged looking bodykit with lots of plastic moulded fitments, an Alcantara and leather upholstery, LED ambient interior lighting, a dedicated off-road mode, engine guard and underbody stone guard, heated front seats and steering wheel, auto dimming rear-view mirror, and a removable boot light. As for the infotainment system Skoda has kitted out the Scout with its Amundsen version complete with an 8.0in touchscreen display, sat nav and an integrated wifi hotspot.

Those after a few more thrills from their Octavia can opt for the vRS, which is available with either an 181bhp 2.0TDI engine and four-wheel drive, while there is also a 227bhp 2.0TSI unit which powered the pre-facelifted vRS 230. Regardless of which powertrain you choose the equipment level is the same - 18in alloy wheels, adaptive full LED headlights, vRS-specific foglights, an aggressive vRS bodykit, red brake calipers, sports seats, an advanced traction control system, auto wipers and lights and Skoda's Amundsen infotainment system. Opt for the vRS 245, you will get the same power as a Golf GTI Performance and 19in alloy wheels, a rortier exhaust and a full Alcantara upholstery thrown into the package.

Save money on your car insurance

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week