New Skoda Octavia

packs in the value

Skoda Octavia, 2017, front, action
Skoda Octavia, 2017, rear, action
Skoda Octavia, 2017, boot
Skoda Octavia, 2017, interior
Skoda Octavia, 2017, dashboard
Skoda Octavia, 2017, display screen
Skoda Octavia Estate, 2017, front
Skoda Octavia Estate, 2017, rear
Skoda Octavia Estate, 2017, display screen
Skoda Octavia Estate, 2017, rear seats
Skoda Octavia Estate, 2017, boot
Skoda Octavia Estate, 2017, boot, maximum
Skoda Octavia, 2017, ice scraper
Skoda Octavia, 2017, ice scraper
Skoda Octavia, 2017, bottle holder
Skoda Octavia, 2017, umbrella

IF size matters then the Skoda Octavia is quids in.

Pound for pound no other family car has as much space and it's a feature which has propelled the Octavia to be Skoda's top seller in the UK.

The current version - launched as an estate and a hatch four years ago - has notched up more than five million sales worldwide and last year in Britain sales hit 23,000, up two per cent on the previous year.

Now the Octavia is getting even more serious with a significant mid-life makeover that sees a new look inside and out.

A revised grille, a wider front apron, new look four lens headlamp arrangement - with an LED option - and wider rear haunches bring the car bang up to date.

Inside and under the bonnet there are even greater changes.

A 1.0-litre three cylinder turbo petrol engine replaces the previous entry level 1.2-litre models and it's a sensational performer.

Priced from £17,195 it sees the range going up in price by about £700 on average but the new models come loaded with extra equipment.

Across the five model line up all Octavias now come with alloy wheel, LED tail lights, an electronic differential for better handling and a touchscreen infotainment system that is compatible with all smartphones.

On the safety front there's also an advanced pedestrian detection system which will apply emergency braking if needed at speeds of between six and 40mph and a post collision stopping device.

It all stacks up to great value for money and even the range topping versions powered by 2.0-litre diesels with DSG semi-automatic gearboxes start from less than £29,000. The estate models, with their gargantuan cargo capacity cost £1,200 more.

Then there are the little touches which characterise Skodas such as an ice-scraper fitted inside the fuel filler cap, a torch in the boot, an umbrella stowed under the front seat and even a clever cup holder which locks a bottle in place to enable a screw cap to be undone with one hand.

Options include a wireless phone charger and, for winter mornings, a heated steering wheel.

In this price bracket the Octavia is serious value for money and it's a car that punches above its weight in all departments.

The legroom in the rear is immense and the luggage capacity is legendary. The hatch offers a boot space ranging from 590 to 1,580 litres and the estate has even more at 610 to 1,740 litres.

New trim and a redesigned facia centred on a glass-covered touchscreen as well as restyled controls are a move upmarket and the Octavia is high on connectivity with fast data Wi-Fi and automatic emergency assistance all available.

From a driving perspective there are no quibbles whatsoever and we have just sampled then new 1.0-litre model as well as some 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesels.

Each returned average fuel figures in the high 50s on long country runs and all had plenty of power when required.

The 1.0-litre is particularly impressive but available only in the lower grade S and SE models. It develops 115ps, has a 0 to 60 6ime of 9.9 seconds and a top speed of 126mph and cruises at motorway speeds with ease.

Officially it is rated at 58.9mpg with emissions of 109g/km and that is exactly what it achieved on our run.

The two diesels also came in with similar fuel returns although the 2.0-litre has an official figure of 65.7mpg (113g/km) and the 1.6 68.9mpg with a CO2 banding of 106g/km.

The 1.6 - with a five speed manual transmission - felt livelier through the gears than the bigger six-speed diesel but neither was lacking and for largish family hatchbacks they are delightfully nimble.

Blind spot alerts and lane departure systems are also being introduced on the new Octavias and so is a trailer assist set up which helps manoeuvring when hitched up. There's also a reversing sensor which will apply the brakes automatically if an obstacle is detected - and that's something which will prove handy for many a driver.

The 1.0-litre hatch we tried was priced at £20,030, the 1.6 diesel at £23,170 and the 2.0-litre estate at £24,290 - bargains in anyone's book for what you get for your buck.

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