Skoda Octavia 2012 - 2019 guide

Forget about the Golf, as its cousin, the Octavia, is far more practical.

Few hatchbacks are as practical as the Skoda Octavia. The third-generation model built on the success of the Mk2 with an improvement in quality, so this Octavia almost matches the VW Golf Mk7 for upmarket feel. The comparison with the Golf is valid, because both cars share the same platform, while the SEAT Leon and Audi A3 are also similar under the skin. The Octavia has them all beaten for space, though, thanks to its larger body, while the estate version matches larger cars for room.

Non-Volkswagen Group options in the sector include the Ford Focus, Hyundai i30, Kia Ceed, Peugeot 308, Renault Megane, Toyota Auris, Honda Civic, Mazda3 and Nissan Pulsar. Most were also available as estates, but none can match the Octavia for space, especially in the rear.

What's it like?

There are hatchback and estate bodies (although you'll find some sellers mistakenly listing the hatchback as a saloon), and the hatch outnumbers the estate by four cars to one. It's a similar ratio in favour of diesel engines over petrol. The petrol engines comprise 1.0, 1.2, 1.4 and 2.0-litre TSI turbocharged units, while the diesels are 1.6 or 2.0 TDI turbodiesel powerplants with varying outputs.

All engines were available with either five- or six-speed manual gearboxes, or six- or seven-speed DSG twin-clutch automatics. The majority of cars are front-wheel drive, although four-wheel drive was offered on higher-spec models.

The Octavia was facelifted in 2017 with new headlights, although some argue that the pre-facelift model was better looking.

Which model to go for?

The hatchback is spacious, but if you really want to maximise space, then the estate is one of the roomiest family cars you can buy. Its running costs are similar to the hatchback's, too.

We wouldn't rule out the 1.0 TSI if you don't carry much weight on board, because it's punchy for its size. The 1.6 TDI diesel is fine for heavy loads, although the 2.0 TDI is the choice for towing. If saving fuel is a priority, then GreenLine badged models have a more efficient 1.6 TDI, although long gearing makes them feel lethargic to drive.

Four-wheel drive will help in slippery conditions, but we wouldn't try and seek out one especially, unless you're looking at an Octavia Scout estate. This has all-wheel drive a standard, a raised ride height, SUV-style cladding and a decent equipment list, too.

Laurin & Klement (L&K) editions are plush, while the RS models offer hot hatch power in a relatively understated package. They use the same engines and running gear as the VW Golf GTI, and are great all-round performance cars.

Does anything go wrong?

Diesels will benefit from longer runs to keep the DPF exhaust filters clear, while turbos on petrol models can suffer from sooty build-up from a lack of use.

There have been seven recalls against the Octavia Mk3, relating to the airbags, engine bolts, door locks, window seals, suspension and rear-seat headrests, so ensure those items have all been seen to – and insist on a full service history.

Find Skoda dealers Used Skoda for sale