You can ignore the talk about repositioning; the Octavia remains the same value-added hatch that we know and rate. 

It’s a bigger one, yes, but if Skoda was serious about turning this car into a Volkswagen Passat rival, it wouldn’t have made it cheaper than an equivalent Golf.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
We'd like the Octavia to be just a bit more engaging to drive

Nonetheless, the car’s practicality is outstanding, while material quality and equipment are as good as anything at the price. Factor in the Octavia's range of decent engines and low running costs, and the overall package is an appealing and sensible one, even despite its questionable post-facelift face.

Consequently, those looking for comfortable, robust, well appointed family transport could do no better; ultimately, that’s what earns the Skoda Octavia its fourth full road test star.

It's hard not to imagine the grabbing the attention of those who were considering something Ford Mondeo-sized too, which will go a considerable way to helping Skoda achieve its aims of getting the Octavia into the top ten global best-sellers. 

But those who prefer their hatchbacks with a bit of an edge might not be wholly satisfied with this Skoda. Performance that’s only adequate, dynamics that do little to engage and styling that’s inoffensive but bland aren’t quite what we expect from a mature European car maker. 

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Having mastered the art of the functional, that’s exactly what Skoda must now aspire to be.

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