Founded in 1895, Skoda is one of the world’s oldest car-makers. The Czech Republic manufacturer’s motors are sold in more than 100 countries. 

It’s a proud history and the brand goes from strength to strength, its reputation exemplified by perhaps its best-known model, the Octavia, which has been at the heart of the brand for more than six decades.

I have driven several iterations of the model and ran the rule over the latest version of this admirable car in five-door hatchback form, finding that, when it comes to family motoring, the Octavia really delivers.

Style file
The latest model is longer and wider than its predecessor, has an even larger boot and showcases the latest evolution of the marque’s design language, with its crisp, clean lines and a dynamic, elegant profile.

The interior features a redesigned modular dashboard that has been arranged in different levels, featuring a large, free-standing central display.

The centre console is elegant, uncluttered and adorned with chrome details – as are the door trims and handles. Pleasing soft-touch materials lend the interior a premium look while the LED ambient lighting (an optional extra on our car) indirectly illuminates the front doors, dashboard and footwells.

The driver can choose up to 30 colours and can assign a different colour to the dashboard and front doors than to the footwell.

Asian Image:

The generous level of equipment includes LED lights all round (headlights with daytime running lights, rear lights, front fog lights), headlight washers, light and rain sensor, electrically adjustable, heated and folding door mirrors with auto-dimming and memory function, rear privacy glass, adaptive cruise control, dual zone air conditioning, satnav with 10in touchscreen display, heated front seats, eight speaker sound system, connectivity suite and virtual cockpit with 10.25in display.

Hi-tech safety features include front and rear parking sensors with manoeuvre assist, tyre pressure monitoring and lane assist.

On the practicality front you will find features including five USB ports, variable boot floor and (a really nice detail!) an umbrella located in a door compartment. There are also bag hooks and cargo fasteners in the boot, holders for 1.5-litre bottles in the front and rear doors and an ice-scraper in the fuel filler flap with a tyre tread depth gauge.

Asian Image:

Tech time
The 148bhp, four-cylinder, 1.5-litre petrol engine in our test car featured ‘active cylinder technology’, which automatically shuts down two cylinders when engine load is low, thus reducing consumption, while coated cylinder liners increase engine efficiency.

Asian Image:

On the road
The cabin feels roomy and welcoming, with well thought-out layout and comfortable and supportive microsuede-upholstered seats. The driving experience is satisfying, with the precise six-speed manual gearchange sweetly helping lay down the smooth power. And there’s a ‘drive mode select’ feature which allows the driver to choose between Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport and Individual options.

A capacious boot (600 litres with seat back in place, 1,555 litres with it folded down) ) makes for easy load-carrying. 

Performance figures are: 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds and a top speed of 138 mph, with WLTP combined fuel consumption of 52.8-49mpg and a CO2 figure of 121-130g/km.

Handsome, roomy, practical, comfortable, with strong build quality and top tech, the Octavia is an excellent family motor and a pleasure to drive. Price: £32,430 inc options.