Octavia SE L First Edition Estate
The Skoda Octavia is the Czech automaker’s best-selling model. In the 24 years since the model’s 1996 reintroduction, one in three Skoda customers, from all over the world, have opted for an Octavia. Not to put pressure on the brand, but the latest version is extremely important & Skoda have made some major changes to their most popular car both inside & out.
In a recent interview, Skoda’s Fleet Manager, Henry Williams, told us that even with the anti-diesel rhetoric flying around, many of Skoda’s existing fleet customers will still opt for a diesel. Having said that, it’s refreshing to know that Skoda also offers a range of low emission Octavia petrol models, with pretty impressive fuel economy. These include a 1.0 TSI e-TEC mild hybrid, with a 110pS unit & a 48-volt Li-on battery, costing from £23,025 OTR. And, even better, in the new Octavia range, they have also introduced a plug-in hybrid version, the iV, which will further enhance the appeal of the range, especially within the corporate sector.
From launch, the cheapest Octavia is the SE First Edition, powered by a 1.5 TSI turbo petrol engine, with 148bhp, costing £22,390. Depending on engine & trim, the Octavia Estate has a premium of £950 to £1,400 per model, so expect to pay more for an estate.
It was diesel Octavia Estate that made it’s way to Company Car in the form of the SE L First Edition powered by the 2.0 TDI 150PS engine, served by the tried & tested Volkswagen Group, 7-speed DSG gear box.
New Octavia’s off to a good start. The new model looks & feels more elegant, whilst inside, everything has a premium look to it & it’s undoubtedly the poshest Octavia yet. Just a quick look at the standard SE L spec gives the game away; 17″ Rotare AERO alloys, 5 USB C ports ( more of those later ), 8 speakers, Adaptive Cruise Control, Columbus SatNav with 10″ touchscreen, keyless entry, StartStop, electrically adjustable drivers seat with memory & lumbar, rear privacy glass, a Virtual 10.25″ Cockpit, Smartlink for Android Auto & wireless Smartlink for AppleCarPlay, the list goes on.
And that doesn’t include a raft of safety features. You are able to utilise Predictive Pedestrian Protection which complements Front Assist. Thanks to the rear radar, Blind Spot Detection & Rear Traffic Alert ensure safe lane changes and also help while reversing out of a parking space. The rear-view camera displays the car’s immediate surroundings via the on-board monitor.
The cabin is lovely. The two spoke leather trimmed steering wheel is very nice, so to the microsuede upholstery & dash panel. The Virtual Cockpit looks great & the new landscape infotainment screen, which fits snugly in the centre dash, is top notch. Attention to detail is most definitely there.
As with all Octavia’s, both front & rear seat occupants have lots of head & legroom. Cabin storage though is only adequate. For example, neither of the centre binnacle drinks holders are large enough for a medium sized water bottle & the between front seats lift-up armrest storage, isn’t deep enough to hold much at all.
There’s better news in the boot though. The new model isn’t actually any larger than the previous model, with just a few millimetres added to the length & width. So as before, you get a 640-litre boot rising to 1,700 litres with the rear seats folded. The boot is easily accessed & also features an adjustable floor, another useful feature.
On the road, the the 7-speed DSG gearbox is reliably good & delivers exactly what you want, when you want it. There’s a choice of four driving modes; Eco, Normal, Sport & Individual. Sport is fun, whilst we utilised. Eco on there motorway. For every day driving we would stick with Normal, which offer’s a happy compromise.
The ride quality is quite soft, bit this makes for especially relaxing motorway driving. Which was good, because we spent a lot of time on the motorway in our week, averaging 58.6 mpg, close to the claimed WLTP figures of of 60.1-52.3 mpg. CO2 emissions are 123-141g/km.
The 10.25″ touchscreen display is completely new, comes with a crisp display, & rapid response. However, Skoda have included the climate control within this, to un-clutter the dashboard & getting the right menu up to alter this was a little frustrating. Skoda has though, included some idiot proof buttons underneath the screen, one of which is for the climate control, so that’s a good thing. The infotainment system as a whole whilst looking the part, does I feel contain too sub-menus, which can be distracting whilst on the move. Over time, I’m sure that using it day to day would become second nature.
Whilst we seamlessly connected to Apple Car Play, utilising AppleCar Play for Google Maps, it’s worth mentioning that the Columbus system SatNav on the Octavia, is one of the best we’ve encountered.
The Volkswagen Group have set their stall out by fitting their latest models with USB type C ports, which means, that even with a superb five inputs in the Octavia , you’ll need to buy several converters, which would be quite annoying.
Octavia’s have always been great value for money & there are better model’s in the range than the SE L First Edition, to spend your money on. The recommended OTR price was £29,525 & with extras this topped out at £32,960. This included a Head up Display for £690, that with the excellent Virtual Cockpit, I hardly noticed.
Despite these caveat’s when it come’s down to it, the latest Octavia range, still offers most of what customers want from this Skoda, namely, a reliable, bullet proof, value for money & extremely useful family estate. It’s further enhanced by being really good to drive, whilst carrying five adults & their luggage in comfort. The new interior is tasty & it will also return almost 60mpg , which for fleet customers is great news.
And finally & perhaps most importantly, the Octavia doesn’t like to shout about any of this, which is so refreshing in this Instagram age.
Overall, a crowd pleasing 4/5.