Skoda Octavia

With the fourth generation model the Octavia took a clear step upmarket, with plenty of premium-looking trim and technology on display in the cabin. That’s been further emphasised by the 2024 facelift, which brings in changes introduced on other VW Group models using the MQB platform lately.

The most notable is that the Octavia now features a 13in central touchscreen, while in the UK all but entry level models also feature a 10.25in digital instrument display. The infotainment features redesigned graphics, and the system is generally clear and simple to use.

The system now comes with a permanent internet connection allowing for features and services from Skoda Connect, and will soon feature a ChatGPT-aided AI digital voice assistant, should you like such things.

While the touchscreen has grown there are still a useful number of physical buttons, both on the lower reaches of the dash and the steering wheel. The slightly contentious volume control slider remains, but given you can also adjust the sound with a rotary dial on the wheel spoke that shouldn’t scare you too much.

The cabin feels hugely spacious too for a car of this size. Adults will have plenty of room in the back whether in hatch or estate form, and there’s a bright, open feel throughout. Dual-zone climate control is standard, and Skoda has also promised a new function that will turn on all the in-car heating features (front and rear windscreen, steering wheel and seats) with a single button press. 

Equipment includes a wireless smartphone charger and a host of USB-C ports that now offer 45 watts of output – so they’ll charge your phone three times quicker than before. 

The facelifted Octavia also includes new upholstery, trim and door panels. Skoda trumps the use of sustainable materials, including recycled fabrics in the seat and trim materials.   We’ve so far spent time in a model representing SE Technology and Sportline, and both were pleasant places to be. If anything, the matte trim effects of the SE Technology trim looked and felt nicer than the faux-carbonfibre dash effect featured on the Sportline models.

Another example of Skoda’s sustainability push is found with the leather seats offered on certain trim levels, which are tanned used coffee husks from beans used by the staff at the firm’s Mlada Boleslav factory. They consume around 25 tonnes of coffee a year, if you were wondering.

On the subject of sustainability, that now extends to two of Skoda’s most popular ‘Simply Clever’ features: both the umbrella hidden in the door and the ice scraper in the fuel cap are now made from recycled plastics/

The Octavia has long found appeal due to its practicality, and in both hatch and estate form buyers will be rewarded with a large boot. The hatch has a 600-litre storage compartment, rising to 640 litres for the estate. That gives it a substantial boost over class rivals such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.

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