The 2018 Skoda Octavia really took me by surprise. There was a voice in my head telling me it ‘wont be as nice’ as a Volkswagen Golf, but having driven the car in and around the city, as well as on a couple of longer road trips, I am happy to say it's comfortable, stylish and super functional.
Inside, the Octavia impressed. The infotainment is clear, bright and easy to use, with a 8.0-inch touchscreen featuring phone mirroring, which I now cannot live without. Everything is easy to navigate, and the rear-view camera is nice and clear – however, I do now keep a microfibre cloth in the centre console.
There are nice chrome touches and soft plastics across the dash, as well as sturdy-feeling switchgear. There are some noticeable uses of hard plastics on the doors and the centre console, but I don’t find that they take away from my driving experience. The steering wheel really lifts that experience too; it feels great in the hand and has intuitive controls for multimedia and the instrument display.
My only real gripe with the cabin is the cluster of buttons on the centre console. I found myself bumping the boot-open button while stopped in traffic, and having to pull over or hop out to close it again.
Driving the car was an enjoyable experience. Around town, the 110TSI has enough grunt to confidently manoeuvre the city streets, which works well with the seven-speed DSG – I didn’t notice many issues at low speeds either. On the freeway, it’ll happily plod along at 110km/h and overtake when you need it. The Octavia does, however, struggle to get power down off the line. If you accelerate hard, you'll be seeing the ESC light in no time.
The ride is firm but comfortable. I found it made the car feel agile around town, and well planted on the freeway. However, with a slew of camping gear in the back, I did feel a little extra sharpness over bumps. AEB and forward alerts work well, as does the radar-guided cruise control, but you have to pay extra for lane-keep assist, auto parking etc.
The Octavia is a star when it comes to interior space. For its size, I am thoroughly impressed by the space both in the boot, and for passengers both front and rear. Every single time I have had passengers in the back, they have commented on how much room they have. It's just a shame there are no rear USBs.
Overall, the Skoda Octavia 110TSI has proven to be comfortable and practical in the city and during long drives. I'd add lane-keep assist if you're on the highway a lot, but if you’re in the market for a medium-sized wagon, you definitely need to take a look at the Octavia.