There are two 1.0-litre TSI petrols, one with mild-hybrid tech, as well as a 1.5-litre TSI unit, while the 2.0-litre TDI we’re running is the only diesel available. The iV PHEV will arrive soon, powered by a 1.4-litre petrol engine and a 101bhp electric motor.
The diesel just about wins the CO2 race, with emissions starting from 113g/km – 2g fewer than the mild-hybrid 1.0 TSI. Our first long-termer is finished in Race Blue metallic paint, a £595 option and a welcome addition for Autocar’s photographers, who always want brightly coloured cars to shoot. It’s not the norm, though: historically, the most popular colour is Quartz Grey. That’s not surprising when you consider that the Octavia is the safe, sensible bet for businesses, to which 80% of its sales go.
A few other options have been added to our £26,060 SE L model, which is already heavily specified, although I suspect that the most welcome for this current season will be the £935 Winter Pack.
It’s early days with the Octavia, and so far it has matched my expectations, and that’s no bad thing. It feels like a trusty, middle-of-theroad car that’s hugely practical, easy to drive and comfortable, without setting your heart on fire.
On limited lockdown journeys around town, the relatively light steering means manoeuvring is easy while refinement swallows up speed bumps. The next few months will prove whether this car is as effortless as early impressions suggest.
The new Octavia is by no means the most exciting long-termer I could imagine running, but I have absolutely no doubt that it will fit seamlessly into Rachel’s life. That is what’s so appealing about these cars: they just get on with the job of being comfortable, practical, no-nonsense daily transport with minimal fuss or bother. Bland but very easygoing.
Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI 114 SE L specification
Specs: Price New £26,060 Price as tested £29,220 OptionsBlindspot detection £500, head-up display £690, LED interior light package £260, metallic paint £595, steel spacesaver spare wheel £180, Winter Pack £935
Test Data: Engine 1968cc, 4cyls, turbocharged diesel Power 114bhp at 2750rpm Torque 221lb ft at 1600rpm Kerb weight 1360kg Top speed 128mph 0-62mph 10.4sec Fuel economy 65.7mpg CO2 111g/km Faults None Expenses None