Skoda Octavia (13 - present)

Of all the Skodas, the Octavia is the one we Irish have really taken to the most. Taxi drivers swear by them, families love them and so many people go back for another when they trade-in. Now into the third generation of the Octavia, it is certainly Skoda’s best work to date. A cleverly designed machine, it has the appearance of a saloon and the practicality of a hatchback. This also means it’s now 90mm longer than the outgoing model, 45mm wider, and has an increased wheelbase of 108mm. Therefore it has a huge amount of space in the boot and lots more leg/head room in the cabin for passengers. The Octavia also looks a lot better. It has an upmarket feel to it now and that is carried over into the cabin. It is noticeably comfortable and there is a lot of spec, especially in the area of connectivity. On the road, there’s little or no wind noise and the handling is much better. The steering feels more responsive and gives a lot more feedback, while the ride quality is smooth and cushions well when driving over uneven surfaces. There’s a decent range of first-rate engines and the low running costs make it easy to keep on the road.

Look out for

•  Optical fault in the rear window can cause distorted view of cars in distance

What we like

•  High levels of practicality; spacious cabin and a large boot

•  There’s an excellent selection of really efficient engines

•  Extensive levels of standard equipment and safety features

•  The interior quality is much improved over the outgoing model

•  It has a fairly reasonable price tag and is inexpensive enough to run

What we don't like

•  The diesel engines can get quite noisy at times