9 February 2024

Skoda Octavia Sportline review: Trish Whelan, Irish Car

Skoda’s Octavia model, introduced here in 1998, has been particularly successful in rural Ireland with its competitive price, efficient diesel engines, build quality and durability. The current Skoda Octavia family consists of the Octavia Sportline and the Combi estate. The Octavia RS TDI diesel (€47,845) will cease production in early 2024. 

My latest Skoda test drive was in the special Octavia Sportline hatchback. From the outside, this fourth generation Octavia is a sleek family car that is longer and wider than the previous model. It almost resembles a coupe for styling with beautifully balanced proportions and is one of the most aerodynamic cars in its segment with an impressive 0.24 drag coefficient. The suspension has been lowered by 15mm which improves handling. In addition to from some special features, the Sportline logo adorns both front wings. 

The spacious interior allows five adults to travel in comfort. Sports seats with integrated headrests are upholstered in nice dark fabric but I really expected a bit more sporty flair to the interior. Seats are comfy and front ones can be heated. That said, there was a good bit of piano black trim and nice tweed-like material across the dash but really nothing exceptional. Still, all very practical materials that should wear well for a family car, which is absolutely fine. There’s huge room in the rear where the middle seat is of a good size. However, as this is an ICE powered car, there is a transmission tunnel for the person seated in that middle seat to have to contend with. You’ll find pockets on the backs of the front seats and a special little pocket for your mobile phone and some small USB C ports. 

Centre dash are two large 10.25-inch digital screen displays that are easy to use. Both with lovely graphics. A lot of features are controlled through the big infotainment screen including ventilation (there are no physical buttons for the climate control) but you always see the dual zone temperature readings on the screen so can fairly easily adjust the settings while on the move. There are also short cut buttons below this screen. As there is no volume control knob, you swipe across a touch slider instead. I really prefer knobs for volume. Features include gesture and voice control. A phone box with wireless charging, 2 USB-C ports, a 230 V socket and a small USB C in the rear-view mirror for if you use a dash cam, help keep you connected. 

Cubbies are a jumbo sized box in the adjustable armrest between the front seats, a decent glovebox and good sized door bins that come carpeted. Other features are a good reversing camera and parking sensors, but alas, no blind spot cover. I turned off the loud lane departure warning alerts that often came on even when I was driving in the centre of my lane. Boot space is a generous 600 litres which is just 40 litres less than the Octavia Combi estate version. With rear seats folded this extends to a huge 1555 litres. You can lower the back seats using levers on the sides of the car. A handy double-sided boot liner has a washable surface on one side and carpeting on the other. The spec included an electric tailgate and spare wheel. 

Transmissions are 6-speed manuals and 7-speed DSG automatics. My car was the 1.5 TSi turbo petrol version with 150hp mated to a lovely 6-speed manual gearbox and returning an official fuel return of 5.6/100kms. Torque is 250Nm and road tax €200. During my lengthy time with the car, I achieved 5.8 L/100kms which is plenty frugal for a car this size. 

On the road, I found the steering a bit on the light side but soon became used to it and appreciated the car’s great drivability and handling. I noticed the petrol gauge hardly moved until after a few days of driving. In 2022, Octavia was awarded the maximum 5-star safety rating in Euro NCAP crash tests. 

Priced from: €30,245. My test car €40,700 + Metallic paint