Review: Skoda Octavia (2004 – 2013)

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Well thought of by owners. Huge boot. Spacious and comfortable cabin. Reasonable to drive. Efficient Greenline TDI models.

Drab interior. Early TDI PD engines noisy. Plastic timing belt pulleys can fail early on 1.6-litre engines. ABS/ESP brake sensor problem. Air con problems common. Timing chains fail on EA888 1.8 and 2.0TSIs from 2009 to 2012.

Skoda Octavia (2004 – 2013): At A Glance

Forget the badge on the bonnet, the Skoda Octavia is an accomplished mid-size hatchback and quite good value for money. Although on price it competes with hatches like the Ford Focus, the Skoda Octavia is similar in size to larger cars like the Volkswagen Passat and has a cavernous boot that can carry more than the latest Ford Mondeo. There's plenty of space in the cabin too, which has a solid feel to it.

Volkswagen owns Skoda and as a result the Octavia is well built and drives well too. It has decent road manners, a smooth ride and is refined at speed, making it great if you spend a lot of time on the motorway. It also gets good standard equipment with even the basic models getting climate control and electric windows while the top of the range models are lavishly kitted out and still reasonably priced.

The Skoda Octavia was facelifted in early 2009 and given a more upmarket look with new headlights the most noticeable change. The interior was revamped with a much more sophisticated feel but the big changes came under the bonnet. The noisy 2.0 TDI PD engine was replaced by a smoother TDI CR engine (the CR stands for common rail) while a great little chain cam 1.4 TSI with water cooled turbo was also introduced.

These combine to make the Octavia an even better value proposition, but if you're looking to really keep running costs down, then the Greenline model is the one to go for. Thanks to an efficient 1.6 TDI it can average 64.2mpg while CO2 emissions of just 114g/km mean it's cheap to tax too.

Skoda 10 Years V RS

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What does a Skoda Octavia (2004 – 2013) cost?

List Price from £21,515
Buy new from £16,376
Contract hire from £137.16 per month

Skoda Octavia (2004 – 2013): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4569–4572 mm
Width 1769 mm
Height 1462–1485 mm
Wheelbase 2578 mm

Full specifications

The quality of the cabin impresses as much as the exterior. It's solid, nicely put together using decent quality fabrics and plastics. Seat and steering wheel are adjustable in every plane apart from sideways. And there are plenty of cubbies and grippy holes to put things.

Child seats that fit a Skoda Octavia (2004 – 2013)

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What's the Skoda Octavia (2004 – 2013) like to drive?

We tried two versions, both diesels, first the 105PS 1.9 TDI PD, then the 140 PS 2.0 TDI 16v 6-speed.

Instead of being merely amiable, the 105 can lift its skirts and is a quick cruiser. There's still plenty to come at 80 - 90 and no problem hitting 120. I'm emphasising this here so you won't think the 105 involves any significant sacrifice for much less money than the 140. It's easily as quick as most people are ever likely to want it to be. Like the Golf V TDI 105 PD, fifth gear gives you about 30mph per 1,000 rpm.

It not only reaches the speeds, it also handles them with excellent road feel and stability in fast cornering. This counters a slight criticism that the ride is on the firm side of soft. It doesn't crash and bang over pot-holes and ripples, but it doesn't completely absorb them either. And a downer of the 1.9 TDI is that so far it remains Euro III, so is subject to an 18% rather than 15% BIK tax base for company car drivers.

So, on to its more powerful big brother, the TDI PD 140 16v 6-speed. I had the same problem with this as I did with the SEAT Altea. At low speeds on tight roads in second gear it feels almost too powerful. You get no power then too much of it all once, like a catapult. Obviously an owner would get used to this and adapt to it. But on first acquaintance it really wasn't very pleasant. Where the car comes into its own is that, like the Golf V TDI PD 140, it's a stunning main road high-speed cruiser.

Top gear gives about 33.5mph per 1,000 rpm, so at 100 the engine is only turning a happy and quiet 3,000 rpm. This means it's very relaxed, yet at the same time, between 85 and 95 you feel you're bang on optimum power, and if that isn't enough for you, you can block-change from 6th to 4th and whack past anything as if it isn't there. So it's a very safe overtaker too.

Which to choose between the 105 and the 140 depends on how much you have to spend and what sort of discount you can get. But on list price the 105 starts at £12,780 and the 140 at £15,300. I'd find it hard to justify spending an extra £2,500 of my money to buy the 140.

There is obviously a lot more to the Octavia range than these two diesels. The launch range includes a 75bhp 1.4 16v at a low £10,750. There will be automatic TDI PD 105s, a TDI PD 140 DSG and 1.6 and 2.0 litre FSIs with 5-speed manual, 6-speed manual, 5-speed Tiptronic or 6-speed DSG transmissions. The fire breathing petrol turbo will not come until next year, probably with 190 - 225 bhp.

Should you go for one? Well obviously if a larger body, much bigger boot and lower price have more appeal to you than the status to be derived from buying a Golf, then definitely. While the boot size, handling and general performance also make the new Octavia worth considering against cars the next size up, like the Mondeo, Vectra, Primera and Laguna. More importantly, Skoda has finally thrown off the old mantle of joke cars. The new Octavia is a proper, well-built car, in the same class as a Golf. It's a car to be proud of, if that wasn't already Toyota's line.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.2 TSI 50 mpg 10.8 s 134 g/km
1.2 TSI DSG 48 mpg 10.8 s 136 g/km
1.2 TSI DSG Estate 48 mpg 10.9 s 136 g/km
1.2 TSI Estate 50 mpg 10.9 s 134 g/km
1.4 16V 40–44 mpg 14.2–14.3 s 149–167 g/km
1.4 16V Estate 44 mpg 14.4 s 149 g/km
1.4 TSI 45 mpg 9.7 s 148 g/km
1.4 TSI DSG 45 mpg 9.7 s 147 g/km
1.4 TSI DSG Estate 45 mpg 9.8 s 147 g/km
1.4 TSI Estate 45 mpg 9.8 s 148 g/km
1.6 FSI 43 mpg 11.2 s 158 g/km
1.6 FSI Estate 43 mpg 11.4 s 158 g/km
1.6 MPI 38–40 mpg 12.3 s 166–176 g/km
1.6 MPI Estate 38–39 mpg 12.4 s 168–176 g/km
1.6 TDI 63 mpg 11.8–11.9 s 119 g/km
1.6 TDI 4x4 Estate 52 mpg 12.7 s 141 g/km
1.6 TDI DSG 60 mpg 12.0 s 123 g/km
1.6 TDI DSG Estate 60 mpg 12.1 s 123 g/km
1.6 TDI Estate 63 mpg 11.9 s 119 g/km
1.6 TDI Greenline 74 mpg 11.4 s 99 g/km
1.6 TDI Greenline Estate 69 mpg 11.4 s 107 g/km
1.8 FSI 38 mpg 8.1 s 176 g/km
1.8 TSI 38–43 mpg 7.8–8.1 s 155–176 g/km
1.8 TSI 4x4 Estate 37 mpg 8.1 s 180 g/km
1.8 TSI DSG 43 mpg 7.8 s 155 g/km
1.8 TSI DSG Estate 43 mpg 7.9 s 155 g/km
1.8 TSI Estate 36–43 mpg 7.9–8.4 s 155–182 g/km
1.9 TDI 48–58 mpg 11.8–12.2 s 130–155 g/km
1.9 TDI 4x4 Estate 47 mpg 12.9–13.0 s 159 g/km
1.9 TDI Estate 48–55 mpg 11.9–12.3 s 135–155 g/km
2.0 FSI 37 mpg 9.3 s 181 g/km
2.0 FSI 4x4 Estate 33 mpg 9.7 s 205 g/km
2.0 TDI 4x4 Estate 45 mpg 9.9 s 165 g/km
2.0 TDI CR 58–59 mpg 9.5–9.6 s 126–129 g/km
2.0 TDI CR 110 59 mpg 11.0 s 126 g/km
2.0 TDI CR 110 Estate 58 mpg 11.1 s 129 g/km
2.0 TDI CR 4x4 DSG Estate 48 mpg 9.9 s 156 g/km
2.0 TDI CR 4x4 Estate 50 mpg 9.8 s 148 g/km
2.0 TDI CR DSG 53 mpg 9.6 s 138 g/km
2.0 TDI CR DSG Estate 52 mpg 9.7 s 143 g/km
2.0 TDI CR Estate 48–58 mpg 9.6–10.1 s 129–155 g/km
2.0 TDI PD 47–51 mpg 9.6 s 145–158 g/km
2.0 TDI PD 4x4 Estate 45 mpg 9.9 s 166 g/km
2.0 TDI PD Estate 44–51 mpg 9.7–10.2 s 145–173 g/km
Scout 2.0 FSI 33 mpg 10.0 s 207 g/km
Scout 2.0 TDI CR DSG Estate 46 mpg 10.2 s 162 g/km
Scout 2.0 TDI PD 44 mpg 10.2 s 173 g/km
vRS 2.0 FSI DSG 37 mpg 7.2 s 180 g/km
vRS 2.0 TDI CR 50 mpg 8.3 s 149 g/km
vRS 2.0 TDI CR DSG 47 mpg 8.3 s 159 g/km
vRS 2.0 TDI CR DSG Estate 47 mpg 8.4 s 159 g/km
vRS 2.0 TDI CR Estate 50 mpg 8.4 s 149 g/km
vRS 2.0 TDI PD 50 mpg 8.5 s 151 g/km
vRS 2.0 TDI PD Estate 48 mpg 8.6 s 156 g/km
vRS 2.0 TFSI 36–38 mpg 7.2–7.3 s 175–188 g/km
vRS 2.0 TFSI DSG Estate 37 mpg 7.3 s 180 g/km
vRS 2.0 TFSI Estate 36–38 mpg 7.3–7.5 s 175–188 g/km

Real MPG average for a Skoda Octavia (2004 – 2013)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

25–70 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Skoda Octavia (2004 – 2013)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

I want to replace my Ford C-Max soon - what Estate do you suggest?

I'm thinking of replacing my Ford C-Max next year. The contenders are a Volvo V50, Skoda Octavia Estate or VW Passat Estate? What are the pitfalls of purchasing a high mileage vehicle (75,000+ miles and around 10 years old.) I need an estate with enough room for a large dog crate and comfortable enough for someone with a bad back.
Provided they've been serviced regularly, you'd probably be better buying a high-mileage diesel than a low-mileage one. Diesels are best suited to regular motorway driving to clear the diesel particulate filter. I'd be worried about buying one with low miles that's mainly been used for local journeys around town. Bear in mind that a 10-year-old car with 75k on the clock will only have covered 7500 miles a year, which is pretty low. Out of your shortlist, the Octavia represents the best value for money.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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