Numerous friends and family have consequently abandoned their preconceptions of the Škoda brand and opened their mind to this great vehicle.
Build quality and trim is certainly not an issue, as the car seems very solidly put together. Its understated styling, a little too tame for a real hot hatch, helps make it appealing to conservative older drivers, who once past the badge snobbery learn to appreciate its strengths.
This is a car that multi-tasks extremely competently, thanks to its decent power delivery and supple ride. When there’s just the driver on board it becomes a B-road blast. It lacks the precise pointiness of some rivals due to its size, but is still a fine handling car.
Fill it with the family for a day trip and it will sit at cruising speed for hours without leaving the kids with travel sickness.
Unlike some test cars, our Octavia vRS has not been loaded with thousands of pounds worth of luxurious options. The only non-standard items are 18in alloys, rear electric windows and an air-conditioning cooled storage box, so we can be confident that the car represents a realistic retail proposition.
At the price, it deserves serious consideration by anyone seeking a fun, family car.
Price (as tested): £18,275
Engine: 2.0-litre, 20 valve, FSI
Performance: 0-62mph 7.3sec; top speed 149mph
Efficiency: 35.8mpg; 190g/km CO2
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Test period: June-September
Start mileage: 421
Current mileage: 5,133
CAP RV 3yr/30k: £7,300 (42%)
CAP RV 3yr/60k: £6,125 (35%)
Rivals: Golf GTI, Vauxhall Astra VXR, Renault Mégane Renaultsport, Mazda6 MPS, Ford Focus ST
Likes: All-round capability
Dislikes: Rear visibility impaired