New Skoda Octavia is bigger, better and cheaper than the Volkswagen Golf

COLONEL Sanders would never share his secret recipe.

Nor would Kellogg’s or Coca-Cola.

It makes no sense.

It’d be like Klopp knocking on Guardiola’s door and saying: “Hey, Pep. You look a bit short today, so take Salah.”

But that is exactly what VW has done here.

It has given Skoda all the tools to make the new Octavia better than a Golf — and I don’t say that lightly because the new Golf is very good.

Just to be 100 per cent clear, VW Group owns Skoda, Seat and Audi among others and the Golf, Octavia, Leon and A3 all have the same bones.

But whereas before VW kept Golf in front by giving Seat and Skoda inferior cabin materials and one-step-out-of-date technology, it has opened the full sweet shop this time round. The result being that both the Octavia Mk4 and the Leon Mk4 are superior machines to Golf 8.

It’s almost as if VW, stung by the Dieselgate fiasco, has prioritised the ID 3 electric car.

Right, let’s look at the evidence.

Octavia remains a physically bigger, more practical family car than Golf 8. Furthermore, the Czech mob has got its estate model in showrooms before VW has released the Golf wagon.

So what you get here is an out-and-out more spacious car — for less money. The Golf 8 hatch starts at £23,300. The Octavia? From £20,695 as a fastback, and £21,945 as this handsome estate.

Admittedly, my test car rocked in at £29k. But it felt every inch worth that money because, inside, the cabin is now finer than a Golf.

Great materials. Beautiful build quality. Really attractive styling, with neat touches like the Morse code-finish on the door cards and the two-spoke steering wheel. And then there’s the infotainment. VW has put all its eggs in one basket with the Golf’s central touchscreen, abandoning buttons entirely.

It’s not the most straightforward thing to use and I have heard plenty of tales of electronic gremlins crippling the VW’s system.

Skoda, though, keeps some of the key functions on old-fashioned switches. And it works so much better as a result.

Factor in that it drives brilliantly, with a supple ride, top-notch refinement and a 2-litre diesel engine, which has mega punch but will touch 70-to-the-gallon on a motorway cruise, and I know something for a fact.

In the match-up of Golf 8 v Octavia 4, the Skoda is clearly the greater vehicle. It even looks nicer on the outside.

That said, VW aren’t really bothered what car you choose; Octavia or Golf or Leon.

It’s all money for the mothership.


Price: £29,515

Engine: 2-litre turbo diesel

Power: 150hp, 340Nm

0-62mph: 8.8 secs

Top speed: 137mph

Economy: 60mpg

CO2: 97g/km

Out: Now

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