It’s outstanding value, very practical, has a good safety story to tell and drives neatly.
The Octavia can achieve all that because it is a thoroughly modern example of parts bin engineering and the benefits of economy of scale.
It taps into the Volkswagen Group inventory of bits including the MQB architecture it shares with Volkswagen's latest Golf as well as a range of frugal and smooth turbocharged engines.
In this latest update introduced just months ago, important safety gear including adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking have become standard across the range. That makes the entry-level Ambition wagon, which we tested at Carsales Car of the Year, an almost impossible combination to match for any other medium-sized family load lugger, as we detailed here recently.
That doesn’t mean we couldn’t pick fault in the Octavia. The optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is a mixed blessing because of the laggy way it accelerates from standstill, and there is a level of steering rack rattle to be found.
In the end, however, it was the excellence of others rather than the Octavia’s issues that stopped it from claiming even higher honours in the CCOTY finals.