A former overall winner, the Octavia drops down the pecking order this year. Our drivers found the car much less stable than expected at 60mph, with lots of movement at 70mph and when slowing down from high speeds. It simply didn’t feel like the car we’d towed with and rated so highly in previous years.

We put our concerns to Skoda, who examined the car and found the nearside rear wheel alignment to be out. Skoda returned the car to us and we drove it again, but the Octavia still lacked composure at speed. Skoda tells us the car’s alignment had been corrected as far as possible but still wasn’t 100%, most likely because of an unknown incident (possibly hitting a substantial pothole at speed) prior to being loaned to us for testing.

It shows the importance of correct suspension alignment for towing, and means that if you want to know how well an Octavia in perfect health tows you’ll need to refer to one of our reviews from previous years.

The fact that the Octavia as tested this year doesn’t finish further down the results is testament to the car’s many other strengths. High on the list has to be the remarkably roomy cabin. The driver and front-seat passenger have plenty of room to stretch out, and those in the back seats have far more legroom than in any other lightweight car we’ve tested this year. The huge boot had room for all our holiday luggage, and although a tyre repair kit is standard, a full-size spare is available as an option.

With its 2.0-litre diesel engine, the Octavia performs strongly with or without a caravan in tow. Speed doesn’t hinder fuel efficiency, and the Skoda returned 30.2mpg in our economy test.

Category Winners
2019 Up to 1400kg

Škoda Octavia

Hatch 1.5 TSI 150PS SE L DSG

2019 1400-1549kg

Seat Ateca

2.0 TSI 190PS FR DSG

2019 1550-1699kg

Volkswagen Arteon

2.0 TDI 150PS Elegance DSG

2019 1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2019 1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 SDV6 HSE

2019 Best Budget 4x4

Dacia Duster

1.5 dCi Ambiance 4x4

2019 Best Plug-In Hybrid

Land Rover Range Rover Sport

P400e HSE Dynamic

2019 Best Ultralight Tow Car

Seat Arona

1.0 TSI 115 FR

2019 Fuel Economy Award

Ford Focus Estate

1.5 EcoBlue 120PS Titanium X

Previous Winners

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport


Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE*


Skoda Superb Hatch

2.0 TDI 150PS SE Business


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI BMT 150PS SE Business DSG


Nissan Qashqai

1.6 dCi (130PS) Stop/Start System Acenta Premium

Up to 1424kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI CR 150PS Elegance


Jaguar XF

2.2D Premium Luxury


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI 170 Bluemotion Sport


Land Rover Discovery 4

3.0 TDV6 XS


Volvo XC60

D5 SE Geartronic


Ford Mondeo Estate

2.0 TDCi Titanium auto


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI Sport 4Motion

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