Skoda Octavia Estate Review

Exterior

Like the Superb, the estate version of the Octavia looks easily as good as the hatchback

The Skoda Octavia Estate has a simple yet smart look. The detailing at the front is neat and clean, and is dominated by the large grilled that’s pinched at the centre. A sharp crease flows all the way from the headlights to the taillights, giving a sense of strength and accentuating the Octavia’s 4.6 metre length. Like the Superb, the estate version of the Octavia looks easily as good as the hatchback, its extra set of windows finishing in a neat kick-up at the tail of the car. Black window pillars reduce the visual weight of the car when viewed from the side, and attractive silver roof bars are a reasonably priced option. It might not be as curvaceous as the Hyundai i40 Touring, but this is a nicely cohesive design.

Interior

Like the Octavia hatchback, the Estate has a top-notch interior. The materials are a pleasure to look at and to touch, while the build quality is solid and the design is smart. Every button or dial has a perfectly damped movement, and there’s no fumbling around to find the switch you are looking for thanks to clear labelling and logical positioning. All trim levels feature a touch-screen infotainment system and a leather steering wheel. They also feature a wide range of adjustment for your driving position, so it’s easy to get comfy.

Practicality

Open the rear hatch and you’ll need to be careful not to fall into the boot

The Octavia Estate is a massive car compared with most similarly priced rivals, so it’s no surprise that there’s generous space in the passenger compartment. Whichever seat you end up in, you’ll enjoy bags of headroom and legroom. Open the rear hatch and you’ll need to be careful not to fall into the 610-litre boot, which expands to 1,740 litres, a figure which shames many bigger cars. Not only is it huge, it’s also clever, with seats that drop by pulling a single catch and lots of cargo-storage features. There are hooks galore for hanging shopping bags or tethering cargo nets, and we particularly like the velcro-backed panel that can be moved around the boot to stop smaller boxes or suitcases sliding around. On the flipside, the Octavia is a large car, so you’ll probably want the acoustic rear parking sensors (standard on SE and above).

Ride and handling

The Octavia Estate is surefooted, stable and relaxing to drive. Choose an SE or Elegance and you’ll get Driving Mode Selection, with Normal, Eco, Sport and Individual settings. These change the throttle response and steering weight, but really, Normal is all you’ll need, with Sport serving up artificially heavy steering. The rear suspension is upgraded to a more advanced set-up if you opt for the 4×4 model, bringing with it a better ride quality, and no increase in ride height. Of course, you can also tackle snow and muddy tracks with less chance of getting stuck, so it should suit rural folk to a tee. Granted, the car could be more exciting to drive, but it will get you there and back with minimum fuss.

Performance

If you seem to spend most of your life on the motorway, or need a tow-car, the 2.0-litre diesel is a great choice

Engines range in size from a 1.2-litre petrol to a 2.0-litre diesel (except in the 4×4 model, which only gets diesel power), but the biggest seller will be the 1.6-litre diesel with 103bhp. Smooth and quiet, it’s perfectly happy around town and gets a five-speed manual gearbox or twin-clutch semi-automatic. We also think the 1.4-litre petrol is worth serious consideration if you don’t have a six-figure annual mileage. It’s cheaper to buy than the diesel, it’s quiet and has decent punch. The 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol is also worth a mention, with just enough performance and very good fuel economy. It might, however, struggle if you’re transporting heavy loads regularly. If you seem to spend most of your life on the motorway, or need a tow-car, the 2.0-litre diesel is a great choice. It’s a little noisier than the 1.6, but it feels a lot more muscular.

Running costs

For a car of this size and quality, the Octavia is priced very aggressively indeed. Resale values are decent, too, and thanks to its light weight and a standard stop/start system, it’s also very affordable to run. The 1.6-litre diesel is inevitably the star on paper; emitting just 99g/km of CO2 means it qualifies for a low BIK rate for business drivers, and it’ll return an official average of 74.3mpg as well. The 2.0-litre diesel returns 110g/km and 67.3mpg. The petrols also do pretty well. The 1.2 is capable of returning up to 55.4mpg and emits just 117g/km of CO2, while the 1.4 manages 121g/km and 53.3mpg.

Reliability

Skoda regularly tops customer satisfaction and reliability surveys, and we can see no reason why the Octavia Estate would change this. All the cars we’ve driven feel impeccably well-built and are finished to a standard you’d expect on a more expensive car.

Safety

Importantly for families, Euro NCAP has awarded the Octavia a full five-star crash test rating. Seven airbags are standard, as well as numerous skid-prevention technologies, including one that applies the brakes automatically after a crash to help avoid further impacts. On SE trim levels and above, a Driver Fatigue Sensor will tell you to take a break if it detects reduced concentration at the wheel.

Equipment

Among the extra kit on SE, which is the top-seller, are front foglights, dual-zone air-con and body-coloured trim

Standard kit on the most basic S trim level includes Bluetooth connectivity, DAB digital radio, eight speakers, USB and aux-in, 16-inch alloy wheels and hill hold control. Among the extra kit on SE, which is the top-seller, are front foglights, dual-zone air-con, body-coloured trim and Driving Mode Selection. The luxurious Elegance trim vies for your attention with 17-inch wheels, Alcantara and leather upholstery, rain sensing wipers, cruise control and an Amundsen infotainment system with sat-nav.

Why buy?

Because you need as much space as possible, along with modern engines and impressive comfort, and you need it all for an affordable price. On that brief, the Octavia Estate is simply untouchable.