Skoda Octavia estate
Price £17,115 - £28,665
- Huge boot
- Economical engines
- Great value for money
- Pricey options
- Not very desirable
- Only three years' warranty cover
At a glance
"With one of the biggest boots in its class, the Skoda Octavia estate sets the bar for practicality, reliability and value for money."
The Skoda Octavia estate is one of Carbuyer's favourite cars, and we have a list as long as your arm of reasons why. Central to this car's appeal is its excellent value for money.
It offers VW build quality and components for less than the price of the Volkswagen Golf estate on which it's based. Climb inside and you're instantly aware that this is a VW Group car, thanks to its beautifully finished cabin, clear controls and excellent attention to detail.
Volkswagen engines are used throughout the Octavia range, giving the Octavia everything from the 1.6-litre diesel engine in the very frugal GreenLine model to the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol that powers the high-performance vRS version.
There's a similarly broad variety of trim levels. The range-topping Lauren & Klement has luxuries such as a leather interior that are usually reserved for executive cars, but even the basic model has alloy wheels, a touchscreen infotainment system, air-conditioning and a raft of safety features.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Economical 1.6-litre TDI diesel will return 74mpg and emits less than 100g/km of CO2
No Octavia estate is expensive to run, with even the high-performance petrol Skoda Octavia vRS estate capable of 44.1mpg. Most buyers will be more tempted by the economical GreenLine model, though. It can return up to 74.3mpg and produces low enough CO2 emissions to be exempt from road tax.
For all-round ability, we'd recommend the 2.0-litre diesel engine. It has plenty of performance, yet can still see fuel economy of 68.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 106g/km. All Skodas now also come with a gearshift light, which should help you save fuel by indicating the best gear to be in for maximum fuel economy at all times.
Skoda offers fixed-price servicing, which means you know exactly what you'll be paying for the car's scheduled maintenance. Skoda's reputation for reliability is excellent, but it would still be nice if the company offered a more competitive warranty than the current three-year/60,000-mile scheme. Rivals Kia and Hyundai offer seven and five years' cover respectively.
Engines, drive & performance
Not as much fun as a Ford Focus, but relaxing and quiet to drive
The Skoda's suspension is a little firmer than the Volkswagen Golf's, and it doesn't strike the same excellent balance between comfort and driving fun that its sister model does – but it gets very close.
The Octavia uses the same engines as the Golf, which means you can choose between economical diesels (including the exceptionally frugal 1.6-litre GreenLine) or quick petrols, with the 2.0-litre Skoda Octavia vRS estate being the fastest model in the range. Under the metal, it's effectively a VW Golf GTI with much more boot space and a lower list price. It can get from 0-62mph in just 6.8 seconds and tops out at 154mph.
But even if you go for the entry-level 1.2-litre petrol or one of the 1.6-litre diesels, you won't be disappointed. They get from 0-62mph in 9.9 and 10.4 seconds respectively, while the more expensive 2.0-litre diesel offers an excellent balance of performance and economy, going from 0-62mph in just 8.2 seconds.
The Skoda Octavia can also be equipped with an excellent DSG twin-clutch automatic gearbox and grippy four-wheel drive.
Interior & comfort
There’s loads of space and the interior feels solidly built
When Skoda set up the Octavia's suspension, the focus was on comfort rather than driving fun, but this means the Octavia estate is a very relaxing car to drive. The steering wheel has lots of adjustment and the driver's seat is height-adjustable, too, so finding a comfortable driving position is easy. Although the Octavia is a large car, good visibility all round means it's surprisingly easy to park.
Excellent interior quality and a clear dashboard design mean that the Skoda is not only a nice place to sit, but also a very easy car to operate, and most of the interior plastics are soft to the touch. It runs the Volkswagen Golf a close second in this area, but clearly beats cars such as the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Honda Civic and Hyundai i30.
Beware that choosing a model fitted with the larger 18-inch alloy wheels means settling for a crashy ride and more tyre noise.
Practicality & boot space
Octavia estate has one of the biggest boots in class
All Octavias offer more space than the equivalent Volkswagen Golf, but the Octavia estate takes that to the extreme with a huge 610-litre boot that's only recently been bettered by the 624-litre boot of the Honda Civic Tourer estate. The Skoda is still cheaper to buy, though.
Fold down the Octavia's rear seats and you get 1,740 litres of space – more than in pricier models from the class above, such as the Ford Mondeo and Mazda6. The Skoda's boot also features a false floor for hiding valuables, and you can specify a folding front passenger seat that helps with carrying long items. However, it's a shame that even the top-of-the-range Laurin & Klement model doesn't have the useful cargo net as standard – it's a £50 option.
As with the boot, the Octavia's passenger compartment offers more space than the Ford or Mazda – five people should be able to ride comfortably without fuss, even if the middle seat in the back has limited room for your feet.
Storage cubbyholes are plentiful and the Octavia has decent door pockets, a good-sized glovebox and several cup-holders.
Reliability & safety
Skoda continues to impress with another strong performance in the Driver Power survey
Look up 'customer satisfaction' in the dictionary and you’ll probably find 'Skoda' written in bold. The company took first, second and third place in our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. However, the Octavia suffered a comparatively sharp drop from fourth to 28th place out of 150 cars, with owners marking it down for comfort, in-car technology and ride quality. The car still scored well in areas such as practicality, running costs, performance and build quality.
With a five-star rating for safety from Euro NCAP, you can be assured that the Octavia is a very safe car. All Skodas now come with tyre-pressure monitoring, which alerts you of slow punctures, along with seven airbags, automatic post-accident braking to prevent secondary collisions and electronic stability control. For extra cost, you can also have autonomous braking and a system that prevents the driver falling asleep at the wheel.
Price, value for money & options
Lots of standard equipment, including alloy wheels and a cooled glovebox
Value for money is the Skoda Octavia's forte, and it significantly undercuts the Volkswagen Golf, with which it shares many parts. Even basic S models have air-conditioning, a touchscreen infotainment system and alloy wheels, while upgrading to SE specification gets you climate control and rear parking sensors.
Elegance models and above have leather seats and sat nav, as well as auto-dipping headlights that sense oncoming traffic and dip automatically.
Topping the range is the Octavia Laurin & Klement, named after Skoda's founders. It adds part-leather/part-Alcantara suede upholstery, brown dashboard trim, bright xenon and LED lights, 18-inch alloy wheels and driver assistance technology such as collision warning and lane-departure assistance. It's a very pricey top-end model, though, so we'd recommend a carefully optioned SE or Elegance car, with smaller wheels for a better ride.
The new Black Edition models get 18-inch alloy wheels and a sporty body kit like the vRS, but remains cheap to run.
Options for basic models include keyless entry and start, parking assistance – which effectively parks the car for you – and sat nav.