Skoda Octavia Estate
Price £17,880 - £29,410
- Very large boot
- Cheap to run
- Low prices
- Lack of badge appeal
- Options are expensive
- Rivals have longer warranties
At a glance
“The Skoda Octavia Estate is one of the most practical family cars you can buy, with low running costs and strong build quality adding to its appeal.”
As a practical family car, with one of the biggest boots on the market, the Skoda Octavia Estate takes some beating. One of Carbuyer's favourite cars, it combines a smart interior with a very pleasant driving experience. It also offers an impressive amount of space and comfort for the money you pay.
Competing against such strong rivals as the Ford Focus Estate and the Volkswagen Golf estate, together with less established models like the Kia C’eed Sportwagon, the Octavia Estate actually has a much bigger boot than any of these. Although the Honda Civic Tourer and the Peugeot 308 SW estate to manage to beat the Octavia in terms out outright carrying capacity, the Skoda beats the Peugeot on interior feel and build quality, while the Honda is a good deal more expensive. In short, the Octavia is a much better all-rounder.
The Skoda Octavia is easy to drive and feels safe and secure, with plenty of grip on the road. It's not exactly thrilling – an enthusiastic driver might be better off with the Ford Focus Estate instead – but its relaxing nature is perfect for soaking up motorway miles.
The engine choice consists of tried-and-tested petrol and diesels which are also used elsewhere in Volkswagen Group products. Especially notable are the GreenLine III 1.6-litre diesel for its 80mpg economy, and the powerful Octavia vRS Estate, which is strongly geared towards performance. There's also a rugged Skoda Octavia Scout with four-wheel-drive, raised ground clearance and a distinctive exterior design. Both the vRS and Scout have been reviewed separately.
Our pick of the engines is the 148bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel. It has sufficient power for a respectable 0-62mph time of 8.6 seconds while achieving 71mpg economy. While this can’t match the GreenLine III's economy, the extra power makes it an easier engine to live with day in, day out. It never feels strained and the additional power is useful when overtaking.
Due to the hard-working nature of the Octavia Estate, we expect the petrol-engined versions to be less popular, but the turbocharged 1.0-litre and 1.4-litre TSI engines are both good. The smallest petrol engine provides a near-diesel-rivalling 62mpg, combined with a 10 second time for the 0-62mph dash. With a slight reduction in economy next to the 1.0-litre, the 1.4-litre model can run from 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds – a pretty swift time for a practical estate car.
The Octavia Scout isn’t the only Octavia Estate to be available with four-wheel-drive; the standard car can be equipped with it for about £1,500 extra. It does provide useful extra grip and makes the car more sure on the road in slippery, wintry conditions, but at a cost; it also adds weight, increases fuel consumption and causes the CO2 emissions to become notably worse, so we’d recommend sticking with two-wheel drive unless you think you’ll really need the extra grip.
The Skoda Octavia Estate really is a remarkably spacious car, with passengers well catered for with plenty of leg and headroom in the front and rear. Though the interior is perhaps not as stylish as in some rivals, it's certainly smart and feels well built. You’ll also find the car comfortable thanks to its well-balanced suspension. The Octavia is quiet too, with wind noise being well suppressed and little entering the interior even when driving at high speed.
Leaving the Scout and vRS models to one side, the Octavia Estate can be bought in five different trim levels. The S begins the range, followed by the better-equipped SE and economical GreenLine III. Then comes the plush SE L and finally the very luxurious – but expensive – Laurin and Klement. None of the trim levels are especially sparse on equipment; even the least expensive variant comes with air-conditioning, front electric windows, a DAB radio and alloy wheels.
We recommend the SE model, as it strikes the best balance between equipment and value. SE Octavia Estates come with rear parking sensors (useful on car of this length) all-round electric windows, front fog lights and a driving mode selector, which allows you to choose from eco, comfort and sport modes.
Skoda has earned its well-deserved reputation for cars that are easy to live with and our annual Driver Power survey confirms this. The latest Octavia came 7th overall out of 150 cars assessed, a fantastic result and one influenced strongly by practicality, low running costs, reliability, build quality and ease of use.
Skoda itself is ranked third overall as a brand, out of 32 manufactures that's an excellent showing and further reassurance that the Octavia Estate is likely to be a dependable car with good support from Skoda if things do go wrong.
Safety is another Octavia strong suit; the Estate's hatchback sibling being awarded the highest five star rating in the 2013 Euro NCAP crash safety tests. It was praised by the independent organisation for the protection it gave occupants and the sheer strength of the car. Occupants are given further peace of mind by a full complement of airbags together with extra safety systems like electronic stability control and tyre pressure monitoring.
The Skoda Octavia estate has an economical 1.6-litre TDI diesel engine, which can return 80mpg and emits less than 100g/km of CO2
Not as much fun as a Ford Focus, but the Skoda Octavia estate is relaxing and quiet to drive
There’s loads of space in the Skoda Octavia estate and the interior feels solidly built
The Skoda Octavia estate has one of the biggest boots in its class
The Skoda Octavia Estate is one of Britain’s more reliable cars