Skoda Octavia Estate (2017-2020) - Interior & comfort
There’s loads of space in the Skoda Octavia estate and the interior feels solidly built
Mindful that the Octavia Estate was likely to be asked to carry heavy loads, Skoda made its suspension a little firmer than the regular Octavia hatchback’s. Every Octavia is set up with the focus more on comfort than on driver entertainment or agility, and it certainly is a relaxing car to travel in, even though the diesel engines can be a little gruff under hard acceleration.
It’s worth noting, however, that the larger alloy wheel choices can work against the suspension, causing it to be a little uncomfortable over bumpy roads and potholes, while the wider tyres increase the amount of noise that comes in from the road to the interior.
Skoda Octavia Estate dashboard
Designed for ease of use, and clearly assembled with a good degree of care and attention to detail, the Skoda Octavia Estate is a very easy car to operate and provides a pleasant environment in which to spend time on longer journeys.
A lot of the interior surfaces are soft to the touch, feel high-quality and are second only to the Volkswagen Golf out of its rivals in this respect. It certainly feels head and shoulders above the likes of the Ford Focus, Hyundai i30 and Kia Ceed Sportswagon.
It’s easy to find a comfortable driving position thanks to the driver’s seat being adjustable for height, as well as a lot of adjustment on the steering wheel. Once seated you’ll find all-round visibility to be very good and that the Octavia Estate is surprisingly easy to park, despite being quite a large car.
Every version of the Octavia Estate is well equipped. All trims are fitted with air-conditioning with a cooled glovebox, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, DAB digital radio and alloy wheels, which helps to confirm value for money as being an Octavia forte, significantly undercutting the platform-sharing Volkswagen Golf.
It’s still worth considering moving up to SE specification, though, as this adds rear parking sensors, upgrades the air-conditioning to dual-zone climate control and broadens the choice of optional extras which can be selected.
Stepping up to SE L brings full-LED headlights and adds sat nav and a wi-fi hotspot to the infotainment system. It also adds the excellent Front Assist system that looks out for obstructions and will automatically apply the brakes if it detects a potential collision.
Sat nav and a Wi-Fi hotspot are also featured in the SE Drive, along with an umbrella under the passenger seat. Our favourite models are the SE and SE L, partially because we like the better ride that the smaller wheels give you.
There’s a very broad choice of options available, but if you’ve chosen an SE or SE-L you’ll have all the basics in place already. One of the more tempting extras is a Columbus infotainment system with a 9.2-inch display, which uses the same capacitive screen technology as a tablet or smartphone. This means that gestures like ‘pinch to zoom’ are recognised, making it simple to navigate through the menus. It adds a real touch of modernity to the Octavia’s fairly simple interior design, too. Skoda's Virtual Cockpit can replace traditional gauges with a digital instrument cluster for £450, increasing the information that can be shown to the driver.
A variety of special paint jobs are offered, including metallic or pearl-effect paint for £555. There’s a sports suspension setup, which lowers the car 15mm and trades a little smoothness in return for a sharper drive. It can be fitted to most models (except those with four-wheel drive) for £175.
Skoda continues to show that it deserves its reputation for clever design and offers a number of intelligent optional touches, such as an umbrella which stows under the front passenger seat, a mount for attaching a tablet computer to one of the headrests, and there’s even an option for wireless charging if your smartphone is compatible with that technology.