Skoda Octavia Estate review
"The Skoda Octavia Estate is one of the most spacious family cars on sale, and it's now more desirable than ever thanks to a more stylish design"
- Huge boot
- Smart design
- Efficient and punchy engines
- No longer a budget choice
- Rivals have longer warranties
- Steering lacks feel
For almost 25 years, the Skoda Octavia Estate has offered practical and affordable motoring to those looking for a big car on a hatchback budget. From utilitarian beginnings, it's also gradually become more luxurious and more stylish, and now competes for sales against the likes of the Ford Focus Estate, SEAT Leon ST estate, and the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports estate.
We think the fourth-generation model is the most desirable yet. It's based on the same underpinnings as the latest Volkswagen Golf and measures 50mm wider and three millimetres taller than before thanks to new bodywork. But it's the design that's most changed, with a much more handsome look and more attractive front and rear lights. It's now closer in style to the sharp Skoda Superb.
It also benefits from the latest technology inside, where a crisp infotainment screen floats above a swathe of metallic trim. There are very few buttons, and those that have avoided the chop are attractive and feel good to use. Soft surfaces and appealing materials are plentiful, while ambient lighting changes the atmosphere of the interior when it’s dark.
As you'd expect, there's also class-leading space on offer. In fact, there's little in the class above that can rival the Octavia Estate's 640-litre boot, which has grown by 30 litres over the previous model. There's lots of room for adults in all five seats, and the tiny 'gearlever' toggle switch (in the automatic model) has freed up space in the centre console for smartphones and drinks.
The engine range should offer something for everyone, with a brace of efficient turbo petrol engines and a 2.0-litre TDI diesel offered in power outputs from 114bhp to 148bhp. These promise over 60mpg and reasonably low CO2 emissions to drive down Benefit-in-Kind tax for company-car drivers. A plug-in hybrid Octavia iV Estate is also confirmed with a 1.4-litre petrol engine, electric motor and 13kWh battery pack.
We've tried the 2.0-litre TDI with 148bhp so far and found it offers plenty of punch for a family estate car. With adaptive suspension fitted it also soaks up the bumps of UK road surfaces with aplomb, and is best left in Normal mode, where the Octavia is both relaxing and composed to drive. While its chassis rightly prioritises refinement and comfort, with some body lean in corners as a result, it offers plenty of grip, light steering and respectable driving dynamics.
The Skoda Octavia Estate has long been a go-to car for buyers in need of space and a classy interior, and the latest model only makes it more compelling. With improvements across the board, this looks like it could be the family-sized estate to beat.