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Skoda Octavia Estate - Engines, drive & performance

While the Octavia is smooth and quiet, other estate cars are more fun to drive

Carbuyer Rating

4.5 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.5 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

We’ve driven the latest facelifted Skoda Octavia Estate on European roads and, like the outgoing version, it proved itself as more of an accomplished cruiser than a car for B-road blasts. It feels at its best when you drive it on faster, gently curved roads, but take it on more challenging twisties and it becomes easily unsettled.

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Sportline versions do get a slightly more composed suspension setup that helps to decrease body roll, but in all honestly we’d steer clear. While the Sportline is not particularly uncomfortable, more road imperfections are transmitted into the cabin via its larger 18-inch wheels, and that feels like too much of a trade-off in a car the main purpose of which is not sporting prowess – we’d settle for SE L with the 17-inch alloys instead.

A selection of driving modes are offered, including Eco, Normal, Comfort and Sport. During our test, we found Normal mode to be the best all round setting, offering a decent blend of refinement with a smooth ride and light steering. In Sport mode the Octavia feels somewhat compromised, hanging onto gears for too long. Eco mode nullifies the engine's responsiveness to the point where you simply have to work it harder to make decent progress.

Skoda Octavia Estate petrol engines

The Octavia Estate is now offered with two petrol engines, with the previous 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit having been replaced by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder with 114bhp. It gets a manual gearbox as standard, and if you go for the seven-speed automatic there’s mild-hybrid assistance, badged e-TEC. The manual version takes a leisurely 10.4 seconds to get from 0-62mph, while the auto is a little slower, taking 10.6 seconds to do the same sprint.

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You can also have the 1.5-litre engine with 148bhp and the same option of six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic with mild-hybrid tech. In both the manual and auto version the 0-62mph sprint takes 8.5 seconds, which is sprightly enough for most buyers.

Diesel engines

The latest Octavia Estate still comes with the option of diesel power by way of a 2.0-litre engine in two power outputs matching those offered by the petrol models. That means the entry-level model gets 114bhp and buyers can step up to a 148bhp version. Unlike the petrol models, neither gets mild-hybrid assistance, and the 114bhp model is available exclusively with a six-speed manual and the 148bhp version only comes as a seven-speed auto. The lower-powered of the two will do the 0-62mph sprint in 10 seconds, while this drops to 8.5 seconds in the high-powered model.

Though diesel engines may have fallen out of favour with the car-buying public in recent times, we really liked the Octavia Estate’s 2.0-litre TDI in 148bhp guise when we tested it. It offers a lot more pulling power than the equivalent petrol model making it a very capable long-distance cruiser. It feels smooth and slick on the motorway, although admittedly it can feel a little jerky at lower speeds around town on occasion.

Hybrid engines

The Skoda Octavia iV plug-in hybrid was discontinued before the facelift, but was an interesting offering in the Octavia Estate range. Its 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine and electric motor combine to produce up to 201bhp, providing brisk and smooth acceleration from 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds. Given the PHEV prioritises electric power at low speeds, this was typically the quietest and most relaxing version of the standard Octavia to drive – despite being the most powerful. There’s currently no indication as to whether the plug-in hybrid will return to the lineup, so for now your only option is to buy it second hand.

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Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.5 TSI SE Technology 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £27,755

Most Economical

  • Name
    2.0 TDI SE Technology 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £30,300

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 TDI 150 SE Technology 5dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £32,700

Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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