The Skoda Octavia Estate has loads of passenger space for the price, a huge boot and interior quality that borders on premium – but it’s not exciting
The Skoda Octavia Estate should be near the top of your shortlist if you’re looking for a spacious family estate that’s very well built and doesn’t need a premium badge to prove it. It’s based on the regular Octavia hatchback, which means it is also available in fast vRS and rugged Scout forms, which are reviewed separately.
As with the rest of the Skoda Octavia range, it was launched in 2013 and updated in 2017 with revised safety features and upgraded infotainment systems, but also some awkward-looking front-end styling with four headlights rather than the twin lights of the old car.
Its 610-litre boot is the main reason you would choose the Skoda Octavia Estate over the regular hatchback – its boxy shape means it can carry bulkier luggage and is ideal for dog owners (or their dogs). A rear-seat-down capacity of 1,740 litres compares well to the 1,530 litres you get in the hatchback.
SE L cars come with an adjustable boot floor, which makes it easier to slide heavy loads into place, and all versions get a removable boot light that doubles as a torch – handy should you need to change a wheel in the dark.
Aside from the boot, the estate follows the proven formula laid out by the standard car – it has more rear leg room than similarly priced models such as the Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf – and more headroom too. Space up front is also generous and you and your front-seat passenger are well placed to admire the Skoda’s excellent build quality.
It might not have the fancier trim pieces and upholstery you get in a VW Golf, but it fundamentally looks and feels well built – so you can feel nice and smug considering it undercuts most alternatives on price too.
Buying an Octavia Estate is like shopping at Lidl – the enjoyment comes in knowing you’re getting a fantastic product at a decent price
And the Skoda Octavia Estate doesn’t drop the ball when it comes to engines. The 150hp 1.5-litre petrol is well priced and a solid performer in all areas, but the grunty 2.0-litre diesel (with the same power) might be a better bet if you intend to stuff it to the gunwales as its maker intended. If you don’t, though, stick with the petrol, which injects the Octavia’s otherwise sombre driving experience with a little bit of fun.
That’s not to say it’s bad to drive – it’s a little noisier than the VW Golf and tiny bit more jiggly in town, but it performs well in most environments, with plenty of grip on country roads, light controls for town driving and a relaxed feel on the motorway.
Predictably, safety is also strong. In 2017 the Skoda Octavia Estate got an auto-emergency-braking system that detects people as well as other cars, which should help boost the five-star safety rating the Octavia was awarded by Euro NCAP in 2013. It is one in a long list of reasons why the Octavia Estate shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re on the hunt for a great family car.