£18,310 - £29,410 Price range
47 - 80 MPG
Its size is deceptive because, while it’s priced to compete with the Ford Focus estate, Hyundai i30 Tourer and Peugeot 308 SW, it’s larger than all three. The 2016 model gets a new high-tech 1.0-litre petrol engine and extra equipment helping the Skoda stay competitive against those rivals.
The interior is well built with durable materials that will withstand family life, although you might find it a little uninspiring to look at. A VW Golf estate looks classier inside, but the Octavia estate offers extra passenger space and a bigger boot.
From a tiny, eco-friendly three-cylinder petrol to a speedy vRS diesel with plentiful pulling power, there are lots of options in the Octavia range, but the sweet spot is the 148hp 2.0-litre diesel, which has plenty of power in reserve and can return fuel economy of more than 70mpg.
How your Octavia estate drives depends on which engine you go for. Equipped with the light 1.0-litre petrol engine it feels nimble, but if you go for the diesel engined vRS with four-wheel drive it’s surefooted, safe and secure but not truly fun. All Octavias share light, accurate steering and a compliant ride with little body roll.
What the Octavia estate may lack in class it makes up for with good equipment levels. A touchscreen infotainment system, alloy wheels, DAB digital radio and air-conditioning are standard on entry-level models with sat-nav an £800 option.
A facelifted model will go on sale in 2017 – see the revised Skoda Octavia Estate by reading our dedicated article.
There isn’t much in terms of excitement in the design of the Octavia estate’s cabin. Instead, ease-of-use takes centre stage – all the controls super easy to understand and positioned exactly where you first tend to look for them. While the Skoda may not have the futuristic forms of the Peugeot 308 SW’s inners, it compensates with a durable and solid feel that is well up to German standards.
As with the rest of the interior, the standard-fit infotainment system is simple but clever. Large icons make it easy to operate on the move and navigation through menus is extremely straightforward. For extra connectivity, you can add Skoda’s £150 SmartLink to the infotainment system which mirrors your compatible smartphone’s screen via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Skoda Octavia estate passenger space
The Octavia owes most of its family car appeal to its generous rear legroom. It rivals larger family cars such as the Volkswagen Passat and, as an added bonus of the flat roof in the estate, there’s plentiful headroom, too. Meanwhile, those in the front are treated to supportive seats with adjustable lumbar support for the driver. The driving position is a tad high, but can be fine-tuned with the lever on the side of the seat.
Skoda Octavia estate boot space
The Octavia hatchback is practical enough, but this estate version punches above its weight – at 610 litres in capacity, it’s within 40 litres of those in the Ford Mondeo estate and VW Passat estate. Flip the rear seats down and the resulting flat load bay expands to 1,740 litres. Hooks and tether points are standard, while for £20 you can have dividers with velcro on the bottom to stop things from sliding around.
The Octavia estate was never supposed to be the class-leader for driver involvement and fun behind the wheel. However, you do get direct steering that’s pleasingly light around town, a slick manual gearbox and well-balanced handling that make driving the car a stress-free experience.
Although it’s a decent performer on most roads, the Octavia estate really shines on the motorway. With a longer wheelbase than rivals, the Skoda has a more composed ride. It’s pretty serene inside too – tyre roar only really makes itself heard on the worst of British roads.
New for 2016 is the optional £850 Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC). Similarly to every other drive select system on the market you get a choice of driving modes that alter the suspension stiffness and the weight of the steering between three modes: Sport, Normal and Comfort.
The £1,250 optional DSG automatic gearbox makes for the perfect upgrade for this motorway cruiser. It adds another layer of comfort by switching through gears smoothly and quickly. Low-powered models get an extra gear over the manual’s six speeds helping reduce fuel consumption. Sportier vRS models, on the other hand, get a six-speed version of the DSG gearbox, to deal with the extra torque.
Skoda Octavia estate 4×4
If you want better all-weather traction then Skoda offers 4×4 models with various engines. Also available is the Octavia Scout, which mixes tough plastic body cladding, with four-wheel drive and a raised ride height to deliver light off-roading ability.
One of the Octavia’s numerous selling points is the great range of VW group engines on offer – all of them are thoroughly modern and frugal, too. The newest addition is the 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol with 113hp which replaces the old 1.2.
Skoda Octavia estate petrol engines
Tipped to be the fleet buyer’s engine of choice, the new 1.0-litre petrol is a great entry-level proposition. Even if it can’t qualify for free road tax, it’s still pretty eco-friendly with CO2 emissions of 104g/km resulting in just £20 a year in road tax. Official fuel economy of 60mpg is impressive, but harder to achieve in the real world than in a diesel.
If you regularly carry passengers then the torquier 1.4-litre petrol with 148hp is the way to go. It’s good enough for decent acceleration of 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds and a still reasonable official fuel consumption figure of 55mpg. It’s another clean engine, so annual road tax is just £30 per year.
At the top of the petrol range sits a 2.0-litre petrol of either 220(vRS) or 230hp (vRS 230) with the latter getting the electronically-controlled differential from the Golf Clubsport. For more detailed information read our Octavia vRS estate review.
Skoda Octavia estate diesel engines
Even though the petrol engines make lots of sense and are good at nearly everything, the diesels have a big redeeming quality – extremely low fuel consumption. That is perfectly illustrated by the entry-level 1.6-litre diesel that can return 74mpg. Acceleration isn’t exactly brisk (0-62mph in 10.8 seconds), but the torquey diesel feels powerful enough on the motorway.
The extra £1,360 that the eco-friendly GreenLine model asks for seems a bit much when you get the same 1.6-litre engine. However, its low-rolling-resistance tyres, taller gears and more aerodynamic body improve fuel consumption to more than 80mpg. Annual road tax on both 1.6-litre models is free.
One-level-up, the 2.0-litre is pricier, but ticks all the right boxes – the 148hp engine cuts 0-62mph acceleration time down to below nine seconds and fuel economy of 70mpg is great for the performance on offer.
Similarly to the petrol, the diesel vRS is different to the rest of the sensible range thanks to a more aggressive bodykit and bigger wheels to house the upgraded brakes. Even if its 181hp isn’t close to the 230hp offered by the petrol, the diesel’s mountains of torque and 60mpg average fuel consumption more than make up for that.
Performance is strong, with 60 mph arriving in 8.5 seconds and up to 132 mph possible if you have a long enough road. The real benefit over the diesels is smoothness - it's "more eager" according to the reviewer and the diesels can't match it for refinement. At 53.3 mpg it can't match them for economy, but that's the only real trade-off.
Reviewers are split on its performance - one says it "never feels particularly quick", while another calls it "surprisingly brisk". It's a perception issue really, and its 11-second 0-60 time may well be sufficient for your needs. 184 lb-ft of torque is more than respectable though.
Most reviewers call the 1.6 a smooth engine, though a few note that it gets a little "vocal" under hard acceleration. Either transmission is fine though - the DSG slips between ratios quickly and smoothly, while the five-speed manual is easy to use.
As you can imagine, performance is fairly effortless. Reviewers call it "usefully more relaxed" than the 1.6 TDI and it handles loads better too - "almost disdainful in the casual manner in which it pulled along its loaded boot", as one tester puts it.
It's a refined engine too, and like the 1.6 is available with a 4x4 system for improved traction and even "a modicum of off-road ability". Throw in economy of up to 67.3 mpg, and the 2.0 TDI is a really tempting choice.
The Octavia Estate hasn’t been specifically tested by Euro NCAP, but the hatchback has and it scored four stars. A lack of curtain air bags for the side of the car meant it missed out on the five stars awarded to the Volkswagen Golf. All Octavias come fitted with seven airbags and stability control, while models of SE L trim and above come with automatic emergency braking as standard.
Even though the Octavia isn’t as keenly priced as it used to be, it’s better equipped than ever before. Skoda has introduced two new mid-range trim levels for 2016 – one with a more private-buyer focus and the other directed more towards fleet customers.
Skoda Octavia estate S
If your budget can’t quite stretch to the generously equipped mid-range models then fret not, because even the basic S has all the essentials. There’s air-conditioning, a touchscreen infotainment system, DAB digital radio with Bluetooth phone connection and 16-inch alloy wheels.
Skoda Octavia estate SE and GreenLine III
The basic S model may be decently equipped, but the ugly black plastic wing mirrors and door handles hint at its Scrooge McDuck spec. That’s resolved by the SE model which gets body-coloured mirrors and door handles for an extra £1,350. Thrown in for free are climate control, electric rear windows, rear parking sensors and a drive select system with Eco, Sport, and Individual settings. This equipment is also shared with the GreenLine III model.
Skoda Octavia estate SE Sport
The first of the two new trim levels costs only £950 more than the SE trim but gets you a lot of kit. Larger 17-inch alloy wheels, LED brake lights and daytime running lights mark it out from lesser Octavia models. Inside, body-hugging sports seats and a sporty steering wheel conform with the Sport part of the trim level while sat-nav, in-car wi-fi and cruise control also feature.
Skoda Octavia estate SE Technology
Replacing the obsolete SE Business model, SE Technology takes ease of use and convenience to heart – there are auto lights and wipers, sat-nav, in-car wi-fi, a multi-function steering wheel, adaptive cruise control and all-round parking sensors. There’s hardly anything else you’d realistically need in a company car.
Skoda Octavia SE L
The Octavia estate SE L is quite pricey for the limited amount of kit it adds over the Sport or Technology models. Stand out additions are Alcantara-leather seats and a system which dips the headlight’s high beam automatically.
Skoda Octavia estate Laurin & Klement
Bearing the name of Skoda’s founders, Laurin & Klement models sit at the top of the range. On top of the already huge amount of kit accumulated up to this point, they add larger 18-inch alloy wheels, exterior chrome, and brown leather upholstery.
Brand snobs will inevitably stick their noses up to a Skoda and go for a VW or Audi instead. If you’re more influenced by value for money, however, you’ll find the Skoda Octavia estate’s high-quality cabin, strong engines, huge interior and generous equipment levels are all you need from a family car. It performs well in all areas and, as a result, it deserves to be on any family’s shopping list.
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