Skoda has been brand-building for a number of years now, slowly knocking down the badge snobbery that once existed towards the brand, while growing an increasingly excellent range of models. And, the latest Octavia estate is no exception.
It’s much better looking than its predecessor, and much better value than many of its rivals, so what’s not to like?
Long gone are the days where a 1.4-litre petrol would be considered underpowered for lengthy journeys. This 1.4-litre TSI with 140hp is a nippy little thing and is the fastest in the range, achieving 62mph in 8.5 seconds, excepting the super sporty vRS 2.0-litre TSI iteration, which does it in 6.9 seconds. This means it more than keeps up at motorway speeds, with a top speed of 132mph, while a smooth six-speed manual gearbox makes this a pleasure to drive on shorter day-to-day journeys too.
Ride and handling
This is better than you might think. Tuned to be comfortable in all locations, the car absorbs the speed bumps of town reasonably well, but really comes into its own the faster you go.
The Elegance trim features an unexpected choice of three drive modes: normal, sport and eco – and you instantly notice the difference in suspension and throttle reaction when choosing the sport mode – not what you might expect from an Octavia estate.
It’s not a car that encourages you to throw it around bends, but having said that, its agility is perfectly satisfactory and there’s plenty of grip and little body roll when it does find itself on a windy rural road.
Three trims feature in the Octavia line-up – S, SE and Elegance, plus the vRS iteration. Our Elegance trim was well-equipped, with cruise control, rear parking sensors, as well as MP3 connectivity and Bluetooth.
Sat-nav, automatic lights and wipers and leather and Alcantara upholstery seats also come as standard.
Here lies in the biggest problem. While the 1.4 TSI is a pleasure to drive, what you gain in fun and speed, you lose in decent running costs. The car costs £21,040 and offers official figures on a combined cycle of 53.3mpg and 121g/km CO2. That’s compared to the equivalently-specced 2.0-litre TDI 148bhp, which is slightly more expensive at £22,790, but offers 67.3mpg and 110g/km, while being only 0.1 seconds slower, at 8.6 seconds in acceleration.
If you can handle a little more sluggishness (0-62mph in 11 seconds), then the figures improve even further with the trusty 1.6 TDI with 104bhp has a smaller price premium over our test model, at £21,890, while offering 74.3mpg and an impressive 99g/km CO2, making it incredibly road-tax friendly.
Skoda continues on its upward trajectory with the Octavia estate. In a recent conversation with three other motoring journos, all of us agreed that we would buy this car if we wanted an estate, proving its worth in the market. Still, the 1.4 TSI makes little monetary sense. It’s good, but for a little more noise and a little less speed, it would be a diesel iteration every time.
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