Entry-level Skoda Octavia Estate is good to drive, while offering excellent practicality and great value.
5.0 out of 5
We knew there was a five-star Octavia within the range – and this entry-level 2.0 diesel estate is certainly one of the picks of the entire line-up. It may be a base model, but the level of standard kit is very generous, while the 2.0-litre diesel motor is smooth, punchy and incredibly fuel-efficient. Sure, it’s not the most glamorous of family cars, but it’s certainly one of the best.
The latest Skoda Octavia is a brilliant family car. However, the First Edition models that initially arrived in showrooms were a little on the pricey side. There was always going to be better value to be found within the line-up and now we’ve had a chance to find it.
As a 114bhp 2.0-litre diesel in SE Technology spec, this Octavia estate represents a pretty solid entry point to the range, priced at £24,530. But you could save yourself an extra £910 if you went for the 148bhp 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine. This may be an entry-level model, but you certainly wouldn’t think it judging by the amount of standard equipment inside. Cruise control, dual-zone climate control and LED headlamps aren’t features you often find on a basic version, never mind a full suite of parking sensors, a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10-inch infotainment system that features satellite navigation and wireless Apple CarPlay.
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For the latest Octavia, Skoda has also replaced the entry 1.6 diesel engine with a punchier 2.0-litre unit. It’s only offered with 114bhp in SE Technology specification, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s the 300Nm of torque that matters here.
You can largely ignore its 0-62mph time of 10.4 seconds; it’s misleading, because the car’s in-gear punch, helped by that low-down torque, makes it feel a lot quicker on the road than the figures might suggest.
Squeeze the throttle and the engine pulls strongly and smoothly up to around 3,000rpm, by which point you’ll need to change gear to keep the motor in its sweet spot. Extend the Octavia beyond that and you get the usual diesel clatter, but there’s really no need to go there.
At a steady cruise the Skoda is incredibly refined for a mainstream family car. The ride is smooth and supple, with the smaller 16-inch alloys on SE Technology models softening off larger road imperfections. Wind and engine noise are well suppressed, and although Skoda claims fuel economy in excess of 60mpg is possible, we saw more than 70mpg on our test.
Does the cheaper spec mean skimping on quality? Absolutely not. Inside, the car is built just as well as the latest VW Golf and, to our eyes, has a much cleaner cabin and better infotainment set-up. There are a few harder plastics in the footwell, but everything that is in sight, or that you touch regularly, is soft and durable.
The 630-litre boot is huge and has an adjustable floor that allows you to accommodate bulkier items. Dropping the rear bench doesn’t give a completely flat floor, but you can’t argue with the 1,700 litres of space it frees up.
|Skoda Octavia Estate SE Technology|
|Engine||2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel|
|Transmission:||Six-speed manual, front-wheel-drive|
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