Škoda Octavia Estate, a big seller

In Car Reviews, Diesel, Skoda by Robin Roberts

Diesel cars are nearing extinction. Long live the Škoda Octavia Estate turbo-diesel

Car Reviewed: Škoda Octavia Estate SE L 2.0TDI 150

It’s going to become a model we look back upon and ponder, wondering why such a thoroughly good all-rounder has to be replaced by much more expensive, less practical, and, frankly, less satisfying electric rivals.

It’s one of the oldest model names in the Škoda stable. Still, it accounts for about half of the brand’s European sales, but the fact it’s semi-estate shape and diesel engine have become unfashionable in the eyes of many buyers suggests we need to make the most of what we can get now.

Crossover styles now dominate desires, but ask a taxi driver, serious travelling salesman, police traffic officer or someone who lives and works in the countryside and needs to balance lifestyle with thrift. There’s a good chance they will have a Škoda Octavia tucked away in their memory or a barn.

Soundly designed, engineered and built, the Škoda Octavia Estate does an honest job at a reasonable price.

Our test car’s retail price was £33,280, but it came with a selection of fitted options, which added about £3,500 to that. These included velvet red metallic paint, 18-inch alloys, a foldable tow bar, and some additional driving assistance and comfort features.

The Octavia Estate series comprised ten models, priced from £25,255 to £38,870, in SE, SE L, and vRS grades. They have front-wheel or four-wheel drive, engines from 110ps to 245ps, and manual or automatic transmissions.

The 2.0 TD engine has been the backbone of the wider Volkswagen Group range for two decades. It is bulletproof and probably the ideal power unit in the series.

Being a turbo-diesel, it is slightly slow off the mark, but once on the move, the power flows smoothly and powerfully, with good mid-range overtaking and a relaxed response at motorway speed. The engine’s innate flexibility reduces gearchanges, but there are seven ratios spinning away, so it seems to have the right gear for any situation. This also contributed to a very good economy overall.

The smooth changes were there whether going up or down the box, and you can fine-tune the powertrain with different modes to lengthen economy or sharpen performance.

The brakes were up to their task. Only slight pressure on the pedal brought about strong deceleration and a drama-free stop from higher speed. The parking brake did an excellent job on our test slope.

In the driver’s hands, the steering had a nice weight and feedback. It had a good turning circle in town for parking, and at speed, it was not twitchy but more direct.

The handling was responsive, and the road holding was very good for a medium-sized family car. It was predictable and safe, even with a load aboard.

The Škoda Octavia Estate has to carefully balance its suspension and shock absorbers to give an agreeable ride whether lightly or heavily laden, and it certainly achieved an excellent level of comfort, even more, remarkable when you could hear how hard the system was coping on some bad surfaces we seem to have as the norm these days.

Some of that comfort must be down to the big, deeply padded and firm seats throughout, with a wide adjustment range on the front pair as well as being heated.

Access into the cabin was excellent, and it was roomy for five. The flat, low-load bed made it simple to shove in or extract bags and cases, and the rear seats quickly dropped to dramatically increase capacity. The boot floor also has variable height settings.

Oddments room was good throughout for a family car with bins, trays and pockets a plenty.

Climatronic Air conditioning was straightforward and thoroughly filled the cabin while keeping side windows clear and feet warm.

Ahead of the driver was a 10.25-inch virtual display, which meant the chosen dials and warnings could be tailored to specific requirements to highlight or hide some features. This was a very clear and relatively simple-to-change setup.

The familiar stalks operated lights, the LED beams of the intelligent headlights, which were both wide and long range, and the rain-sensitive variable wipers, which cleared a large area of the front and rear glass.

In the centre of the dash was a 10-inch touchscreen with multi-functions for comfort, convenience and communications and it all quickly linked to a mobile file with full connectivity.

The infotainment display readouts were quick changing and very clear. The driver can also select various features to make long journeys safer with steering and parking assist and intelligent speed control.

Noise levels were generally low apart from the road rumbles and until the engine was pushed in the intermediate gears.

So, it’s easy to understand why the Škoda Octavia Estate is so popular with high mileage drivers and families, particularly in this 150ps turbo-diesel form, when its ownership and running costs are pretty manageable. 

It’s not the latest take on interior style, but it is very hardwearing and practical, and for many owners, that’s particularly important.

The Škoda Octavia Estate 150ps SE L is a very good all-rounder at a time when manufacturers are increasingly pitching their newer cars at a narrower field of users.

© WheelsWithinWales

Author Rating 4.6/5

Car reviewed: Škoda Octavia Estate SE L 2.0TDI 150

on the road price as tested £36,815

  • 0-62mph 8.6secs
  • Top speed 141mph
  • Engine 4cyl 2.0-litre turbo diesel
  • Fuel Economy WLTP Combined 63mpg
  • Max Power 147bhp
  • Torque 360Nm
  • Dimensions MM 4700 L/1830 W/1470 H
  • CO2 emissions 122g/km WLTP combined
  • Transmission 7-speed automatic FWD
  • Bootspace 640 / 1700 1itres (seats folded)

Robin Roberts

Motoring Journalist

Robin contributes to a number of outlets in Wales and the UK, including the Driving Force editorial syndication agency feeding the biggest regional news and feature publishers in Britain.

Robin was the longest serving chairman of The Western Group of Motoring Writers. He specialises in the Welsh automotive sector and motor related businesses with interests in Wales and publishes WheelsWithinWales.uk which covers news, features, trade and motor sport in Wales.

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