Octavia estate goes large

Skoda Octavia Estate
Skoda Octavia Estate
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The Skoda Octavia’s got a lot bigger in its third generation guise and you net the biggest payoff when choosing the estate version.

It’s still great value for money, equipment levels are strong and it now holds up to 610-litres without having to fold the back seats. That’s more than a Ford Mondeo estate.

As ever, the Octavia estate is furnished with a bunch of engines that look vaguely familiar to anyone who’s run their eye down a Volkswagen or a SEAT price list. Four turbocharged powerplants are offered; 104bhp 1.2 and 138bhp 1.4-litre petrols and 104bhp 1.6 and 148bhp 2.0-litre diesels. Keep your eyes peeled for four wheel drive versions, a vRS sports model and a Scout version of the estate with additional body cladding and raised ride height, not to mention a super economical GreenLine trim.

Like the rest of its sibling vehicles in the Volkswagen empire, this Octavia rides on the modular MQB chassis, which means that it’ll ride well and handle competently. The MQB chassis is also key in understanding how Skoda has been able to offer this ‘stretched’ long wheelbase chassis at only a modest incremental cost. The old family of platforms would never have allowed this to be commercially viable. At first, the fact that the Octavia estate is now 90mm longer and 45mm wider than its predecessor might seem rather small beer. That wouldn’t appear to buy you a whole lot of extra carrying capacity, but it pays to scrutinise exactly what Skoda has done to transform this car. While the length has increased a bit, the wheelbase has increased by 108mm, offering a lot of extra rear seat space. In fact Skoda claims it to be the best in its segment although it’s rather coy about how it defines that segment. There can be no arguments about the 610-litres of space you get in the boot when all the seats are in place. By contrast, if you opted for a really big car like a Mondeo estate, you’d get a mere 537-litres and a car from the class the Octavia just vacated, such as a Focus estate yields a mere 476-litres. Now you get an idea of the sheer utility of this car. By folding the rear backrests down, the boot space increases to an impressive 1,740-litres.

There aren’t too many cars that have improved their appeal quite as markedly as the third generation Skoda Octavia estate. Yes, it’s more efficient, better built and better equipped which are all decisively good things. But the key to this car’s big draw is simple – it’s much bigger than before but the prices haven’t taken a sharp climb. The Octavia was already one of the best value cars in its sector. It’s no longer in that sector but now gives cars like the estate versions of the Peugeot 508 and the Ford Mondeo a real headache.

The best value is to be had at the entry-level end of the Octavia estate range. At the top end of the line-up, it’s easy to see many trading equipment for badge equity and defecting to Volkswagen or Audi products, but given that they’re all built by the same group, that might not be such a bad thing. Not so much if the money was going to BMW or Mercedes though. As it stands, this is a solid eight out of ten car. You’ll love it.