In this year's Auto Express Driver Power survey, 87 per cent of old-model Skoda Octavia owners said they would buy another. The good news is the latest family car is better than its predecessor, and now there's a new four-wheel-drive estate version, powered by either a 1.9-litre TDI diesel or 2.0-litre FSI petrol engine. We headed to the Arctic Circle to find out if it adds to the Octavia's appeal.
Inside, the 4x4 remains unchanged from the front-drive models, which is no problem, because the interior impresses with its simplicity and practicality. The extra bulk of the 4x4 transmission has not affected the estate's boot capacity, either. The Octavia has permanent four-wheel drive, thanks to a Haldex clutch system, which sends 99 per cent of power to the front wheels in normal conditions, which will help fuel economy.
When traction is lost, drive is shared between the front and rear axles to provide the best grip, and the system's ability in the snow was very impressive.
Equally important is the fact that, despite the car's raised ride height and increased suspension travel, it behaves like a front-drive Octavia on the road, with body roll similar to the regular estate's. And even though the 4x4 system adds weight to the load-lugger, the 105bhp 1.9 TDI motor still provides decent performance.