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Estate Car of the Year 2018: Skoda Octavia Estate

The Skoda Octavia Estate is the 2018 Auto Express Estate Car of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series Touring and Volvo V60 commended

Yet again the Octavia Estate is our pick if you’re in the market for a proper load-lugger, because it takes the hatchback version’s practicality and enhances it with even more space and versatility.

The Octavia is arguably the model most responsible for changing Skoda’s fortunes over the past few decades, and following a revision last year that brought updated styling and a more advanced infotainment set-up, the Estate version offers a level of carrying capacity that is quite incredible in this area of the market.

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There’s 610 litres of space with the rear seats in place, and a cavernous 1,740 litres if you fold them down – more than enough for the Octavia to embarrass the boots of bigger estate cars from the class above.

But the Skoda is so much more than a big box on wheels, because it complements the space with a package that’s so strong across the board.

Avoid the entry-level S and you get a decent line-up of standard kit in every model, plus you can choose from punchy four-cylinder petrol engines – including an advanced 1.5-litre TSI unit with cylinder deactivation technology. Alternatively, if you know that you’re going to be covering plenty of miles with the car loaded up, there are efficient and torquey diesel motors.

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A manual will save you some cash over the dual-clutch auto, but Skoda’s DSG is one of the smoothest and sharpest-shifting transmissions on the market, so whichever option you choose, the Octavia won’t be a chore to live with.

That’s because the Skoda impresses with its composure. Forgiving damping on torn tarmac means there’s plenty of comfort for longer trips and motorway journeys, while the car’s infotainment system is right up there with the best in the class, offering strong smartphone connectivity and a clear, responsive screen that never frustrates the user.

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The feather in the Octavia’s cap is pricing. Healthy predicted residual values mean that this family estate is available on appealing monthly finance deals, so it’s easy to bag one at the right price whether you’re a cash buyer or opting for a PCP. No matter how you buy it, this is the best family estate car on the market for more reasons than simply space.

Our choice

Skoda Octavia Estate 1.5 TSI 150 SE L (£23,570)

Assuming that you’re buying an estate like this for its carrying capacity and practicality, you’ll want an engine with enough grunt that doesn’t sacrifice refinement. The 1.5 TSI petrol’s low-down turbo torque offers nearly as much pull as the diesel, but it’s smoother, more refined and offers low emissions. SE L spec is well priced and has a generous level of kit. 

Commended 

BMW 5 Series Touring

BMW 5 Series Touring - front

The Touring estate model is just as good as the 5 Seres saloon. It doesn’t quite match the Octavia for value, but blends premium appeal with practicality, offering a 570-litre boot. Diesel still makes sense in a car this size, so opt for a 520d and you can’t go far wrong for performance, tech, comfort and efficiency. 

Volvo V60

Volvo V60 - front

Volvo has always built great estates, and for the V60 it’s mixed the know-how that’s revitalised its SUVs and made them so appealing with practicality and an individual approach. As a result, the new car stands out next to German rivals. It’s refined, packed with tech, good to drive and, with a 529-litre boot, offers exactly what an estate should.

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