Estate Car of the Year 2020: Skoda Octavia Estate

The Skoda Octavia Estate is the 2020 Auto Express Estate Car of the Year, with the BMW 3 Series Touring and Mercedes E-Class Estate commended

If you’re after an estate car, space will be a high priority, and there aren’t many family wagons that offer more room for either passengers or their luggage than the latest Skoda Octavia Estate.

Like the hatchback, the Estate benefits from the same tweaks to its engines, interior and infotainment. However, the primary reason it’s our winner for 2020 is the way that it combines 640 litres of luggage room – and the flexibility that any estate car such as this needs to offer – with technology, comfort, performance and efficiency.

Levers in the load bay fold the rear seats flat, revealing up to 1,700 litres of carrying capacity, but just as in the hatchback, when the rear seats are up there’s a level of passenger room that no rival in its class can match – you’ll have to look to bigger family wagons to find a car at the Octavia’s level.

With a refined, more simplistic design compared with its predecessor’s, the Octavia Estate’s cabin follows the hatchback’s look, with a horizontal layout that integrates a new infotainment system and digital dash, as well as plusher materials and plenty of storage, increasing the flexibility on offer.

Under the bonnet it’s a similar story to the hatch as well, but consider a diesel if you’ll be carrying plenty of passengers and luggage on a regular basis, because the extra torque could help progress.

The TDI units are even more refined than the ones in the previous model, and the same can be said of the petrols, which we’d pick. They all drive with the kind of easy-going nature you want from an estate.

A long wheelbase and a chassis set-up focused on the soft side really fit the brief and give the car its trademark comfort, so travelling long distances in the Octavia isn’t a problem.

The connectivity on offer will keep your passengers entertained as well, while Skoda’s trademark focus on affordability and low running costs means the Octavia Estate hasn’t lost sight of what it needs to deliver.

Our choice

Skoda Octavia Estate 1.5 TSI 150 SE First Edition (£23,370)

For the same reasons we chose this trim level for the hatchback in our Compact Family Car class, SE First Edition is our choice in the estate. It best combines the equipment buyers want with the least outlay. The 1.5-litre petrol is smooth; features such as AEB, adaptive cruise and blind-spot assist make it a great family estate.

Commended

BMW 3 Series Touring

One of the key factors in the 3 Series Touring’s commendation is that you can buy it as a plug-in hybrid for the first time. So buyers after ultimate efficiency from their ultimate driving machine needn’t compromise. It’s a great-driving premium estate with plenty of practicality, including a handy split-opening tailgate.

Mercedes E-Class Estate

If it’s ultimate carrying capacity in the greatest luxury you’re after, then the E-Class Estate delivers exactly that, thanks to a 640-litre (1,820 max) boot. There’s superb infotainment in this facelifted car and a range of efficient engines – including a pair of brilliant plug-in hybrids, offering as much flexibility as you’d want.

New Car Awards 2020: the winners

Sean’s been writing about cars since 2010, having worked for outlets as diverse as PistonHeads, MSN Cars, Which? Cars, Race Tech – a specialist motorsport publication – and most recently Auto Express and sister titles Carbuyer and DrivingElectric

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