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Estate Car of the Year 2021: Skoda Octavia Estate

The Skoda Octavia Estate is the 2021 Auto Express Estate Car of the Year, with the BMW 3 Series Touring and Mercedes E-Class Estate commended

Despite the growth in popularity of SUVs, estate cars are still fantastic all-rounders. They offer incredible practicality alongside the talents of a normal hatchback, such as affordable running costs, and the latest Skoda Octavia Estate is our top pick for the second year in a row.

The number you’re looking for here is 640 litres; that’s the boot space on offer in this incredibly practical machine. Use the levers in the back to easily fold the rear seats flat, and that figure rises to 1,700 litres. It means the Octavia Estate is one of the most practical cars, regardless of price.

But the Skoda estate is also brilliant in all the other areas that make the Octavia Hatchback an award winner, too. The new model was updated with better technology, a higher-quality interior and more efficient engines, and all of these strong traits are present in the Estate.

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The cabin’s plusher materials and impressive screens give it a sense of quality that belies its affordable price, plus it’s quiet and smooth on the move. The suspension has been tuned to provide a comfortable ride rather than sporty handling (although the Octavia is still surprisingly precise to drive), and that makes perfect sense in this pragmatic and thoroughly sensible car.

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There’s a range of engines to choose from, including the excellent 1.5-litre TSI petrol unit, plus surprisingly quiet diesel options. The TDI engines are smoother than before and make a good choice for long-distance load lugging, plus they’re punchy and great for towing. We’d still pick the quiet and efficient petrol models for all-round use, though.

Best of all, the Octavia is affordable. There are very few cars in the Estate’s price range that offer as much load space, let alone the comfort and tech that come as standard. Finance deals in particular are very attractive on the latest model.

Best deal

Skoda Octavia Estate SE 1.5 TSI 150PS (£23,640)

With no-nonsense load lugging an estate car’s top priority, it makes sense to keep things simple. That’s why it’s tough to overlook the entry-level SE trim paired with the smooth yet torquey 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine. It costs £330 per month on a three-year PCP deal with a 10 per cent deposit, thanks to a £2,000 contribution from Skoda.

Commended

BMW 3 Series Touring

BMW 3 Series Touring

The BMW 3 Series Touring really offers something for everyone. It’s both sporty and comfortable, plus it has plenty of space inside and a tech-filled cabin. There’s even a plug-in hybrid model that offers low running costs, especially for company-car buyers, plus more conventional petrol and diesel options.

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Mercedes E-Class Estate

Mercedes E-Class Estate

The Mercedes E-Class Estate is huge inside, both in terms of boot space and passenger room. But like the other cars on this page, it’s fantastic at just about everything else, too. It’s comfortable, well equipped, good to drive and comes with a great range of engines, including petrol and diesel plug-in hybrid options.

New Car Awards 2021: the winners

Special edition of Auto Express

For the full experience, make sure you pick up a copy of our special New Car Awards collectors' edition of the Auto Express magazine, which is available in shops now.

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