Skoda Octavia Estate 4x4

A new all-wheel-drive system adds yet another string to the brilliant Skoda Octavia Estate's bow

Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

Fitting four-wheel drive adds to the Octavia Estate’s already impressive talents. The extra grip combined with the cracking 2.0-litre diesel engine means it’s better to drive than the standard car. Inside, it’s just as large and wonderfully refined as the base model. If value is your top priority, we’d stick with the standard estate, but as a go-anywhere family car, the 4x4 is hard to beat.

We were blown away by the new Skoda Octavia Estate and its combination of space and value when we drove it last week. But if you spend £1,450 more, you can add four-wheel drive to the long list of features. We drove the flagship 2.0-litre TDI model to find out if more grip adds appeal.

Successive snowy winters have seen the popularity of SUVs soar, so offering customers this option could give the Skoda an edge on front-drive-only rivals like the Ford Focus Estate and Vauxhall Astra ST.

From the outside, there’s little to distinguish the Octavia 4x4 from the rest of the range, apart from subtle boot badges and 17-inch alloys.

A Scout version with raised ride height and rugged underbody protection will arrive later next year, but for now this 4x4 is a more subtly styled alternative.

No change to the ride height means there’s no more body roll than in the standard estate. In fact, thanks to mechanical upgrades, this is now the best handling Octavia.

Underneath, it gets the same complex multi-link rear suspension as high-powered versions of the VW Golf, plus an electronic diff lock and its clever XDS braking system for extra grip when cornering on slippery surfaces.

On the road, that translates to a planted and composed ride, while the added grip allows you to use all of the smooth 2.0-litre TDI engine’s extra power.

With 44bhp and 70Nm more torque than the 1.6 TDI we tested last week, it covers 0-62mph three seconds faster, in 8.7 seconds, and feels significantly more eager and responsive in-gear.

Unlike the Yeti SUV, there’s no dedicated off-road mode or hill- descent control, but the Octavia 4x4 can tackle gravel tracks and steep inclines with ease. And for drivers who don’t leave the tarmac, it offers a safety net when the weather conditions take a turn for the worse.

During normal driving, the Haldex 4x4 transmission only sends power to the front, but when the car senses a loss of grip, it reacts fast enough that you never notice any loss of stability. Stop-start is fitted as standard and there’s no auto, which helps keep CO2 emissions to just 124g/km.

Economy is 10mpg worse than the equivalent front-wheel-drive estate, but the 4x4 is still cleaner than any four-wheel-drive rival. And while it’s only available in SE trim, that keeps the asking price low, undercutting its close rival, the Subaru Legacy, by £4,510.

Most Popular

New 2021 BMW M3 launched with huge grille and 503bhp
BMW 3 Series M3 Coupe

New 2021 BMW M3 launched with huge grille and 503bhp

The new sixth-generation BMW M3 Competition saloon gets a 503bhp straight-six engine and four-wheel-drive
22 Sep 2020
New 2020 Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV revealed with up to 323 miles of range
Volkswagen ID.4

New 2020 Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV revealed with up to 323 miles of range

The new Tiguan-sized Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV becomes VW’s second ID. model, rivalling the Tesla Model Y
23 Sep 2020
New Range Rover Velar PHEV launched with 33-mile electric range
Land Rover Range Rover Velar

New Range Rover Velar PHEV launched with 33-mile electric range

Land Rover has given the Range Rover Velar an update, with a new plug-in hybrid powertrain and an improved infotainment system
23 Sep 2020