Skoda Octavia 4x4 Estate review

Class-leading Skoda 4x4 Estate makes even bigger impression with four-wheel drive

Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

It's hard to find any flaws in the Skoda Octavia 4x4 Estate package. It’s composed on the move, yet fun to drive, and it offers huge amounts of interior space. While the 4x4 system does slightly affect efficiency, 57.6mpg is still impressive and it’s brilliant value for money. There’s no reason why this big new Skoda shouldn’t receive the full five stars.

On paper, an efficient, all-wheel-drive, load-lugging estate is the only car you should need. And with Skoda clinching top spot in our Driver Power 2014 satisfaction survey, we had high hopes for the latest Skoda Octavia 4x4 Estate.

Our test car was fitted with the more powerful of the two diesel options: the 148bhp 2.0-litre TDI (a 104bhp 1.6-litre diesel is also available). And although it has a heavy four-wheel-drive system – which adds over 100kg of weight – the Octavia Estate 4x4 is only one-tenth slower from 0-62mph than the standard front-drive model, taking 8.7 seconds.

There’s also little to tell the two apart visually, with only interior badging to separate the regular Estate from the 4x4. But extensive mechanical tweaks mean the 4x4 is now the best handling Estate, and Octavia, you can buy.

Skoda has borrowed the same multi-link rear suspension you’ll find in variants of the VW Golf, while a clever electronic diff lock and XDS braking system have also been fitted to help manage power delivery in slippery conditions.

The sodden roads we had to deal with on our test perfectly demonstrated how composed the 4x4 model is. The rear wheels only came into play when the car detected the front wheels were struggling for grip. Even over rutted and waterlogged back roads, the Estate effortlessly shuffled its power between the axles, without a hint of wheel spin.

The system also maximises efficiency, with Skoda claiming 57.6mpg and 124g/km of CO2. That’s notably better than the Vauxhall Insignia Sport Tourer 4x4 and VW Passat Alltrack, which only promise 50.4mpg/147g/km and 49.6mpg/149g/km respectively.

Even inside the Octavia has the upper hand, with a solid finish and huge 610-litre boot. Don’t think you have to pay a premium for a more polished product, though, as the £22,715 Octavia Estate is £2,630 cheaper than the Insignia Sports Tourer and £6,520 less than the VW.

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