New Skoda Octavia Estate 2017 facelift review
Skoda's Octavia Estate remains a family car that can tick all the boxes, put them its the boot and drive away, economically.
Incredibly competent in almost every aspect, if not particularly exciting, this updated Skoda Octavia Estate only reinforces its position as one of the most recommendable family cars on the market. Its blend of space, practicality, value and comfort makes it one of the most accomplished in its class.
Out of the countless number of models and derivatives offered by the VW Group, a Skoda Octavia Estate powered by a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine is about a sensible as things get. It’s not going to turn many heads on the high street but if a practical, affordable and refined family car is what you are looking for, you really can’t do much better.
This is the lightly updated version of the Skoda’s bestselling Octavia. Changes aren’t revolutionary but since its predecessor ticked all of the boxes, a major revamp was hardly necessary. Nevertheless, the designers have been to work on the front end sculpting a set of new split headlamps, while inside updated infotainment systems and a raft of new safety tech have been added.
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In SE L spec (the most popular trim level) and powered by Skoda’s 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel, it costs from £24,556 – a £1,200 premium over the smaller hatchback. Its pretty much on par with its rivals from Ford, SEAT and Peugeot when it comes to price, but the Skoda is packed with kit: 17-inch alloys, Alcantara and leather upholstery, eight-inch infotainment system, full LED headlamps and a wi-fi hotspot all come as standard.
Aside from the Peugeot 308 SW’s 660-litre boot, the Octavia is one of the most spacious and practical estates in its class. The 610-litre load bay (the hatchback still offers an impressive 590 litres) extends to 1,740 litres when you drop the rear bench. While it still lags behind the Peugeot when it comes to carrying capacity, the Skoda does come with several nifty features such as hidden under floor storage, carrying hooks and a 12v power supply in the boot as part of the brand’s ‘Simply Clever’ thinking.
The 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel is one of six engines now offered in the Octavia; three petrol and three diesels make up the range. Out of the six it’s probably the one we’d recommend going for - serving up punchy performance, strong fuel economy and decent refinement paired with a six-speed manual gearbox.
At lower speeds the engine does grumble slightly, but once you get going it fades away. On a long run don’t be surprised to see yourself getting close to Skoda’s 65.7mpg economy claim, either.
Mechanically there have been no major updates to the Octavia, but adaptive dampers have been made available as an optional extra. They offer Comfort, Normal and Sport driving modes, but there’s very little difference between any of the three.
The driving experience is pretty much like the rest of the Octavia: sensible, easy to get on with and without many surprises. But that’s not a criticism. It soaks up bumps in the road with minimal fuss, has light but accurate steering and even feels at home on a tight and twisty B-road.
The low down torque of the diesel engine (340Nm) and supple suspension means it tackles undulating roads swiftly and comfortably. Get it on the motorway and its relaxed nature makes long motorway slogs a breeze. As a car designed to carry passengers and luggage comfortable and safely over many miles, the Octavia Estate is up there with the best.