2017 Skoda Octavia Estate review: No-nonsense family wagon

Sensible, inexpensive and spacious, there’s a lot to like about Skoda’s Octavia Estate. It might not excite in its mainstream, volume-selling guises, but for a lot of buyers that is part of its appeal.
Body Style: 5 door estate
Seats: 5
MRP from lb18,395-lb30,245
Did you know? The Octavia Estate’s 1,740-litre maximum boot capacity is 60 litres more than an Audi A6 Avant.

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We’ll admit to liking the big, practical and sensible Skoda Octavia Estate here. Indeed, we’ve recommended many friends buy them and they’ve all been satisfied. The reasoning is that, if you’re after no-nonsense, inexpensive and spacious family motoring then the Octavia Estate has it all, and more – particularly relating to space. Sure, a Peugeot 308 SW will run it close for functionality and value, with a bit more glamour, but the Skoda has a more comfortable driving position and endless useful touches that the Peugeot falls short of. That even the base level S trim comes well specified is appealing, and while we’re not so sure its last facelift was entirely successful – those headlights? – you can overlook that for the roundedness of the offering overall. A fine car, then, if not one to get excited about, which is kind of the point.
Technology & Connectivity
Performance & Handling
Spec & Trim Levels
Fuel Economy
We Like
Massive, well-shaped boot with good access.
All are economical and easy to drive.
Cabin feels like a premium car, and standard equipment is good.
We Don’t Like
Refinement isn’t the best.
The suspension doesn’t like low speed ripples and bumps.
It’s not exactly exciting, however good it might be overall.

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The word simple is used extensively in Skoda’s marketing, and with the Octavia it’s largely related to the design. There’s not a huge amount of flair, but then that’s always been a signature element of the no-nonsense Octavia, particularly here in its most practical of configurations. No surprises with the Estate then, the lines clear-cut and neat, the practical rear end properly defining what you’d expect a load-lugger to be, Skoda not deferring to the ‘lifestyle’ wagon or sport touring set and instead offering a useful, boxy rear. If it’s lifestyle you want Skoda does offer the Scout Estate, a countrified version, wearing some additional outdoorsy-like ‘protective’ body cladding around the wheel arches and under the bumpers, as well as 4×4 drive and a slightly higher ride height.
If we’ve a complaint at all, it’s the headlights, which were added on its most recent 2017 styling refresh. They’re a bit busy, jarring a bit at the nose. Even so, it’s not enough to detract from the Skoda’s overall appeal. The shut lines are tight, and what detailing there is – headlights aside – is subtly executed. Sensible, inoffensive and appealing then, the Octavia Estate isn’t going to turn anyone’s head, but neither is it going to offend, which appeals to its middle-ground marketplace perfectly.

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Nothing underlines how far Skoda has developed under Volkswagen’s stewardship more than its interiors. The cabin design of the Octavia Estate follows that sensible approach of its exterior, with a fit and finish that would once have been the preserve of its upmarket cousins at Audi. The material quality is excellent, the instruments simple and clear and the controls around the centre console and transmission tunnel all nicely situated and understandable.
Seat comfort is good, with the firm, supportive seats offering a good range of adjustment, while those looking for some luxury can choose electrical operation and heating, the steering wheel also offered with the option of heating – it being among the warmest we’ve tried. If space equals comfort, then the Octavia wins, too, with an abundance of useable space, the cabin feeling far roomier than most competition in the same price category.
Refinement is adequate in the Octavia – the engines are all respectably quiet, particularly the petrols – but the suspension can be quite boomy around town, which can be irritating.

Few cars define practicality more than a Skoda estate. Indeed, in many ways the Czech firm has taken the baton from Volvo regarding load-lugging usefulness. The Octavia might be spun off the same platform that underpins its VW family relations like the VW Golf and Seat Leon but the space it offers is huge.
It’s not just the volume, either, but the shape of the load area, height of the opening and the size of the boot hatch that accesses it. Fold the seats and the volume is 1,740 litres, by way of comparison a VW Golf Estate is 1,620 litres, the split floor offering some useful underfloor stowage as well as somewhere to secrete the boot luggage cover if you’re loading the boot to the roof. A 40/60 seat split is standard, with a through-load hatch, too, those rear seats folding forward at the tug of a release button near the back of the boot. They don’t fold entirely flat, but even so you’ll be doing well to find the Octavia Estate’s load area lacking.

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Technology & Connectivity
Being part of the VW empire doesn’t just mean smarter interiors and build, but access to the latest tech. Every Octavia comes with Smartlink+, which will connect to your smartphone via either standard Apple CarPlay or Android Auto on even the base spec models.
All also feature DAB audio, Bluetooth connection, a SD card clot, USB and aux sockets and an 8-inch touchscreen display. SE adds voice control, SE-L gains standard sat nav and wifi (and an online subscription for one year) The range-topping Laurin & Klement gets the large 9.2-inch Columbus sat nav system, which can be optioned elsewhere in the line-up, as well as Skoda’s premium audio package – though with 8 speakers as standard even base S Octavia Estates stereos aren’t lacking.
There’s the usual options of wireless charging, parking cameras or park assist, which will park the Octavia in parallel or bay spaces. If you’re towing there’s trailer assist, too, while adaptive cruise control is also available either optionally, or as standard on the Lauren & Klement.

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Performance & Handling
If you want the quickest you’ll want the vRS models, these different enough to warrant their own scrutiny elsewhere on Motor1. The mainstream engine line-up is made up of a selection of petrol and diesel units, which are better listed by outputs rather than their capacities. The petrol choices comprise of 113bhp and 147bhp options courtesy of a 1-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, with two 147bhp choices gaining a cylinder and growing in capacity to either 1.4-litres or 1.5-litres Why the differing capacities? The 1.5-litre unit gains an automatic cylinder shut off system to improve economy.
The turbodiesel engines largely follow the petrol choice’s outputs, with a 113bhp model available with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder TDI and 147bhp from a 2-litre version. There is a 181bhp version of the 2-litre TDI for the four-wheel drive Scout model, it only offered with the seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. Elsewhere in the line-up that same DSG auto can be optioned, and it’s a worthwhile addition as it’s a slick-shifting transmission and, in the case of the 1.6 TDI, replaces a five-speed manual – remember those? Elsewhere the standard manual is a six-speeder, which shifts cleanly enough across its springy gate.
Diesels were once the default choice here, but the world’s fallen out of favour with them. Here they demonstrate their superb low-rev torque, overall flexibility, ease and fine economy to good effect. If you’re sticking with diesel, then you’ll find either choice to your liking, though if you’re going to use your Octavia Estate with its boot fully loaded, or for towing, you’ll appreciate the 2.0-litre TDI’s mightier – 251lb ft over 184lb ft for the 1.6 – torque output.
Happily, for those people turned off from diesel the TSI petrol engine choices are impressive, not just on performance, but economy too. Putting a 1-litre 3-cylinder under the bonnet of a car as big as an Octavia might have been unthinkable a few years ago, but the turbocharged triple isn’t out of its depth here. Indeed, its willing, revvy nature is genuinely appealing, it only betraying its three-cylinder status with a little bit of noise if you’ve got your right foot mashed to the floor. The 1.4/1.5 TSI engines provide a bit more performance when measured, but it’s not such an appreciable leap to rule out that 1-litre TSI, particularly as the lighter, smaller engine improves the handling.
Handling and comfort
With a little bit less weight over the front axle that 1.0-litre TSI is the engine of choice for the best steering response, though all steer accurately. In all the chassis exhibits the sort of no-nonsense balance and surefootedness you’d expect in a family car in this category but it’s not entirely without vices.
Ride comfort is fine at speed, but around town the suspension does struggle to smother sharper ridges and imperfections in the road surface. You can opt for adaptive suspension from the options list to help improve this, but it’s not so transformative to recommend it as essential.
Uniquely in estate guise is the Scout model, which does offer a slight improvement in the ride comfort thanks to its higher, off-road enabled suspension, which combined with its wheelarch covers which help prevent parking dings and scratches actually makes this countrified estate something of a sensible urban machine.
Recommended engine: 1.5 TSI DSG
8.4 seconds
Fuel economy
114g/km CO2

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From base S trim, all Octavia Estates come equipped with driver and passenger front and side airbags, a driver’s knee airbag, head and curtain airbags, ESC, hill hold control, a tyre pressure monitoring system, automatic post-collision braking and a seatbelt warning light for all passengers.
There’s a pair of Isofix child seat mounts in the outermost rear seats in all, too. Above S, SE gains a Driver Fatigue Sensor, and acoustic rear parking sensors, SE-L adding Front Assist, and intelligent headlights to the standard kit. The range-topping Laurin & Klement gets adaptive cruise control, and Lane assist. Scout’s specification largely follows that of the SE, with the addition of off-road mode in the driver selectable modes. The options list allows further safety-related equipment (where not already fitted), including blind-spot detection, Light assistant, Lane Assist, Front assist with pedestrian protection and adaptive cruise control.

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Spec & Trim Levels
All come with a good level of standard equipment, the S not really leaving you wanting for any essential equipment, and in some regards being rather generous. DAB, Bluetooth, Smartlink (phone connectivity) and a touch-screen display underlines this, as do things like standard tyre pressure monitoring and air conditioning. SE benefits from cruise control, a driver fatigue sensor and selectable drive modes, as well as dual climate control over the S. SE-Ls gain in-car wifi, a touch-screen satellite navigation system, Alcantara and leather upholstery. Range-topping Laurin & Klement models come fully-loaded, with a larger touchscreen nav system, premium audio and adaptive cruise control in its luxuriously-appointed specification.
Pacific Blue is the standard, no-cost colour, with non-metallic Corrida Red and Candy White costing lb205. If you want a metallic or pearl effect colour there are nine additional choices, eight of which come in at under lb600, or if you want Velvet Red metallic lb900. The choices span the usual white, grey and black options, as well as some more unusual, though not unappealing hues like Maple Brown Metallic and Cappuccino Beige Metallic. Candy White is standard on the L&K model, while the optional metallic and pearl paint choices drop by around a third with the most expensive model.
Trim Levels
The trim levels start with that well-equipped S, rising though SE, SE-L and Laurin & Klement at the top of the line-up. There’s a Scout model in estate guise, too, which is essentially an SE with some additional, off-road specific trim modifications and drive selections.
Size and Dimensions
Max towing weight unbraked – braked
610kg – 2,000kg

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Fuel Economy
Running costs should prove palatable, all the engines provide competitive economy and emissions, with the 1.6-litre TDI able to return an official combined consumption figure in excess of 70mpg when mated to a DSG automatic transmission. The reality will likely be around 25 percent less than that if you’re relatively careful, that true with all engine and transmission combinations. The most economical petrol engine is the 1-litre TSI with an official figure just shy of 60mpg. While that’s good, it’s worth noting that both 147bhp 1.4 and 1.5 TSI engines are within a couple of mpg of that, so if you can afford more there’s very little economy sacrifice for their greater performance.
The Scout is among the most expensive to run, thanks to its standard four-wheel drive, but it’s not as significant a hit on economy and emissions as you might imagine, being within 2-3mpg of its front-wheel drive alternatives. Insurance groups range from around group 14-25 for that Scout, with the bulk of the volume models around group 18.
Reliability and servicing
Pick any reliability survey and you’ll likely see Skoda at the top of the charts. Indeed, it’s built itself quite a reputation for reliability, so ownership should be hassle free. Servicing should follow Skoda’s customer-driven ease and affordability, with the company offering new buyers the option of servicing packages payable monthly or as a single payment. Service intervals are picked with each car, buyers able to take a fixed 10,000/annual scheme, or a flexible regime, which uses the car’s own servicing sensors. Take the latter if you’re a higher mileage driver, as it can mean intervals of up to 20,000 miles or two years.
Flexible, depending on use
Flexible, depending on use

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You’ll pay a little bit more for your Octavia estate over its hatchback relation, around lb1,000-lb1,200 depending on model. Prices start at around lb18,000 for a 1.0 TSI in S spec. The most powerful Scout model is just shy of lb30,000, while a Laurin & Klement model breaks that lb30,000 barrier. The big-selling models are all in the early to mid-lb20,000 range, though, which is competitive, especially when you consider how much bigger the Octavia is than its key rivals. You could lease one for under lb300 a month, easily, on either a business or personal lease.
Luxury Seeker
The Laurin & Klement comes equipped like a junior executive, and feels every bit as classy inside.
Cost Conscious
A 1.6 TDI in S form wants for nothing equipment-wise, and will never stop for fuel if you’re sensible driving it.
New Parents
Any, really, though a 1.6-litre TDI in SE-L with a WIFI hotspot for streaming Peppa Pig on long journeys will help preserve parental sanity.
Seat Leon ST
Good looks and a more engaging drive, but the Octavia’s boot is significantly bigger.
Peugeot 308 SW
Neat interior, a decent drive and a good-sized boot, the 308 SW is well worth considering.
Volkswagen Golf Estate
The Octavia’s cousin is more expensive and less expansive in the luggage department, but that badge…
Ford Focus Estate
It’ll be replaced soon, the old Focus not able to match the Octavia for carrying or classiness of interior.
Toyota Avensis Estate
About as dull as an estate can be, but inexpensive and certainly reliable, the Octavia’s boot’s bigger, though.


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