Octavia Estate 4x4 2.0 TDI 140bhp DPF
latest Octavia 4x4 Estate
looks like it should cost thousands
of pounds more to buy than it does.
With four-wheel drive, a high spec,
plentiful space and a punchy but
frugal engine, whats
not to like?
SKODA MARKETS ITSELF AS "THE MANUFACTURER OF HAPPY DRIVERS"
a clever strapline but not worth a light if they couldn't
back it up with products that lived up to their claim. Fortunately, as an army
of satisfied customers can confirm, they can. Take, for instance, the latest
Octavia 4x4 Estate we did, for a week. And let's just say
that if there had been a way we could have kept it for longer, we would have…
The 'new' Octavia has recently been facelifted more distinctive front
and rear light units, new door mirrors, sculptured bonnet and new grille and
an interior upgrade that, amongst other things, adds a new steering wheel, new-look
instruments with white LED illumination, new high-tech entertainment system
and a touch-screen display.
Visually, the latest Octavia Estate is now a very well-honed package. And, reassuringly,
underneath it's still the same well-built and roomy estate. Open a door, settle
into one of the shapely front seats and look around: it's a pleasing cabin and
could easily be from the class above thanks to the exacting fit and finish and
the high-quality plastics.
It's clear that Skoda hasn't cut corners either when kitting out the interior.
Standard equipment includes dual-zone air conditioning (with pollen filter),
leather-wrapped multifunction steering-wheel, cruise control, a six-disc CD
autochanger, four one-shot auto up/down electric windows, electrically-adjustable
and heated door mirrors, tinted glass, trip computer, 6.5-inch touch-screen
display, MP3-friendly radio with integrated 6-CD changer and an SD/MMC card
reader plus eight speakers, AUX IN socket for MP3 players and the like, auto-dimming
rear-view mirror with rain sensor, front headlight washers and a 'Jumbo' box
an air-conditioned storage compartment beneath the adjustable armrest
between the front seats.
Safety is equally well specified with driver and front passenger front and side
airbags, a convenient passenger airbag de-activation switch, WOKS whiplash-minimising
headrests, four-wheel drive and a host of electronic active safety systems such
as the Electronic Stability Programme and ABS.
you get a set of smart 5-spoke alloys shod with 205/60 Dunlop SP Sports, roof
rails, large front spotlights, indicators integrated into the door mirrors,
raised suspension that gives an extra 23mm of ground clearance over the standard
model (163 vs 140mm) and a sump guard.
The advanced 'Columbus' SatNav is an excellent and aptly named
piece of kit and well worth the extra £1,540 it costs. You can view images in
2D, 3D or even topographically and you only need the very lightest fingertip
pressure to work it. Directional commands are also first class, and the other
switchgear all feels 'engineered'.
in the diesel-powered Octavia 4x4 Estate is a relaxed experience, especially
on motorways with less than 2,000rpm required for cruising at the 70mph legal
limit. The miles just seem to fly past, helped by the refined cabin ambience
(it really is very soothing) and the comfortable accommodation.
4x4 feels relentless
like those famous
Timex watches, it can
take a licking
and keep on ticking...
The two-tone cloth upholstered front seats are notably good, with ample under-thigh
support. Their pronounced side bolsters hold you firmly in place even during
spirited cornering and, courtesy of the generous seat and steering-wheel adjustments,
drivers will find it easy to achieve a first rate driving position.
The four-spoke multifunction wheel is wrapped in smooth hide and feels good
in your hands. Other driver plus-points include crystal-clear white on black
dials and the equally easy-to-read driver's information panel between the speedometer
And there's yet more attention to detail: sun-visors that stay in the exact
position you 'park' them and the parking ticket holder in the lower offside
of the windscreen. If you've ever tried to get a ticket to stay put on your
dash while you shut the door on a windy day, you'll understand why this is so
Throughout the cabin there's lots of well-considered storage: an air-conditioned
glovebox, large door pockets, side pockets on the seat base, lidded cubby recessed
in the top of the fascia and another at the base of the centre stack, along
with a drop down box in the right-hand side of the dash and a 3-cup holder by
Rear seat passengers enjoy ample room in all directions and four adults can
travel pleasantly in the airy cabin with room to spare. Rear passengers also
get practical door pockets, their own A/C vents the air conditioning,
by the way, is brilliant and does genuinely 'icy' cold if that's what you want!
outer armrests and a flat and usefully wide centre armrest (there's also
a load-through facility).
It has to be said: in the nicest possible way, that the Skoda has one hell of
a big boot: a very accommodating 580 litres. Drop the 60:40 split/fold seats
and this shoots up to 1,620 litres enough to make the Octavia Estate
one of the best load carriers in its class.
large tailgate opens with minimal physical effort and swings up unassisted.
The boot is deep and intrusion-free, with two spacious lidded side bins, six
lashing eyes, a folding bag hook, twin boot lights and a power socket.
Other nice touches include the neat luggage blind that runs in side tracks so
it doesn't flop about and which latches/unlatches without any fuss; the anti-slip
strips on the load bay floor; and the full-size spare under the boot floor with
a stay hook to hold the floor panel up while accessing it. It's always the attention
to detail that makes a car liveable and the Octavia 4x4 Estate has a lot of
these small but significant touches.
this Skoda is not just somewhere nice to sit; it's also more than satisfying
to drive. The six-speed manual 'box has a light, positive action, the steering
(rack-and-pinion with speed-sensitive electro-hydraulic power assistance) is
accurate and nicely weighted and the brakes (discs front and rear; ventilated
at the front) are reassuring and immediately responsive.
the nicest possible
way, the Skoda has
one hell of a big boot...
While speed humps can cause a jolt, the ride is comfortable everywhere else
and you can feel the 4x4 grip keeping it firmly planted a reassuring
sensation of security that's even more palpable on twisty lanes and in the wet.
Even in the pouring rain it feels reassuringly agile and lets you make quick
and safe progress despite the trickiest weather conditions.
Another very enjoyable aspect of the 4x4 Estate is the powerplant under the
bonnet: the 140bhp 2.0-litre TDI. A VW Pumpe Duse injected unit, it's strong
and punchy, noticeably so low down and particularly mid-range thanks
to peak torque being available from a lowish 1,750rpm. And, courtesy of its
linear power delivery and muscular 236lb ft of torque, overtaking manoeuvres
are fast and totally fuss-free and, thanks to the 4WD, the car always feels
stable and poised when pressing on.
Performance is more than adequate, with 0-62mph coming up in 9.9 seconds and
a top speed of 123mph. Fifth and sixth are amazingly responsive and serve up
impressive pick-up even when cruising at 2,000rpm at the motorway limit in top
gear. The only problem is that the Octavia 4x4 lopes along so eagerly that you
really do need to keep a close watch on the speedometer!
It also manages to be pretty frugal. Officially it returns 44.8mpg on the combined
cycle, with 35.3 and 53.3mpg respectively in urban and extra-urban conditions.
A week's hard testing over a variety of roads saw a very healthy 45.6mpg overall
figure that most owners should easily match.
Drive it hard and you quickly realise that it feels relentless and you
just know it will effortlessly rack up the miles like those famous Timex watches
whose jingle was "takes a licking and keeps on ticking".
The Skoda's four-wheel drive system is totally automatic and operates without
any driver intervention whatsoever. It uses a Haldex system that, in most conditions,
sends 96 per cent of power to the front wheels. Naturally the allocation constantly
varies according to available grip. For example, in the dry with good traction
the front wheels each get 48% of the drive, with both rear wheels each getting
2%. Bad grip for all four wheels sees each getting 25% while poor grip at the
front wheels has both rear wheels each getting 45% with each front wheel receiving
As we said at the beginning of this review, Skoda's latest Octavia 4x4 Estate
looks like it should cost thousands more to buy than it actually does. With
four-wheel drive, a high spec, plentiful space and a punchy but frugal engine,
it's an appealing and practical car. On top of that, Skoda has been in the top
five in the JD Power Survey of Customer Satisfaction for the past 14 years and
is the first brand to knock Lexus off the top spot in the Auto Express
Driver Power Customer Satisfaction Survey (2009). But don't just take our word
for it; book a test drive and see for yourself. MotorBar
Skoda Octavia Estate 4x4 2.0 TDI 140bhp DPF | £19,450
Maximum speed: 123mph | 0-62mph: 9.9 seconds | Overall test MPG: 45.6mpg
Power: 140bhp | Torque: 236lb ft | CO2 165g/km | Insurance group 10E