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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For The Octavia's interior finish is top quality, all models run smoothly and there's good safety kit

Against The rear seats don't fold flat on lower-specification models, and the 1.6 struggles to shift a laden car

Verdict Forget the Skoda jibes, this car is as good as anything else out there

Go for… 1.9-litre turbodiesel

Avoid… 1.6-litre petrol

Skoda Octavia Estate
  • 1. Flywheel failure can cause serious problems on 2.0-litre diesels - make sure recall work was done
  • 2. Ensure clutch is in good condition on high-mileage cars, where it may have been abused
  • 3. Rear legroom is far better on this car than on the previous-generation model
  • 4. The boot is plenty big enough, but the high sill limits its practicality
  • 5. The cabin is comfortable and of high quality
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Skoda Octavia Estate full review with expert trade views

While the previous generation Octavia Estate did a sound job, this is a car that you would truly desire to own. It really is that good. All versions handle tidily and are fun to drive over a twisty road, yet retain their smooth ride in the process.

There’s plenty of choice to be had from the engine range, with economical diesels and a hot 197bhp vRS version. Admittedly, all of them can sound gruff when they're worked hard, but at cruising speeds refinement is excellent.

Inside, the dashboard plastics may not be quite as top notch as you’ll find in a Volkswagen, but they are still very good indeed. And, unlike in the previous model, rear passenger legroom is good. The boot provides a massive 540 litres of space, extending to a sizeable 1620 once the 60/40 split folding rear seats are lowered, and only a high boot sill limits the car's practicality.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

Modern looks with improved ride. Interior is much fresher

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

If load lugging is a priority, avoid the Classic and Ambiente versions because their cargo floors are bisected by a 5cm step when the seats are folded.

There are five trims to choose from: Classic, Ambiente, Elegance, vRS, and Laurin & Klement (the latter with leather upholstered seats). The vRS didn’t have leather fitted as standard, but many cars were fitted with it as an option. Early Classic models didn't have standard air-con, but this changed from June 2005. All models have front and side airbags, but curtain 'bags were fitted as options only.

The 115bhp 1.6-litre petrol can struggle with a full load, but the 148bhp 2.0 does a better job. With the vRS, you get the same 197bhp 2.0 turbo as in the Golf GTI. The 140bhp 2.0 turbodiesel is quick, but the 105bhp 1.9 TDI is our choice. Like the non-turbo 2.0-litre petrol, it’s also available in four-wheel drive.

Trade view

John Owen

Skoda just gets better. They're thin on the ground and a wise buy if you find one

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

With the 1.9 TDI Ambiente, there shouldn’t be too many tears over running costs. It has the best fuel economy of the range - a claimed 53.3mpg - and it’s the cheapest to insure - a mere group 7 insurance rating. However, coverage isn’t expensive for the range as a whole: most run no higher than group 8.

You’ll have to make an exception if you want the vRS, which incurs a group 15 rating, but that’s still not bad for what is essentially a hot hatch. Fuel economy isn’t so good, though. Use the petrol turbo engine at all enthusiastically, and you’ll be lucky to get 28mpg.

Perhaps the big surprise is that you shouldn't expect to pick one up for next to nothing. It won’t be as expensive as an equivalently aged VW Passat, but it hangs on to its value much better than a Ford Mondeo or a Vauxhall Vectra estate.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

Modern looks with improved ride. Interior is much fresher

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

Few common faults have yet to emerge on this version of the Octavia Estate, and it looks set to continue Skoda’s strong traditional showing in studies such as What Car?’s JD Power customer satisfaction survey.

However, there have been some problems with flywheel failure on the 2.0-litre turbodiesel when used with the standard manual gearbox. Full details are available on the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency website at www.vosa.gov.uk.

If you are buying a car with a lot of miles on it, it's really important to have the suspension checked out, especially if you intend to carry a lot of heavy loads. Check for any hint of a slipping clutch on manual high-mileage cars, too.

Skoda also uses VW’s DSG clutchless paddle-shift gearbox. It should stand the test of time, but a thorough test drive to ensure all gears engage smoothly and freely is a must.

Trade view

John Owen

Skoda just gets better. They're thin on the ground and a wise buy if you find one

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford
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