2014 Skoda Octavia Estate Greenline review
The most frugal version of the Skoda Octavia Estate could also be the best, thanks to a slight power hike over the standard 1.6 TDI and the addition of a six-speed manual. We test the new SE Busi...
The Skoda Octavia Estate Greenline seems to have it all. It gets a six-speed gearbox and a smidgen more power than the five-speed 1.6 TDI 105 models, and it’s about as efficient as big estate cars get, thanks to emissions of just 85g/km, so it should also be a cheap company car. Of course it also has all the space and practicality that we know the Skoda Octavia Estate specialises in.
There’s a new SE Business trim available on Greenline models, which costs £110 less than standard Greenline trim yet - oddly - is much better equipped. It adds sat-nav, cruise control, and a multifunction steering wheel, on top of the digital radio, colour touch-screen, rear parking sensors and Bluetooth that standard Greenline trim features.
This makes SE Business trim a no-brainer for any company car buyers, and even for private buyers paying the whole cost of the car up-front. The catch is that private buyers won’t be able to get any special offers on finance deals.
Given that the vast majority of buyers will want finance, most will find that adding optional equipment to a standard Greenline will actually result in lower monthly payments, thanks to the low-interest or sometimes 0% finance deals that Skoda offers, but which won't be applicable to SE Business trim.
What’s the Skoda Octavia Estate Greenline like to drive?
There are two things about the Octavia Estate that let it down. First is refinement. Suspension noise is a noticeable distraction, especially around town, and engine refinement is so-so, being quite gruff and clattery under acceleration. There are smoother-revving rivals around, such as the Peugeot 308 SW.
Second is ride comfort. The Octavia Greenline Estate is comfortable most of the time, and is particularly settled on the motorway, but it thumps and shudders over sharp-edged potholes, and will fidget over small undulations in the road surface - something that soon becomes obvious in town.
Those are the only significant criticisms we can level at it. The steering is well weighted and precise, and aided by plentiful front-end grip, it makes the Octavia Greenline Estate easy to drive around town, and stable and confidence-inspiring everywhere else.
The six-speed gearbox makes the most of the engine’s performance, and has a light, slick shift, which you'll be using regularly around town to keep the engine in its punchy mid rev-range. It does pull smoothly, if sedately, from very low revs, so if you're not in a hurry you can leave it in a higher gear.
Ultimately, while it’s a shame that the ride isn’t a little more composed over scruffy urban roads, and that suspension noise is such a noticeable issue, the Skoda Greenline is the better car to drive than the standard 1.6 TDI, mostly thanks to its gearbox. In any situation, it’s an easy-going car to drive.
What’s the Skoda Octavia Greenline Estate like inside?
Just like any other Octavia Estate, which means that you get a huge boot, good visibility all-round, generous passenger space and a comfortable driving position that includes height and lumbar adjustment for both driver and passenger.
With digital radio, USB input, colour touch-screen and climate control all included you don’t need to add much, though anyone wishing to play an Apple device through the system via USB will have to pay £100 extra for an upgrade. Bluetooth audio streaming is standard.
If you're a company buyer, it’s worth stepping up to Business SE, thanks to all the aforementioned extra kit plus a central armrest up front, which further improves the driving position.
The only annoyance is that the 60/40 split rear seats don’t fold totally flat, and leave a step in the load bay. You also can’t add a variable boot floor, as you can on some other Octavia Estate models, which allows you to raise the floor and create a long load bay that’s flush with the load lip.
Should I buy one?
If you’re a company car buyer, opt for the SE Business and it’s about the best estate you can get, and it comes at an impressively low tax cost of £98 per month for those in the 40% tax band.
Even private buyers that don't need finance have ample reason to go for it – it’s well-priced, relaxing to drive, very frugal and incredibly practical. Having said that we would suggest you look to the Octavia Greenline hatch unless you absolutely must have the extra boot space, because the hatch is less afflicted by boomy suspension noise, and is cheaper and a touch more comfortable.
There is also seriously strong competition in the form of the Volkswagen Golf Estate 1.6 TDI SE. In fact, we’d say private buyers are better off in the VW, which has a better ride and tidier handling, is barely any less spacious, and is similarly cheap to own privately, thanks to very strong residual values.
What Car? says...
Skoda Octavia Estate Greenline III
Engine size 1.6-litre diesel
Price from £21,105
Torque 184lb ft
0-62mph 10.7 seconds
Top speed 127mph
Fuel economy 74.3mpg