Used Skoda Octavia Estate 1998 - 2004 review

Category: Estate car

It's a good choice of practical family transport that should give reliable motoring

Skoda Octavia Estate (98 - 04)
  • Skoda Octavia Estate (98 - 04)
  • Skoda Octavia Estate (98 - 04)
Used Skoda Octavia Estate 1998 - 2004 review
Star rating

What's the used Skoda Octavia estate like?

Introduced in 1998, the Skoda Octavia was the car that really turned Skoda around. It was the first of its fleet to be designed and built under VW's stewardship, and it shows.

Behind the wheel, everything feels nicely put together and it's all well laid out. Getting a decent driving position should be no problem, thanks to a good range of seat and steering wheel adjustment. And, the seats are well bolstered, remaining comfortable even on long motorway journeys. However, back-seat occupants are not so well catered for, with an obvious lack of legroom.


It's a good choice of practical family transport that should give reliable motoring

  • The Octavia is a well-built, solid, reliable workhorse that's perfectly good to drive too
  • It's not the largest family estate, and some of its engines could be quieter

Practicality is good, though, even if the mid-sized Octavia can't match the more commodious Peugeot 406 estate. The boot is large, and the seats fold down to produce a spacious and well shaped load area.

There is a wide range of variants to choose from, including a hot 180bhp vRS. The drive on all models, though, is competent and capable, rather than outright exciting.

Ownership cost

What used Skoda Octavia estate will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Skoda Octavia estate?

Even though this Octavia was the first Skoda to make the breakthrough in quality, it's still better news for buyers than sellers, with many bargains to be had.

Various surveys and studies have acknowledged that this is not an expensive car to run, even if the 10,000-mile service intervals do not seem especially lengthy by modern standards. Dealer charges have increased, but they are still below the class average.

Insurance costs are reasonable, too. Apart from the hot vRS in group 16, the rest of the range falls between groups 5 and 11.

You can't expect fantastic fuel economy if you opt for either of the two turbocharged 1.8-litre petrols because they'll all too easily dip below 30mpg in everyday use. All the more reason, then, to go for either of the two 1.9-litre turbodiesels, where 40mpg is obtainable with a little careful throttle use.

Our recommendations

Which used Skoda Octavia estate should I buy?

If you're after a countryside hauler that's going to earn its living in all weathers, the 4x4 Elegance - introduced in 2001 - could be the car for you. It uses a 150bhp, 20-valve, 1.8-litre petrol turbo motor. There's only one other version that's faster - the high-spec 180bhp vRS, which was introduced a year later.

If you're not after performance, either of the 1.9-litre turbodiesels will do the job. They were around right from the car's launch, and sound a little clattery on start-up, but quieten down once on the move. Overall, they're the pick of the range, and the non-turbo 1.9 SDI diesel and the 1.6-litre and early non-turbo 1.8-litre petrols are not so impressive.

Safety is good across the range, with most models getting twin airbags and anti-lock brakes. Classic trim is basic, but Ambiente adds air-con and a CD changer, while Elegance gets side airbags, alloy wheels and a sunroof.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Skoda Octavia estate?