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The outgoing Skoda Octavia Estate was hardly short of room but the new design makes rivals look like superminis.
With 610 litres of luggage space when the rear seats are upright, it has 134 litres more than the Ford Focus Estate and beats the VW Golf Estate by 105 litres. Neat touches include levers on either side of the boot to fold the rear seats flat (standard on all but the entry-level model), a boot floor that can be set to two different levels or used as a divider, and hidden storage for the luggage cover.
Despite being bigger than its predecessor, the Octavia is significantly lighter too, with up to 102kg shaved off the kerbweight. Combine the weight loss with modifications under the bonnet and the result is an impressive set of economy and emissions figures. The 105hp 1.6-litre diesel should prove most attractive to business users, with official combined economy of 74.3mpg and CO2 of 99g/km, which put the car in the 14% BIK band.
From launch next month the other diesel option is a 150hp 2.0-litre with official combined economy figure of 67.3mpg and CO2 of 110g/km. These cars will be joined by a Greenline model (83mpg and 87g/km) later this year, and there are two petrol versions, a 105hp 1.2-litre and a 140hp 1.4.
Despite having much less power and torque, the 1.6 diesel doesn't feel like the poor relation of the diesels, and there's enough poke for confident overtaking, although keen drivers will prefer the 2.0-litre's extra turn of speed.
Whichever engine is chosen, the Octavia drives well, striking a fine balance between high-speed control and low-speed comfort. It's competent rather than exciting, although the forthcoming high-performance vRS model should put that right.
Three trim levels are available (S, SE and Elegance), all better equipped than the equivalent versions of the old car.
Skoda Octavia Estate
Model price range
Service, Maintenance and Repair
Vehicle Excise Duty
Cost per mile
BIK 20/40% per month
Boot space (min/max)
Exceptionally practical and cost-effective as a business tool