Skoda Octavia a worthy workhorse
Iain Dooley checks out Skoda's rounded Octavia estate – big on both space and value.
Engines – As is the case for any car from the mighty Volkswagen Group, there's no shortage of choice here. If you're planning on working your car hard the diesel motors are the clear winners, although it pays to buy the latest you can afford for maximum refinement. Petrol cars aren't that far behind, and work well for light duties or mainly urban travel.
Exterior – The clean, unfussy lines of the Octavia are part of its attraction. They also go some way to cleverly masking the car's size. Being a load-lugger it's not a small car, but its measured styling is such that you'd never think the Octavia is unwieldy.
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Interior – Taking much from the Volkswagen way of doing things, the Octavia's cabin might be a sombre environment but it's a well-built and refined one whether you're on the move or not. It's also a spacious one – more so than many rivals – and that includes the car's vast flat load bay.
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Driving – While not set up to please keen drivers, the Octavia is a willing and capable car on twisty roads. Predictably it's more at home in the city and on the motorway, delivering agile handling and a solid straight-line respectively. Both petrol and diesel variants deliver strong performances but the latter proves most effective when you need to haul or tow large items.
Ownership – There are many reasons why Skoda's cars have become increasingly popular in recent years. Aside from the obvious mechanical improvements, the Octavia and its close cousins simple do what you ask of them. Factor in the estate model's added versatility plus the company's highly-regarded dealer network and it's hard to ask for more.
What to look for – In estate form the Ocatvia's workhorse potential could see a well-worn load bay, scuffed interior cabin trim and soggy rear suspension. For something this new a full history is essential, as is a thorough visual check for signs of neglect – kerbed wheels, parking dents and the like. Inside and out everything should work – walk away if it doesn't.
Model history – 2005, Skoda launches new Octavia estate model, complete with good range of efficient petrol and diesel engines. Modest but increasing levels of standard kit available depending on variant, plus a large and flexible rear load bay.
Reasons to buy – Good value, spacious, practical load bay, diesel economy.
Reasons to beware – Used and abused workhorses, low power petrol variants, sombre cabin .
Pick of the range – Octavia estate 2.0 TDI PD Ambiente.
What to pay – 2005 05 �6,900; 2005 55 �7,225; 2006 06 �8,125; 2006 56 �8,600; 2007 07 �9,600; 2007 57 �10,200; 2008 08 �11,650; 2008 58 �12,175; 2009 09 �13,275; 2010 59 �14,425; 2010 10 �15,175. Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.