Skoda shows why there is life in the estate yet
So the saloon car and estate are dead, killed off by the omnipresent SUV? It seems that no-one it seems wants the old traditional styles of car because they are widely seen as old hat.
Well, that’s not quite the case. There is no doubt that SUVs have become fashionable and some car companies have put their total focus on such models.
But – now here’s a thing – some people don’t like them. They find SUVs too big and bulky.
And while ride and handling have improved enormously, some folks simply prefer saloons and estates.
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Skoda – always a brand well in tune with its customers – recognises this. So while it has launched a series of successful SUVs (Kamiq, Karoq and Kodiaq) it has not totally abandoned the traditional styles.
It produces Octavia and Superb, which have survived the SUV onslaught and are among the best-value cars in their categories.
Superb is the premium product, a commandingly well-equipped motor. Octavia is slightly smaller, slightly less distinguished but still a terrific package.
And tested here is the Octavia estate, a rather appealing all-rounder. Big enough to be useful for campers and other leisure users, yet a decent executive model which is smart, well-equipped and good to drive.
At £34,000, this is a well-priced model, particularly when you consider the equipment levels.
The modern Octavia has been around since 1996 but actually the model is much older than that. In fact it celebrated its 60th anniversary recently.
This is the SE L version. It comes laden with upmarket kit such as adaptive cruise control, dual-zone air conditioning, trip computer and satellite navigation. There is cruise control, different drive modes and e-call, which raises the alarm with the emergency services in the event of a crash.
There are parking sensors, heated seats and lashings of chrome. And because it is so quiet in electric-only mode, it has an artificial engine sound for safety reasons.
Who’d have thought? After years of trying to create the silent car, developers are now creating artificially noisy ones.
And – here’s a nice touch – it has an umbrella stored in the frame of the doors. Whoever came up with that idea deserves a medal. It is part of what Skoda calls its Simply Clever range of features. Another is a takeaway hook in the passenger footwell to keep your curry upright on the way home.
The car features up to five USB-C ports for charging or connecting media devices and USB sticks.
And in the rear, two smartphone storage pockets on the front-seat backs are seen for the first time on a Skoda. There is a multifunctional storage pocket below the boot cover in both the hatch and the Octavia estate; the latter will feature an automatically retractable load cover.
Space is premium in this model and the new Octavia Estate holds 640 litres, 30 litres more than the previous model and the biggest in its class.
The car has a sleeker front, thanks to razor-sharp headlight design which gives this car a more distinguished look.
The redesigned dashboard has been arranged in different levels featuring a large, free-standing central display. The centre console is elegant, uncluttered and adorned with chrome details – as are the new door trims and handles. New and soft-touch materials lend the interior a premium look.
The new LED ambient lighting indirectly illuminates the front doors, dashboard and footwells. The driver can choose up to 30 colours and can assign a different colour to the dashboard and front doors than to the footwell. In addition, they can select from co-ordinated lighting scenarios. I bet you never thought you’d see that in a Skoda.
Bigger, safer, and packed with more technology than ever, the fourth-generation Octavia delivers even better value and raises the bar for practicality and space. A best-seller throughout its various production runs, the fourth-generation model will continue the UK’s ongoing love affair with the Octavia.
The all-new model is longer and wider than its predecessor, has an even larger boot and showcases the latest evolution of ŠKODA design language. The new interior combines class-leading practicality with outstanding functionality and high quality materials. Innovative connectivity features and new assistance systems further highlight the brand’s commitment to delivering the best possible value for money to owners.
Meanwhile, the journalists of the Women's World Car of the Year have chosen the Land Rover Defender as the World's Best Family Car for 2021.
Skoda Octavia iV SE L Estate
Price: £34.230. Plus extra-cost options comprising 19in Becrux anthracite alloy wheel £910; metallic pearlescent paint £595; winter pack £950; and wireless charging £335, which make the test model at £37,020
Engine: A 1.4 litre petrol engine plus an electric motor
Transmission: Six-speed with DSG (direct shift gearbox) with sequential option
Performance: Top speed 136mph and 0 to 60mph in 7.9 seconds
Emissions: 24g/km to 33g/km
Warranty: Three years, 60,000 miles