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How much? £23,365
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 148bhp @ 3500-4000rpm, 236lb ft @ 1750-3000rpm
Transmission: Six-speed dual-clutch, front-wheel drive
Performance: 8.7sec 0-62mph, 132mph, 62.8mpg, 119g/km CO2
How heavy / made of? 1292kg/steel and aluminium
How big (length/width/height in mm)? 4659/1814/1465
Need to know

CAR's rating

Rated 4 out of 54

Handling

Rated 3 out of 53

Performance

Rated 3 out of 53

Usability

Rated 4 out of 54

Feelgood factor

Rated 4 out of 54

Readers' rating

Rated 3 out of 53

Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI Elegance Estate (2014) CAR review

By Ollie Kew

First Drives

27 January 2014 07:30

In the blue corner is the UK’s favourite new Skoda Octavia: the 1.6-litre TDI hatchback with a manual gearbox. In the red corner, meet the Octavia your fleet manager (and the missus) would rather you didn’t have.

Why wouldn’t they want us to have this Skoda Octavia?

For a start, it’s faster. It trumps the limp-wristed 1.6-litre’s 103bhp by some margin, with the 2.0-litre oiler developing 148bhp and 236lb ft. This makes it the most powerful Octavia this side of the range-topping vRS, and good for 0-62mph in a brisk-feeling 8.7sec, and 132mph flat out.

Making the most of the engine’s oodles of low-rev torque is the next best thing about this car: the six-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Yes, it’s a pricey treat: it bumps the price up by £1250, to £24,365, but the DSG is much happier here than in the automatic Yeti crossover – you get obedient, superfast shifts in manual mode, actuated by cheap plastic paddles incongruously affixed to the steering wheel. You can save £200 by not optioning the paddleshift-equipped helm, by the way.

>> Click here for CAR’s first drive review of the UK’s most popular Octavia, the 1.6 TDI hatchback

Is this the drivetrain to save up for?

There are only two flies in this ointment. Left to its own devices, the DSG is largely a triumph – as we’ve become accustomed to in the VW Group mainstream. Watch out for a couple of flaws, though. First off, the ‘Driving Mode Selection’ party trick spoils even more of the Octavia than it does in the manual car.

In addition to gloopy steering feedback, Sport mode alters the shift calibration to hold onto gears for much too long. So long, in fact, you’ll rev right out of the peak torque band and expose the TDI’s rough top end. Meanwhile, Eco mode’s desperate attempts to dissuade fuel consumption almost ban kick-down altogether. It’s difficult to think of a car less in need of a driving mode/mood toggle than a diesel-powered Skoda estate. ‘Normal’ mode really should be retitled ‘Best of all worlds, now leave it alone’ mode.

The other caveat is more the driver’s problem. Initially, you’ll stab the throttle to wake the turbo, which easily panics the transmission when you’re mooching along at town speeds, pinning the revs sky-high. Ease the right pedal gently and progress is far more dignified. It’s a little refreshing to drive such an outwardly mundane machine but find it rewards delicate driving inputs and punishes heavy-handed (or heavy-footed) ones.

Does Octavia Estate beat Octavia hatchback?

This is no shooting brake wannabe – it’s boxy in a way modern Volvos have moved well away from, and offers up to 1740 litres of bootspace. So it should do, frankly – the Octavia estate measures 90mm longer than its predecessor, not to mention 45mm wider, and has stretched its wheelbase by 108mm. If only the styling was more confident, this could be quite imposing machine. Instead, it has the presence of a soap opera extra.

Small wonder the Octavia Estate’s rear legroom rivals that of a BMW 5-series or Mercedes E-class. Meanwhile, the boot trumps even the Audi A6 Avant and VW Passat Estate for capacity. Whether you go for the wagon or not will depend simply on the size of the family pet, and your reaction to its £805 price bump over the hatch.

>> Click here for CAR’s verdict on the Golf GTI-rivalling Skoda Octavia vRS

Anything else?

There’s a smidge more road noise at speed in the Octavia Estate than there is in the hatchback – blame the lack of a rear bulkhead which would suppress tyre roar. It’s no less handy to drive than its booted sister though, with flat cornering characteristics and a surplus of grip.

Verdict

These VW Group MQB-platform cars are fast becoming the Sebastian Vettel of the mainstream hatchback world. Not exciting, but pretty damn effective.

The Octavia, like the Audi A3, Seat Leon and VW Golf, is competent, efficient, and goes about its business in an unspectacular, tidy fashion. Skoda’s Octavia Estate is another fine family car from the Czech maker, and if you can stretch to the charms of the 2.0-litre diesel, its slick DSG, and the extra usability of this wagon model, you won’t be disappointed.

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Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI Elegance Estate (2014) CAR review

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kkirkou

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kkirkou says

RE: Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI Elegance Estate (2014) CAR review

I would never ever buy a car with a DSG or an automated manual. At a stretch, maybe I'd buy a car with an old school auto for driving around town. For the rest of the situations, only a manual would do. Relying more and more on electronics at cars is no good thing, IMO.

28 January 2014 10:13

 

comment8

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comment8 says

RE: Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI Elegance Estate (2014) CAR review

A 2.6 million vehicle mainly DSG related recall which started in China last year has subsequently rolled on into S.E. Asia, Australia and NZ. The "false neutral" problem was blamed variously on the weather (pick a climate from that lot), Chinese assembly (the re-call also listed German gearbox vehicles) and driver error (see above).  A second recall concerning synthetic oil use has followed.

The Australian press (which knows a thing or two about auto-boxes) do not rate the DSG highly at all. The low-speed shunting combined with very laggy turbo delivery means the DSG is least effective when an auto should come into its own i.e. stop-start traffic and take off from inclines. The continued promotion of the problematic DSG by the UK lap dog press is to its eternal shame. The post 2007 boxes just have a different set of causes for a similar set of problems. Enough to garner broadsheet front pages, at least in Australia. VW suffered a bout of extremely bad press as a result of a very poor handling of the re-call issue and sales have suffered.

There still remains little evidence that MQB is delivering as nearly as much to consumers as it is to Volkswagen’s investors. The DSG woes still evident above are a case in point.

28 January 2014 00:11

 

lokinen

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lokinen says

RE: Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI Elegance Estate (2014) CAR review

 I think Skoda have lost their way with the styling of this latest Octavia.Really there was nothing wrong with the look of the old one, it had a strong presence, especially in Vrs spec.I find this new one a bit wishy washy. Regards gearbox reliability, the 1st gen DSG had a terrible reputation but the later versions from about 2007 don't have the same issues.

27 January 2014 19:16

 

livc44411

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livc44411 says

RE: Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI Elegance Estate (2014) CAR review

Anybody who is interested in the car world will know the DSG gearbox is very unreliable. The Octavia estate seems like a nice car, why ruin the ownership experience?

27 January 2014 17:08

 

chrisward1978

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chrisward1978 says

RE: Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI Elegance Estate (2014) CAR review

I have to question whether this is "boxy" as the review asserts. That tailgate has a good 45º rake to it.

27 January 2014 16:23

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