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Spacious estate proving popular.

Byline: EDWARD STEPHENS

WITH more than five million sales under its belt worldwide it's hardly surprising to learn that the current Skoda Octavia is also the brand's best selling model in Britain.

And while the hatch is the biggest seller the new Octavia Estate is also proving a big draw for families and businessmen and women who need even more space.

For while the hatch is one of the most spacious cars in its class with 590 litres of space beneath the tailgate with the rear seatbacks in position and a huge 1,580 litres with them lowered, it's outgunned by the estate with 610 litres and 1,740 litres respectively.

When it comes to both legroom and luggage space the Octavia in all its guises takes some beating - unless you go even more upmarket with the Skoda Superb.

And the nice thing about this estate in particular is the boot area is all usable space. There are no nasty lumps and bumps sticking out to interfere with loading.

The current model was launched five years ago but last year underwent a mid-life makeover, just to freshen it up.

Nothing too severe you understand, as sales are still soaring.

The most obvious change was to the headlights. The large single lens units were replaced by twin lens units for a sharper, crisper look.

At the same time the designers took the opportunity to widen the front apron, slightly alter the radiator grille and re-design the rear bumper.

There were also changes to the interior trim and fascia, which features a large centreset eight-inch touchscreen to access most of the car's onboard features like satellite navigation and audio, and there's voice control so you don't need to take your eyes off the road ahead.

But while the dials are crystal sharp at night because of more illumination I found that during the daytime the silver figures on the speedometer could - in certain lights - be difficult to read because of the lack of contrast with their background.

That apart it's difficult to find anything to criticise with the Octavia Estate's interior. Upmarket Alcantara and leather upholstery get everyone's nod of approval for both comfort and warmth.

The 2.0-litre 150bhp diesel engine is lively and responsive, although it's not the quietest diesel around.

The gearshift is silky smooth and the steering pin sharp and, like a lot of upmarket cars you can select your own driving mode settings from Eco, Comfort and Sport or even customise them specifically to you.

And this being a Skoda there are the brand's "simply clever" features on board, including an underseat umbrella, ice scraper beneath the fuel filler cap and a builtin re-chargeable torch in the luggage area.

And one of my personal favourites - but probably the simplest of all - a plastic clip on the side of the windscreen to hold parking tickets.

It's surprising how many people have been fined for not displaying a parking ticket because it blew off the dashboard as they closed their door.

But I bet none of them were Skoda drivers.

FAST FACTS | |Model: Skoda Octavia SE L Estate | Price: PS25,200 | | Mechanical: 150bhp, 1,968cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via six speed manual gearbox. | Max speed: 134 mph | | 0-62mph: 8.6 secs | | Combined mpg: 65.7 | | Insurance: 18E | | CO2 emissions: 113 g/km | ||BiK: 27% | | Warranty: 3 years / 60,000 miles
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Nov 23, 2018
Words:564
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