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Skoda Octavia Estate (2013-2020) Review logo

Skoda Octavia Estate (2013-2020) Review

heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

Skoda Octavia
Skoda Octavia

1/7

1 / 7

00/10
heycar rating
"World’s most sensible compact estate"
  • Launched: 2013
  • Estate
  • Petrol, Diesel

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Quick overview

Pros

  • Albert Hall-levels of space
  • Great value new and used
  • Low-effort driving experience

Cons

  • Badge snobs won’t like it
  • Plain appearance inside and out
  • vRS is pricey

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Skoda Octavia Estate front

Overall verdict

Skoda Octavia Estate interior

On the inside

Skoda Octavia Estate driving

Driving

Skoda Octavia Estate driving

Cost to run

Skoda Octavia Estate boot

Prices and Specs

Common questions

Common questions

Overall verdict

"The biggest problem with the Skoda Octavia is you. Get past your desire to have a car with a flashy badge, a swanky interior or drop-dead good looks and you can have something that will carry almost anything you can ask of it, rarely trouble your bank balance and transport you in comfort."

Skoda Octavia Estate front

We’ll skip the traditional nonsense about Skoda jokes. If you were around in the 1980s when that kind of thing was a stand-up’s staple, you’re now old enough to know better. If badge snobbery is keeping you from giving serious consideration to a Czech motor car then more fool you. For more than 20 years the brand has been producing reliable, well-equipped cars that are excellent value, and if that doesn’t appeal then you must have money to burn.


A big part of that success has been the Octavia, Skoda’s compact offering in both hatchback and estate forms. It shares a platform with the Volkswagen Golf and the other Volkswagen Group cars in this segment - the SEAT Leon and Audi A3 - but typically with a larger body than those cars and subsequently increased interior space. By offering more room than key competitors at the same or even lower prices, Skoda has won itself a strong following from the value-conscious.


The 2013-generation car is now a relatively old design, and that shows up in its quite conservative looks which are in contrast to the edgier look that more recent models are demonstrating. It’s hardly offensive to look at but neither is it likely to stir the soul. This is a car designed to be a reliable workhorse rather than something to stop traffic, but there’s nothing wrong with that.


It’s a similar story inside, where the priority is function and quality rather than pizazz. In truth that’s not necessarily a bad thing - an interior that’s easy to use and built to stay together will have an appeal that will outlast one that’s just flashy for the sake of it. You’ll be too busy making the most of the space on offer in any case, with lots of room for passengers and a boot that is big enough to worry bigger cars from the class above.


The Octavia is available with four engine options, excluding the high-performance Octavia vRS models, all of which major on efficiency and low emissions. All four options are modern turbocharged units, including a tiny 1.0-litre petrol that might not be able to carry huge loads but is quiet, frugal and offers enough performance to keep pace with traffic. At the other end of the scale, the 2.0-litre TDI is the perfect all-rounder, with lots of torque for towing and strong acceleration as well as impressively low fuel consumption.


The Octavia’s driving experience ties in with the rest of its approach, solid if unspectacular. The steering is well-weighted if not brimming with feel, the ride quality is the right side of comfort-biased and the handling is predictable. The performance-oriented vRS models prove that there is greater capability for fun in the bare bones of the Octavia, but the regular models are sensibly designed to be at their best in normal driving.


The Octavia might not have an image that will have you dreaming about owning one, but it is not a car you have to make excuses for. It’s one of the most sensible cars you can buy - it’s excellent value, spacious, well-equipped with low running costs and will likely be a faithful servant for many thousands of miles.


If you're looking for the newer version, you need our Skoda Octavia (2020-) review.

Is the Octavia Estate right for you?

As a pure load-carrying machine the Octavia is an excellent choice. It packs a remarkable amount of space into a relatively small footprint, making it one of the most capacious estates at any price. That also means it’s an excellent family car, because it can swallow people and luggage (and child seats) with ease, but it doesn’t feel like a massive bus that’s hard to drive and awkward to park either. It can even do the work/business hack job, too - it’s comfortable and offers strong economy, so you can knock out those long motorway journeys with ease.


Where the Octavia falls down a little is mainly around less worthy attributes such as luxury and image. If you’re looking for a ‘lifestyle’ estate, things like the Volkswagen Golf Estate, SEAT Leon ST or even something more leftfield like the MINI Countryman offer a bit more in terms of style and personality.

What’s the best Octavia Estate model/engine to choose?

The Octavia has a modest engine range with two petrol and two diesel options, but even so it manages to cover all the bases you could need. If you don’t plan to carry heavy loads all that often and aren’t planning to smash speed limits, the 1.0-litre turbocharged engine is quick enough and frugal with it, while those who do plan to load up their Octavia on a regular basis should probably go for the 2.0-litre diesel with 150PS. Even so, there are no bad engine choices.


As for trim levels, we’d suggest going for the SE model as a bare minimum. The specification of the Octavia changed quite a bit during its lifetime, so the later cars are better whichever trim level you go for and post-2017 models have alloy wheels, SmartLink+ touchscreen infotainment and air conditioning as standard.

What other cars are similar to the Skoda Octavia Estate?

Being a part of the Volkswagen Group means there are a few cars that are very similar to the Octavia - in particular, the Volkswagen Golf Estate and SEAT Leon ST. As is typically the way with these spin-off versions, the Volkswagen has more of a premium feel while the SEAT is a little more design-led approach. However, what is important to note that although all three of these cars share their underpinnings, the Octavia is bigger both in terms of external and internal dimensions, so you’re getting more space for your money with the Octavia.


There’s also a stack of other estates spun off compact hatchbacks like the Ford Focus Estate, Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer, Toyota Auris Sport Tourer - but none of them are quite as spacious as the Octavia.

Learn more

Skoda Octavia Estate interior

On the inside

Skoda Octavia Estate driving

Driving

Skoda Octavia Estate driving

Cost to run

Skoda Octavia Estate boot

Prices and Specs

Common questions

Common questions

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