Sadly the most disappointing aspect of the otherwise quality Skoda Octavia Estate Greenline can be found with its less than desirable performance. Strictly looking at the cars statistics doesnít give the whole picture Ė obviously itís been optimised for greener running, so the usual tweaks and enhancements have been made to the car. Gearing ratios have been tweaked to improved fuel efficiency, the engine management system has duly been similarly optimised. A top speed of 118mph and a 0-62mph time of 11.9 seconds canít hide the fact that at low revs the car is a pain. A real lack of torque in the lower range really hampers the enjoyment of driving this car Ė frustratingly so. Yes itís no doubt been made that way for a reason, but it doesnít make for a happy driver in a stop start urban environment. Things significantly pick up once youíre pushing 2000 revs as the torque finally kicks in. Its green credentials are pretty impressive however, as it emits only 114g/km while its official mpg figure of 64.2 is also impressive for what is a pretty big vehicle. After driving the car itís just a frustration to have a car hampered by going that little step too far in the pursuit of frugality.
Confident and assured on the road the Skoda is a pleasure to drive once you break through the 2000 revs barrier. With a deceptively low driving position you feel that little bit more connected with the road and feels a little like the Saab cockpit to be honest. The low friction tyres feel no different to standard either, so thereís not a hint of slipping on greasy surfaces. The suspension is firm but fair with the car taking the rough with the smooth with equal aplomb.
If itís a well built, intelligently designed car then the Octavia is right up your street. The car oozes quality both inside and out Ė with obvious elements taken from areas of the VW empire. Externally the car looks like it could withstand a direct hit from a bazooka, while internally the cabin benefits from quality materials Ė and while there is a little too much grey on show for some, thereís no denying its all well put together. In fact, initially I was underwhelmed with the interior; keen for anything out of the ordinary to surprise me however as the road test went on it the overriding sense of quality took over. The 1.6 litre oilburner is also a staple of the VW family, so itís tried and trusted in hundreds of thousands of vehicles on the roads of Europe and beyond so it shouldnít cause any major headaches. A service interval of 10000 miles is a little stingy however.
Youíll find the Octavia Estate to be full of the usual safety and security features Ė central locking, alarm, and immobiliser all come as standard. While the car features driver, passenger, and front side airbags should the car be involved in a smash.
Well itís an estate version of the Octavia so if youíre considering this model then obviously space is a pretty high requirement on your list of must-haves. Boot space of 605 litres is excellent, and its also a good rectangular shape, while with the rear seats down the available space increases to 1655 litres, which should be enough for whatever youíre looking to transport Ė if not get a van!! Seriously though, the Octavia offers an additional 125 litres over the smaller stable mate the Fabia Estate with rear seats up, which increases to an extra 195 litres with the seats down.
The Octavia Estate Greenline is available on the road for a shade under £17,500 and here lies the carís biggest problem, its £600 dearer than the Octavia Estate SE 1.6 TDI CR and over £1,600 more expensive than the Estate S 1.6 TDI Ė ah but this is the green model youíre probably thinking, and yes youíre right it is greener than those two mentioned but by fine margins. Opting for this green model youíll be saving 5g/km of CO2, which isnít enough to move it down a class for VED and fuel economy is boosted by 1.4 mpg on the combined cycle. For our mind there simply isnít enough of an environmental improvement over the ďstandardĒ Octavia Estates for this model to be viable, unless you really, really, really want to have that Greenline badge on the boot. The car is well made, economical, durable and spacious but give me the cheaper SE version everyday of the week please. There are some real strides being made by the VW group when it comes to engine efficiency so perhaps the next generation Octavia Greenline will benefit from being a substantial improvement over its closest family members.