The Skoda Octavia Estate is the 2019 Auto Express Estate Car of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series Touring and Volvo V60 commended
The Octavia Estate elevates the practicality of Skoda’s big hatchback to incredible levels; it makes a brilliant load-lugger and is a worthy winner in this class.
A mid-life facelift brought updated styling and a more advanced infotainment set-up – and it’s the Estate’s practicality, combined with its up-to-date tech and calm driving experience, that helps it take the prize here again.
With 610 litres of space in the boot with the rear seats in place, and a cavernous 1,740 litres if you fold them down, the Octavia’s luggage capacity is bigger than its rivals’, and as a result it can offer even more flexibility than larger estates from the class above. It’s designed with versatility in mind, and the big hatch and wide boot opening mean that loading and unloading should be a simple task.
Its range of three and four-cylinder engines – including the excellent 1.5-litre TSI petrol unit – is another highlight. The petrols are smooth and quiet, but the punchy diesel options still work well for long-distance hauling because of their better economy and greater engine torque, which means they’re even better at shifting heavy loads.
You can choose from a slick manual gearbox or a DSG dual-clutch automatic – and whichever you go for, the Octavia is good to drive. Its steering is light and precise, which gives lots of confidence, and there’s plenty of grip.
It’s very composed, too. The suspension set-up is on the softer side, which means longer trips and motorway journeys are relaxed, so passengers should be happy. In addition, the Octavia’s infotainment system is right up there with the best in the class, with well-implemented smartphone connectivity and a clear, responsive screen.
The Skoda combines its many talents to great effect but it’s the Octavia Estate’s value for money that turns it from a good car into a great one. With prices starting from £19,515, it’s among the cheaper cars in its class, yet it has all the equipment you’d want as standard. Even entry-level S versions get air-con, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Our choiceSkoda Octavia Estate1.5 TSI 150 SE L (£24,175)
The 1.5-litre petrol engine is our pick of the Octavia Estate range. With 148bhp, it’s punchy and will have enough grunt to lug a full complement of people and luggage, yet it’s also quiet and smooth. Pick SE L trim and there’s plenty of kit on offer, including autonomous braking and satellite navigation.
CommendedBMW 5 Series Touring
The 5 Series Touring is a superb choice. With a 570-litre boot, it’s very practical and still has all the same premium appeal and hi-tech kit as the saloon. We’d choose the 520d for its excellent mix of performance, refinement and economy. The Touring’s split tailgate also makes loading more convenient.
The V60 is a far cry from the boxy Volvo estate cars of old – it’s stylish and upmarket, with a superb interior and a comfortable ride. It’s refined, too, has a great infotainment set-up, and with a 529-litre boot, it’s practical enough to cut it with our other award-winning estates here.
Previous: Executive Car of the Year 2019: BMW 5 Series Next: Small SUV of the Year 2019: Citroen C3 Aircross