The Skoda Octavia Greenline Estate is one of the most sensible purchases you can make if you want lots of space, high mpg, and good value, but there’s one interesting question: should you choose the Greenline over the standard model? Find out in our review and road test
Model/Engine size: 1.6 TDI CR 105bhp DPF
Fuel economy combined: 64.2 mpg
Green Car Guide rating: 8/10
Let’s face the facts: the Octavia is based on a Golf platform – although it feels similar in size to a Passat – so this is basically a Volkswagen with a Skoda badge. That means you get access to all the engineering, build quality and equipment of the Volkswagen Audi Group. In Greenline Estate form, you also get 64.2 mpg, 114 g/km CO2, and lots of room in the back.
So what qualifies it to be a ‘Greenline’? Compared to some ‘eco’-models, not a lot – and the small difference in fuel consumption compared to the standard model reflects this. You get low rolling resistance tyres and 13mm lower suspension.
You also get a slightly different version of the new 1.6-litre common rail turbodiesel engine that’s being rolled out across the Volkswagen Group. This replaces the old Volkswagen 1.9-litre turbodiesel pump-duse unit and the new engine is a huge improvement.
The new engine has the same 103 bhp and 184 lb ft output, but has much improved emissions and economy. However the key difference is that the new engine is much more refined than the old unit, which sounded noisy and rough.
The Octavia Greenline has a five-speed gearbox, but the ratios are sufficiently long to keep the revs down at higher speeds. As with many modern green cars, the Octavia comes with a gearshift indicator to suggest when to change gear for maximum economy. Although the engine can generally cope with the suggestions, sometimes it’s on the lower limit of its torque band.
In the quest of weight saving, the Greenline also loses its spare wheel, and you get a tyre repair kit instead.
As with many similar sized diesel-engined cars, such as the Passat, the Greenline Estate also has an added feel-good factor of never running out of fuel, as it has a theoretical range of almost 800 miles on a tank of diesel.
We find that Volkswagen Audi Group diesels are usually very good at managing to get close to the official mpg figures in real life driving, and the Octavia was no different, especially on long runs.
Inside there’s lots of space, including in the boot – the Octavia is one of the biggest compact estates, with 1620 litres with the rear seats folded down. However the rear load bay isn’t completely flat as it has a step, which is not ideal for an estate. The dashboard is higher quality than you might expect from a Skoda – again, reaping the benefits from the Volkswagen Group’s resources.
The Octavia is competent to drive; it’s not hugely exciting, but equally there are no great problems. The efficiency tweaks don’t create any drawbacks and the engine has good levels of torque to cope with most situations.
In fact the Octavia is actually a refined place to be, with its smooth diesel engine and a comfortable ride. However the steering doesn’t have a huge amount of feel. Handling is perhaps what you’d expect from a relatively large front-wheel drive estate; adequate under most driving conditions but not particularly satisfying if you need to push on. But it’s a perfect car for cruising up and down motorways with lots of stuff in the boot.
Equipment levels are good, with the Greenline, unusually for some ‘eco’-models, not coming with base levels of equipment, but instead matching the spec of the SE, with air-conditioning, electric front windows, alloys, a CD multichanger and rear electric windows. The Greenline also has some extra equipment over the SE, which we’ll look at shortly.
Our test car also had additional extra-cost options which totalled £1250. These included a tyre pressure monitoring system, rear parking sensors and front fog lights, plus metallic paint at £400.
The build quality of the Octavia is good and it’s likely to be reliable and keep going for years.
However there is one issue to be aware of – it’s very confusing when comparing specs and prices to know whether you should go for the Greenline or a non-Greenline model.
The Greenline costs £18,225. The nearest spec to this is the SE, which costs £17,535, and its emissions are only 5 g/km CO2 higher at 119 g/km, and fuel consumption is 62.8 mpg, only 1.4 mpg short of the Greenline – a difference that you’re never likely to notice in reality. So on the face of it, you’re paying £690 extra for the Greenline model. At just 1.4 mpg difference, you’d have to drive a lot of miles to reclaim the £690.
However, it’s not as simple as that. The Greenline also has some extra kit when compared to the SE: a 4-spoke leather steering wheel and ‘small leather pack’, cruise control, and a ‘maxi-dot’ trip computer. And the engine is actually a slightly different unit than that in the SE. So now the premium for the Greenline doesn’t seem too bad. This model should certainly appeal to both fleet and private buyers. But be aware that you can get a base S model, still with emissions of just 119 g/km CO2, for just £16,545 – £1680 less than the Greenline.
Another factor to consider is that the seven-speed DSG is not available on the Greenline, but it is optional on non-Greenline 1.6 TDI models; if you like automatics, you’ll like the DSG; if you don’t like automatics, the DSG should convert you.
The Skoda Octavia Greenline Estate gets a Green-Car-Guide rating of 8 out of 10. It does everything acceptably, and it excels in the area of economy, emissions, space and value.
There’s really not much to complain about with the Skoda Octavia Greenline Estate apart from the fact that it’s not the most exciting of cars, and there may still be some preconceptions about the badge. If these issues don’t matter, and you just want a sensible, practical, reliable, spacious and economical estate – for a bargain price – then the Skoda Octavia Greenline Estate is the obvious choice.
Fuel economy extra urban: 76.4 mpg
Fuel economy urban: 51.4 mpg
CO2 emissions: 114 g/km
Green rating: VED band C – first year £0
Weight: 1385 Kg
Company car tax liability (2010/11): 13%
Price: £18,225 (From £13,730 – £22,295)
Insurance group: 6E
Power: 109 bhp
Max speed: 118 mph
0-62 mph: 11.9 seconds
Extra facts: The Octavia Greenline II 1.6 TDI CR model scored 1st= in the Green Car Guide review of the best diesel-powered family cars , drawing with the Citroen DS5 HYbrid and the Volvo S40 1.6D DRIVe , all making 74.3 mpg in our road tests.