17 August 2004

The new Octavia hatch has barely been on sale a month and Skoda is already planning to put the boot in with an Octavia Estate that’s more practical, more accommodating, and better value than its predecessor.

This Czech load-lugger will be presented at the Paris Motor Show next month, before arriving on sale in this country early next year. When it does, it will offer near-identical dimensions to its hatchback cousin, with the same cabin space, but enough boot capacity to shame a VW Passat wagon – and probably for up to £4,000 less.

At 4572mm in length and 1769mm wide, the Octavia Estate will occupy no more space on the road than the five-door; it has grown by 5mm at its tallest point however, to 1467mm. Despite that outward similarity, the wagon’s raised and extended roofline boosts space behind the rear seats to 580 litres, up to a maximum of 1620 litres with them folded – more than 100-litres up on the current car, and sufficient to best most of its rivals - the current booted Golf, Focus, Xsara and Stilo, as well as the forthcoming Astra wagon, and only loosing out to the cavernous Peugeot 307 SW. The most practical Octavia is also likely to have most of its competition licked on price. Although the new workhorse misses out on the hatchback’s 75bhp 1.4-litre petrol motor, its starting price could start below £12k in 102bhp 1.6-litre Classic form. At current prices, only Daewoo’s new Nubira Estate will be cheaper.

A direct injection 115bhp 1.6 will also be offered alongside a 2.0-litre petrol, as well as 1.9- and 2.0-litre pumpe duse turbodiesels with up to 140bhp, the latter crowning the range at around £17,000 in Elegance trim

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