What is it?
This is the facelifted Skoda Octavia 4x4 1.8 TSI estate, fitted with the latest Haldex four-wheel drive system - the same one you'll find in cars such as the Audi TT.
Four-wheel drive accounts for just four per cent of Skoda UK’s sales, but in countries like Austria, Switzerland and Italy it is much more significant.
The Skoda Octavia’s facelift is mild – new lights front and rear, a new grille, some nice new colours and an interior upgrade that adds the Superb’s wheel, climate control and touch-screen infotainment system. The Skoda Octavia 4x4 also gets raised ground clearance, toughened suspension and underbody protection.
What’s it like?
Despite the slightly higher level of glitz gained by adding bits of Superb and making the lights a bit smarter, the Skoda Octavia still looks and feels like one of the most eminently practical and useful cars you can buy.
The new Haldex system effortlessly smoothes out the swap of torque from front to rear – you can feel the change as the rear begins to grip, but it’s seamless and it doesn’t suddenly snap the traction back on. On the icy roads of northern Sweden the car never felt out of shape or wobbly – you barrel along with real security.