What is it?
This is the Skoda Octavia Greenline, complete with the new 1.6-litre commonrail turbodiesel engine that is being rolled out across the Volkswagen Group.
The engine replaces the old 1.9-litre turbodiesel, offering exactly the same 103bhp and 184lb ft output with much improved emissions and economy of 114g/km and 64.2mpg combined.
What’s it like?
Just as practical and easy to drive as you would predict of a small-capacity, turbodiesel Skoda.
The real benefit of this engine is not just its efficiency but also its refinement. The old 1.9-litre unit was characterised by a very gruff, intrusive engine noise and this new motor improves that dramatically – even in the Greenline model, which loses some of its sound proofing to save weight.
It is also a more flexible motor. With peak torque available from 1500-2500rpm it’s easy to keep the engine in its comfort zone, though the gear-shift indicator can sometimes suggest a down-shift that will leave the engine floundering noisily too low down the rev range.
The Octavia Greenline gets a five-speed manual ‘box as standard (a seven-speed DSG is optional on non-Greenline 1.6 TDI models), which is set up with long ratios so that in fifth at motorway speeds the engine will be revving no higher than an equivalent six-speed cars would manage. Work the engine hard and inevitably you get more noise, but there’s enough performance to offer good overtaking ability.
Otherwise the Octavia Greenline estate is exactly as inoffensive as it sounds. The steering is linear and responsive, the engine is a huge improvement on the 1.9 TDI and the interior is spacious, comfortable and feels well put together.
Should I buy one?
Absolutely. It’s a pleasant, comfortable drive and there is barely any compromise on the usability in favour of its excellent green credentials. Given its low list price, excellent economy and unpretentious image, this is easily one of the most sensible and likeable purchases in its class.