What is it?
This jolly green giant is the eco-champion in the Skoda Octavia range. Officially, the manufacturer calls this the ‘Greenline III’ but, unlike the third installment of the Godfather trilogy, this big hatchback is even more brilliant at what it does than the two versions that preceded it.
The headline performance figures aren’t measured in bhp and lb ft, but in mpg and g/km. According to Skoda’s own statistics, the 1.6-litre TDI CR engine under the bonnet of the Octavia Greenline – the same basic lump as in some other variants – returns 88.3mpg on the combined cycle and emits just 85g/km of CO2. By comparison, the Octavia Greenline II achieved 64.2mpg and 114g/km.
Those figures make the Octavia Greenline an attractive proposition for company car drivers. It sits in vehicle excise duty band A, meaning it is free from car tax, and attracts a benefit-in-kind rating of 13 per cent. That means a 40 per cent tax payer would be eligible to pay £1125 per year in company car benefit.
In this variant, the engine produces 5bhp more than the one in the standard 1.6-litre TDI Octavia and is connected to a six-speed manual gearbox with long ratios instead of the regular car’s five-speed ’box.
As is common with eco-biased models, the Skoda Octavia Greenline comes with a raft of features focused on reducing its fuel consumption to a mere sip.
It has low rolling resistance tyres fitted to 16in alloy wheels, stop-start, mildly sleeker aerodynamics and a brake energy recuperation system. This variant also has a Greenline logo on the gearstick. We’re not certain what the benefit is, but perhaps it reminds drivers to execute fuel-saving cog-shifts between the six ratios.
What's it like?
Describing the Skoda Octavia Greenline as ‘normal’ sounds like damning it with faint praise. That’s not meant to be the case; but it’s impressive how ultra-frugal motoring no longer has to mean compromise in any area. In fact, this car is one of the least dowdy eco-champions we’ve ever driven.
The interior mirrors the simple, clear controls and generous room of the other Octavia Mk3 variants, while the enormous boot offers 590-1580 litres of stowage.
The Octavia Greenline doesn’t possess explosive reserves of low-end grunt, instead it is at its best when it can settle into a long-geared, steady-speed lope.
The car is perhaps a touch noisier than other variants in the range. A fair amount of engine thrum and road noise seems to enter the cockpit, although not to a particularly unpleasant level.
Road imperfections also make themselves known from time-to-time. The handling is benign, although don’t expect much in the way of driver engagement; this is a car built for composed cruising.
The challenge for the driver of the Octavia Greenline is teasing up the average miles-per-gallon figure displayed on the infotainment screen. During a 45-mile run that encapsulated urban roads, country lanes and motorway, we achieved 69.8mpg, still a way from the (optimised) official claim but fairly impressive nonetheless.
Should I buy one?
If you’re searching for a hatchback that offers generous interior space, is well equipped and makes a decent fist of achieving its impressive economy claims, the Octavia Greenline should be near the top of your short list.
However, don’t equate this car’s green credentials with bargain basement cheapness – it is fractionally more expensive than the standard 1.6 TDI, although there’s potential for high-mileage motorists to recoup the extra outlay in lower fuel costs over time.
We found the 1.6 TDI installed in the regular Octavia a little anaemic when we assessed it, but the modestly more powerful version seems to make a lot more sense as part of this eco-focused package.
Above all, though, this Octavia Greenline shows how much encouraging potential is left in the internal combustion engine. Still want that hybrid?
Skoda Octavia Greenline III 1.6 TDI
Price £20,150 0-60mph 10.6sec Top speed 128mph Economy 88.3mpg CO2 85g/km Kerb weight 1205kg Engine 4 cyls, 1598cc, turbocharged, diesel Power 108bhp at 3250-4000rpm Torque 184lb ft at 1500-2750rpm Gearbox 6-spd manual