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Long-term review

Skoda Octavia Estate SE L 1.5 TSI – long-term review

Published: 15 Apr 2021


  • SPEC

    SE L 1.5 TSI



  • BHP


  • MPG


  • 0-62


High-spec Skoda Octavia, or just buy a vRS?

I've always been a fan of the Skoda brand, and although my Audi and Land Rover driving neighbours might look down their noses at my transport a little, I kind of like the fact that Skoda is a bit of an anti-brand.

To my mind, Skoda punches massively above its weight with regards to quality, value for money and style – just as long as you aren’t bothered about keeping up with the Joneses when it comes to raw badge appeal. The trouble is, I’m an Essex boy at heart and you know what they say about taking the boy out of Essex?

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Our Octavia SE L First Edition was the top of the range model until recently. The base car is decent value at £26,230 but our test version came with an absolute tonne of extras including LED headlights (£1,575), head-up display (£690) and a 'virtual pedal' to open the boot with a mere foot wiggle (£825).

All very nice, but in reality (like so many gadgets and luxuries) it’s also all stuff that I could easily live without. With said extras, the car I’m driving here comes in at £30,655. And here’s the thing, for just over a grand more at £31,835, I could have had the vRS version of the Octavia. Hmmm.

That car comes with 19-inch wheels, red brake calipers, black sports upholstery with red stitching, those LED headlights and Meteor Grey paint job all as standard. On top of all that, while our test car has a perfectly capable 148bhp 1.5 TSI engine, the basic vRS comes with a 2.0 TSI that puts out 242bhp.

Put the two cars side by side and for the sake of £1,180, it is pretty clear which is the better deal and should comfortably offer the best residual values. The critical question at the end of these long term tests is ‘would you buy one with your own money?’. Yes, I’d certainly consider an Octavia Estate. It’s a genuinely good car.

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But the fact is that in anything less than vRS spec it leaves me a little cold. You can’t take Essex out of the boy I’m afraid...

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