This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Skoda Octavia Estate review.

Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

With a similar engine line up as the hatchback, the Skoda Octavia estate's performance varies from frugal diesel engines to more performance biased petrol engines. The entry level engine is the 1.4-litre petrol with 79bhp. This is followed by the 1.2 TSI with 105bhp, which was introduced in 2010. Also available is the 1.6 FSI which has 115bhp and provides smooth acceleration along with decent economy of 42mpg.

Be aware that there was also a normal 1.6-litre petrol available for a short period in 2005 (only in Classic trim). It's slower and not as economical as the FSI version, although it was available with an automatic gearbox. Our pick of the engine range is the 1.8 TSI with 160bhp, which is a fantastic powerplant. Don't mistake it for the turbocharged and supercharged engines in the Volkswagen range (that are confusingly also badged TSI) as this only uses a single turbo, but it performs superbly with a 0-62mph time of 7.8 seconds while economy is a respectable 40mpg.

The free-revving engine is smooth and delivers its power predictably, offering plenty of mid-range punch for overtaking. There's also a 150bhp 2.0 FSI engine which is refined and smooth, but seems superfluous given how good the 1.8 TSI is. The diesel line-up includes the faithful 105bhp 1.9-litre TDI which is used across Volkswagen, Skoda and SEAT cars plus a newer 2.0 TDI with 140bhp.

Neither is very refined or quiet but they do offer strong, punchy performance and superb economy - the 1.9 TDI returns 58mpg. The Greenline model uses a newer common rail 1.6-litre TDI engine which is smoother and quieter. Thanks to engine and aerodynamic changes it emits an impressively low CO2 figure of 114g/km - making it cheap to tax - and returns 64mpg.

This engine is also now available with a seven-speed DSG semi-automatic gearbox, with CO2 emissions of 123g/km - identical to that of the hatchback. The Greenline was revised in 2011, with a cleaner and more economical engine. The newer Greenline II is consequently capable of averaging 67mpg, while emissions have fallen to 109g/km of CO2.

The Octavia is an easy car to drive, with light steering, smooth gearchanges and sharp brakes. In town it is more agile than you'd expect of a car of this size - all-round visibility is good, though the thick windscreen pillars can restrict the view of the road when pulling out of junctions. On the motorway, it cruises well and is fitted with one-touch indicators (one tap of the indicator stalk gives a burst of three repeater flashes, for hassle-free lane-changes).

There's also a 4x4 version in the line-up. This is unlikely to be a big seller, but is useful for buyers that need occasional off-road ability, but don't want the bulky body of a 4x4. Bodyroll is kept well under control. Greenline models get slightly lower and stiffer suspension, which minimises body roll slightly and also results in marginally sharper handling.