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Smaller engines packing a punch
8:00am Thursday 10th May 2012 in Road Tests
THANKS to advances in engine management technology, figures like cubic capacity for larger cars are becoming irrelevant and we are now seeing performance capabilities from motors like Skoda’s 1.6-litre turbo-diesel that were once associated with far bigger engines.
Not only do these new motors offer ample performance for everyday use but also muchimproved economy and emissions.
And in eco form they are even more clean and frugal which is very desirable during these belt-tightening times.
If you are looking for an estate, Skoda’s Octavia in Greenline form is well worth considering as it is a competent and a sensible buy with no road tax to pay for the first year.
The Octavia was the car that really helped transform Skoda into the much-respected marque we know today and the model has come in for considerable improvement since it was first launched.
The Greenline is a special highefficiency version of the Octavia, similar to and employing some of the technologies associated with the VW Golf Bluemotion cars.
Compared to other vehicles belonging to the giant VW group, on-the-road prices of the wide range of Octavia estates look very competitive, going from £15,070 for the 1.2-litre TSi to £23,760 for the 2.0-litre TDi 140 Laurin and Klement edition. The latest 1.6- litre TDi Greenline 11 is priced at £19,205.
The Greenline has a lot going for it. It has a modified motor, revised gear ratios, an energy recovery system which charges the battery under braking, aerodynamic improvements and low rolling resistance tyres.
Among other items is a very good stop/start system which helps to improve fuel economy and emissions so that the motor returns an everyday figure of 68.9mpg with low CO2 emissions of 107g/km. And underway the engine is smooth, quiet and more refined than the previous unit.
The motor, mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, pushes out a healthy 104bhp, has a top speed of 121mph and completes the 0- 60mph sprint in 11.8 seconds – commendable for a sizeable load lugger.
On the road, the Greenline estate is a pleasant and comfortable drive and there are barely any compromises in performance because of its green credentials.
It grips the road well and with a load on the suspension manages to soak up all manner of road imperfections. It is as complete as its hatchback counterpart.
The big bonus with this estate is that it has plenty of both cabin and boot space.
And rear passengers are well catered for, too, with well-upholstered seats and more shoulder and leg room than many rivals.
In fact, its boot is larger than those of several bigger cars and that’s even before you start to fold the split rear seats which come with an armrest and storage box.
Although there is a wide opening tailgate, the boot lip is a little high but the large cargo area is well shaped to carry big items.
You soon begin to appreciate the practicality and convenience of the Octavia when you slip behind the wheel and find lots of seat adjustment and height and reach steering wheel adjustment so that you can arrive at a great driving position. All the dash controls are well laid out and nicely to hand.
The fixtures and fittings feel solid while the interior as a whole is finished to a high standard, as you might expect of cars in the VW group, to give an upmarket feel.
The Greenline is also well equipped. There is an extensive electronic stability programme, cruise control, alloy wheels, airconditioning, driver and passenger front and side airbags with a passenger airbag de-activation switch.
Adding to the list for the estate only is an alarm system with interior monitoring and backup horn and handy black roof rails. There is also a range of options available.