Which Towcar: Skoda Octavia Estate
Being based on the VW Golf's platform, the Octavia offers a similar driving experience. That means it's safe rather than fun, but it's none the worse for it. It has a softer ride though, while the steering also has more feel.
HOW'S IT TOW?
With 236lb ft of torque on offer from just 1750rpm, the Octavia makes a great towcar. You never need to rev the engine and, if you opt for four-wheel drive (which is only available with the inferior 1.9TDi powerplant), it's even better thanks to superior traction.
WHAT CAN IT TOW?
With a kerbweight of 1540kg, the safe limit is 1310kg. That means you can pull:
Any Avondale Dart
Any Bailey Ranger
Compass Corona 482
Fleetwood Meridien 480-2EB
Sterling Eccles Diamond
HOW MUCH ROOM DOES IT OFFER FOR CLUTTER?
The luggage bay is huge, with 580 litres available if the back seats are up. Fold these and space leaps to 1620 litres. There's plenty of oddments space too, with cubby holes, cup holders and even bottle storage designed in.
WHAT WILL A TOWBAR COST?
Skoda will charge you £370 for the towball and electrics, plus £280 for fitting (which equals £650); add £257 if you want twin electrics. Go to your local Witter fitter though, and the cost is just £300 for single electrics and £335 for twin.
WHAT'S FUEL ECONOMY LIKE?
The official combined figure is nearly 50mpg; expect to get that if the car isn't fully laden, but it'll drop to closer to 35mpg once a 1300kg van is hitched to the back.
AND THE BUILD QUALITY?
The plastics aren't as nice as you'll find elsewhere in the VW empire, but they're perfectly adequate, while both fit and finish are excellent. Forget Skodas of old; the company has truly turned the corner.
WHAT ABOUT RESIDUALS?
Skoda cars hold their value like never before, which is why you can expect to retain around 48 per cent of the Octavia's purchase price after three years. That's around 20 per cent more than an equivalent Mondeo!
WHAT SORT OF VALUE FOR MONEY DOES IT OFFER?
In short, it's excellent. You get space, equipment and build quality at a highly competitive price.