Choosing a winner in this class wasn’t straightforward, as the Skoda Octavia Estate ran the Nissan Qashqai a very close race.
Like the Nissan, the Skoda is very stable at motorway speeds, with the driver’s subjective impressions backed up by data from the Al-Ko ATC system. Only in windy conditions did the driver need to make any steering corrections, and in the lane-change test the Octavia performed well, only sliding at the rear on high-speed runs.
A firm pull on the handbrake was needed to keep car and caravan still on a 1-in-6 slope, but otherwise the Octavia had no trouble pulling to the top of the hill. Our tests took place in dry weather, but the Octavia’s 4×4 system would have come into its own in the wet.
Go for the 4×4 and you’ll pay £1450 more than for the front-wheel-drive estate. Fuel economy worsens to 57.6mpg according to the official combined figure, but these compromises could be worth making if you often stay at out-of-the-way campsites or tour in all weathers.
Boot space is the same for the front- and four-wheel-drive models: 610 litres with the rear seats upright. That’s easily enough for the typical load of holiday luggage the practicality testers tried to fit into every car.