The new Skoda Octavia Estate 4×4 will be available in the UK from March 2005, in both petrol and diesel guises, with prices starting from £16,150.

With the seats in place, carrying capacity of 580 litres is claimed to be the best in its class, rising to 1,620 litres with the rear seats folded.

With two engine choices, this is the first time that the Estate 4×4 will be available in a diesel engine. Those preferring more economical performance can choose the 1.9 TDI PD 105bhp, priced at £16,150, whilst the powerful new 2.0 FSI 150bhp is available at £16,745.

The Octavia Estate 4×4 owes its off-road capability to the permanently available four-wheel drive with automatic torque distribution which is achieved through Skoda’s Haldex coupling. This results in better handling in bad weather and poor road conditions.

The Haldex coupling system offers several advantages over other typical four-wheel drive concepts as it has front-wheel drive characteristics under the majority of driving conditions. The system works by near-instant evaluation of road conditions, fed from sensors in the car through the CAN-Bus system to the rear differential. Full integration with traction and braking systems such as ABS, EDL & ESP means there is less stress in the drivetrain when parking or manoeuvring.

The 4×4 is a stand-alone trim level that offers a number of additional features to Octavia’s Ambiente trim, including Climatronic dual-zone air conditioning, leather steering wheel, gearknob and gaiter, ESP and front fog lamps.  Raised suspension and sump guard are standard too, as are the 15″ alloy wheels. Both engine options have six-speed manual transmission.