First drive: Skoda Octavia GreenLine II
The Octavia is Skoda's best-selling model in the UK and has also received the Czech firm's GreenLine II tweaks.
Highlights of the greenest Octavia ever include the 105PS 1.6-litre TDi engine with stop/start technology that's capable of returning 74.3 mpg for the hatch and 67.3 mpg for the estate.
Besides the amazing fuel figures, if you go for the GreenLine hatchback version of the Octavia there's no road tax to pay because of the 99g/km emissions. Fancy the spacious estate? Well, the 109 g/km emissions mean a very reasonable £20 tax to pay.
Like all the other models in the GreenLine II range, the Octavia follows the same formula of subtle badging, lowered ride height, revised aerodynamics, longer gearing and low-rolling resistance tyres.
Inside, it's all standard Octavia and there's no downside to going green as equipment includes a touch-screen entertainment system, air-conditioning and electric windows.
On the road, the only give away that this is a 'green' car is the lower gearing which means the Octavia initially feels slow off the mark as the 11.9-second 0-62mph acceleration would suggest. However, once on the move, the 1.6 TDi is smooth and responsive when overtaking.
With the lowered suspension the ride is marginally harder, but the trade off for this is sharper handling. It's just a shame the steering isn't as precise as I'd have hoped.
Overall, I really like the Octavia GreenLine II as its blend of performance and low running costs are bound to appeal to cost-conscious buyers.