WHERE estate cars are concerned it is generally all about the boot when deciding which one to plump for - and with the Skoda Octavia you are taking it to the max.
At a capacious 640 litres, the load-lugging version of the Czech car maker's popular model has the biggest load space in its class.
This came in very handy during my time behind the wheel, which just happened to coincide with an eagerly awaited seaside staycation.
I can, therefore, say with certainty that the Octavia Estate's boot swallowed everything that was needed for a four-day break for a family of four without the need to pile things above the parcel shelf or stuff them in the rear footwells.
All of which meant the spacious cabin was free of clutter and allowed me, my missus and our two teenage kids plenty of room to make the 250-plus mile trip to our beachside destination in comfort.
There is easily enough space for four adults to relax on longer journeys in this motor and a generous middle seat means that three should be OK in the back on shorter trips - although there is a slight hump in the floor for the one in the middle to straddle.
Our SE L trim car also boasted plenty of family friendly touches to make long haul journeys more bearable for passengers - not least the dedicated smartphone pockets on the front seat backs and the dual USB charging ports in the rear which help to keep the kids charged up and connected to Netflix or Spotify or whatever. The connections are the newer USB-C type though, so you may need an adapter.
SE L is the higher of three basic specification grades available, two of which are currently supplemented by First Edition variants following the launch of the fourth-generation Octavia last year. These are then joined by the more sportily focused vRS version, which features striking muscular design enhancements as well as more powerful engine options.
All trims come with decent equipment levels though, with alloy wheels, roof rails, LED headlamps and rear lights, touchscreen infotainment system, dual zone air conditioning, automatic lights and wipers, cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane keep assist standard across the range.
Stepping up to SE L adds microsuede upholstery, rear privacy glass, satellite navigation, keyless entry and ignition, drive mode selector and Skoda's version of the VW Group's virtual cockpit - a customisable digital driver's display,
Power comes from a selection of petrol and diesel engines with outputs ranging between 110 and 245ps and including mild and plug-in hybrid options variously available with manual or automatic transmissions.
Our car featured the 150ps, 1.5-litre TSI petrol unit, which has become something of a favourite across the VW Group range, mated with a six-speed manual gearbox- and it was a combination which handled this fully laden estate car with aplomb.
Cruising at motorway speeds was smooth, effortless and surprisingly refined other than when travelling over more coarse road surfaces - when tyre roar was a slight issue.
Light and precise steering makes manoeuvring easy enough and the Octavia Estate handles pretty well too. There is a little body roll when cornering at speed because the supple suspension is set up for comfort over outright dynamism. But that's exactly what's required here and the ride is largely settled and comfortable.
If I were looking hard for faults I found the gearshift quite notchy at times and my wife was constantly bothered in the front passenger seat by the sun glinting off the chrome interior door handle and trim - although I had no such issues with this while driving.