In-depth reviews

Skoda Octavia hybrid review

The Skoda Octavia iV plug-in hybrid family hatchback may not be stylish or exciting, but it is an extremely sensible, practical and cheap-to-run choice

Skoda Octavia iV hybrid
Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Pros

  • Practical body shape
  • Good value for money
  • Decent electric range

Cons

  • Dull exterior styling
  • More comfortable than fun
  • Limited trim levels for now
Car typeElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid43 miles188-283mpg22-33g/km

If we all bought cars with our heads rather than our hearts, there’s a good chance you’d see an awful lot more Skodas on the road. With a reputation for value and practicality, as well as overall owner satisfaction, the latest Octavia could be the consummate all-rounder – even more so now a plug-in hybrid model has joined the fray.

Using the Volkswagen Group’s familiar 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine paired to a powerful electric motor and 13kWh battery, the Octavia iV is capable of up to 43 miles of electric running on a charge. With 201bhp, it’ll do 0-62mph in a fairly rapid 7.7 seconds and hit a top speed of 136mph.

The Skoda uses the same technology as the SEAT Leon e-Hybrid, but while performance is comparable, the way the two cars drive is quite different. Where the SEAT feels sharp and sporty, the Skoda is softer and far better suited to tackling motorway journeys in comfort.

This composure helps around town, too, where the Octavia – especially on the 18-inch wheels of our test model – makes light work of rough roads, lumps and bumps. The light steering doesn’t provide much entertainment or feedback, but helps when parking or manoeuvring.

Keeping the batteries topped up is worthwhile, not only for environmental and running-costs reasons, but for refinement purposes, too. Running around on electricity makes for a very relaxing way of commuting to the office or popping to the shops – although in our experience 27-30 miles is more realistic than the 40-odd that Skoda quotes.

Still, that official 43-mile range means that every Octavia hybrid falls into one of the lowest Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax bracket of any new company car. With a 6% rating, it matches the Mercedes A 250 e as well as a handful of Leon variants; if you’re after a large family car that has the potential to cost mere pennies to run, the Octavia is an excellent option.

The way the Octavia manages its two power sources is pretty effective, too. The Mercedes is perhaps a little slicker in its operation, as well as being more reluctant to use the petrol motor unless necessary, but the Skoda is still smooth in its transition; only when you floor the throttle does the engine ever raise its voice.

Elsewhere, the Octavia iV remains a fantastic family car. It’s hugely spacious in the back, and while the boot is smaller than in the conventional petrol or diesel hatchback, it’s still a usable size. You have to do without the variable boot floor of other versions, but there’s still 450 litres to play with (versus 600 litres in the standard hatchback) as well as a small compartment to keep the charging cables. Those who need more space should look to the Octavia Estate, which is also available in iV plug-in hybrid guise.

Speaking of charging – most buyers will top up their Octavia’s batteries at home overnight. With only a 3.6kW on-board charger, the Skoda will trickle from 0-100% in around three and a half hours from a compatible wallbox. All models come with a Mode 2 cable and three-pin plug as standard.

Currently only available in SE Technology and SE L trims, every model comes with dual-zone climate control, keyless go, a 10-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a 10.25-inch Virtual Cockpit display. You also benefit from LED lights font and rear, and a wealth of the latest safety kit.

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