Skoda Octavia hybrid review
The Skoda Octavia iV plug-in hybrid family hatchback is an extremely sensible, practical and cheap-to-run choice
- Practical body shape
- Good value for money
- Decent electric range
- Dull exterior styling
- More comfortable than fun
- Limited trim levels for now
|Car type||Electric range||Fuel economy||CO2 emissions|
|Plug-in hybrid||43 miles||188-283mpg||22-33g/km|
The Skoda Octavia is a fantastic all-round family car, so it's great news that there's also a plug-in hybrid version, called the Octavia iV. In fact, there are two versions – the one we're reviewing here is focused on economy, but there's also an Octavia iV vRS with more power and a performance focus.
Both models use a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine alongside an electric motor with a 13kWh battery. The standard model, only available in SE L trim at the moment, makes 201bhp, while the vRS makes 242bhp. Even this standard model is nippy, as it can do 0-62mph in a fairly rapid 7.7 seconds and hit a top speed of 136mph. The Octavia iV is able to drive for an impressive 43 miles on battery power alone.
Several other models use the same powertrain technology, including the very similar SEAT Leon e-Hybrid. Yet the two cars are pretty different to drive: the SEAT is sharp and feels sportier, while the Skoda is more comfortable and practical, and better for motorway trips.
The Skoda's focus on comfort means that while it's not as engaging to drive as the SEAT it shares technology with, it's more comfortable over potholes and more relaxing to drive. Its steering is light and easy to use, but doesn't have much feel or feedback.
When running in electric-only mode, the Skoda is really quiet inside and very smooth to drive. Skoda claims that the iV can drive for over 40 miles in this mode but in our experience 27-30 miles is more realistic. The claimed range is still important, though, as it brings big benefits for company-car users.
The Octavia plug-in hybrid falls into one of the lowest Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax brackets of any new car with a combustion engine. Its impressive 7% rating (during the 2021/22 tax year) matches that of the Mercedes A 250 e as well as a handful of Leon variants, and like these models it's bound to be a very popular choice for business buyers.
The way the Octavia manages its two power sources is 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.
The Octavia iV is now available in SE Technology, SE L and Sportline trim, so every example 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, while the Sportline trim adds black styling cues to the exterior as well.
The Octavia iV plug-in hybrid is a very convincing company-car choice, but it also makes a lot of sense to anyone with a short commute. If you plug in at home and make the most of the electric power, it has the potential to be ultra-cheap to run while also being one of the most practical family cars around, with a comfortable ride and lots of in-car technology.