Skoda Octavia plug-in hybrid: details, specs and on-sale date

New Skoda Octavia iV introduces plug-in hybrid technology, with mild-hybrid powertrains also offered

The new Skoda Octavia iV – a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variant of the Czech brand’s popular hatchback and estate model – has been revealed, with mild-hybrid and non-hybrid versions also featuring in the line-up.

The Octavia iV combines a 1.4-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor to produce 201bhp. The latter is powered by a 13kWh battery, which Skoda says can return up to 34 miles of zero-emissions range. Charging times have not been disclosed, although the car will feature a Type 2 socket compatible with most home wallboxes.

The full UK engine line-up is yet to be confirmed, however 48-volt mild-hybrid tech will feature on the base-spec 1.0-litre, three-cylinder unit and on a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder option, provided they’re specced with a seven-speed automatic gearbox and not the six-speed manual alternative. Those engines produce 108 and 148bhp respectively.

The mild-hybrids collect electrical energy via a regenerative braking system, which is then redeployed to boost the engine's performance, thus saving fuel and improving emissions. However, as is the case with the Octavia iV PHEV, performance, fuel economy and emissions figures have not yet been confirmed.

Both the hatchback and estate versions of the Octavia have grown slightly compared to the previous-generation model: both cars are 15mm wider, with the hatch increasing in length by 19mm and the estate by 22mm. Practicality increases as a result, with boot space rising to 600 and 640 litres accordingly.

The exterior design has evolved, with the front end given a sharper look and LED headlights as standard. The rear has undergone a more significant transformation, with the old car’s square taillights replaced with a thinner, LED signature. Meanwhile, the Skoda logo is replaced by Skoda lettering on the tailgate.

The biggest changes can be found inside: the dashboard follows a strong horizontal line, with a ledge under the infotainment screen – similar to that in the Skoda Scala – on which drivers can rest their hands when operating the screen.

An 8.25-inch infotainment screen compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard, although three other 10-inch displays are offered with increasing degrees of functionality: sat nav, voice control, gesture control and volume control via a slider are among the features on offer. Elsewhere, the Octavia adopts a 10.25-inch digital display ahead of the driver.

The steering wheel – now sporting a two-spoke design – features buttons and scroll wheels, making it easier to control the functions on the digital instrument panel. Meanwhile, the Octavia's usual gear selector has been replaced with a rocker switch, ahead of which a large cubbyhole is provided for extra storage.

The Octavia’s interior will usher in a more upmarket approach for a model name that has sold 6.5 million times since its birth in 1959. Soft-touch plastics, chrome trim elements and LED ambient lighting will be available, as will massage seats, a head-up display, three-zone climate control and LED matrix headlights.

New safety features include collision avoidance, steering assistance and predictive cruise control, together with traffic sign recognition, lane keep assist and traffic jam assist systems. Drivers will get more say over the suspension, damping and steering responsiveness, all of which are configurable within the car’s driving modes.

Despite the changes, some familiar touches remain in the form of Skoda’s ‘Simply Clever’ solutions: an ice scraper can still be found inside the fuel filler cap, while a ‘Sleep’ package adds bigger headrests, stowed blankets and sun blinds to the rear seats.

The Skoda Octavia iV will rival the new Volkswagen Golf GTE (which shares its platform) as well as SUV alternatives like the forthcoming Renault Captur. Prices will be announced at a later date, with the car going on sale in the second quarter of 2020. A sportier, electrified vRS version of the Octavia will likely follow in due course.