First Drive: Skoda’s Octavia iV brings a plug-in hybrid powertrain to the range

Jack Evans, PA Motoring Reporter

What is it?

Skoda Octavia iV
The iV badging denotes Skoda’s plug-in hybrid models


The whole motoring industry is in the process of electrification. Even if it’s not a fully electric vehicle, batteries and motors are being used to aid with making engines cleaner and more efficient while helping to deliver better fuel economy. Skoda is no different to this, either, which brings us to this – the Octavia iV.

The new iV branding signifies Skoda’s electrified models. And since we’ve already experienced the regular Octavia and found it to be rather impressive, we’ve got high hopes for this battery-assisted model. Let’s check it out.

What’s new?

Skoda Octavia iV
The Octavia remains one of Skoda’s core models


On the outside at least, not a lot has changed. To all intents and purposes, this is just a standard Octavia, with little to differentiate it from the rest of the range. But underneath it boasts a new hybridised powertrain and the ability to plug it in to recharge – this is no ‘self-charging’ hybrid.

Inside, the Octavia remains a car focused on space. And, as we’ve already seen on the standard car, it’s a cabin which now brings better materials and a higher level of quality than ever before.

What’s under the bonnet?

Skoda Octavia iV
The hybrid setup combines petrol and electric power


It’s under the bonnet where things really change. The iV utilises a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine which is then combined with a 13kWh battery and an 85kW electric motor. It’s a setup we’re being seen used across the wider Volkswagen Group and there’s little wonder why – with CO2 emissions of just 22-33g/km and MPG figures of up to 188.3mpg providing the batteries are fully topped up, it’s incredibly efficient.

Skoda claims that you’ll be able to travel for up to 43 miles on electric power alone, while those impressively low emissions figures mean that the Octavia will attract company buyers thanks to its benefit-in-kind tax of just six per cent. A full charge should also take around three and a half hours via a home wallbox.

What’s it like to drive?

Skoda Octavia iV
Hybrid power brings the ability to run on electric power alone


We were taken aback by the regular Octavia’s superb ride and, for the most part, this has been transferred to the hybrid version. Of course, adding additional batteries brings additional weight, so while the iV does reasonably well at disguising its bulk at slower speeds, once you’re up to pace you’ll find it brings additional lean and wobble – particularly when cornering. That extra heft does mean that the Octavia can crash through larger potholes too.

The healthy electric range does mean that you can do extended journeys without troubling the petrol engine, though if you do run out of juice, the 1.4-litre petrol can be relied upon to provide decent enough performance. Like all hybrids, the Octavia iV is at its very best when the batteries are fully charged, however.

How does it look?

Skoda Octavia iV
The charging port is located close to the front of the car


The Octavia iV’s subtle styling is unlikely to get heads turning or tongues wagging, but that’s not to say that it isn’t attractive. The chrome detailing gives it a more premium edge, while the large front grille and striking LED headlights do make it particularly imposing from the front. The hatchback also looks far longer than you’d expect from a mid-sized car, too.

You can also have the iV as a more practical estate which, to our eyes at least, looks even better.

What’s it like inside?

Skoda Octavia iV
The interior is logically laid out and comfortable


As we’ve already highlighted, the interior quality of the new Octavia is leagues ahead of its predecessor. There’s a good amount of space inside too, with plenty of storage and oddment bins to help ensure that the cabin remains clutter-free. It’s ergonomically laid out too, ensuring that access to all of the major controls is simple and intuitive.

Skoda Octavia iV
Boot space remans good despite the fitment of large batteries

When it comes to boot space, the iV brings 450 litres with the seats in place, while folding them down increases this to a decent 1,405 litres. It represents quite the drop over the regular Octavia which delivers 600 litres of seats-up space and 1,555 litres with them down. That said, the iV’s boot area is still usefully square and includes a small area which can be used to store the car’s charging cables.

What’s the spec like?

Skoda Octavia iV
The Octavia features a large touchscreen display


A strong level of standard equipment is something we’ve come to expect from Skoda and this is no different with the Octavia iV. Our car, in SE L specification, brought features such as 18-inch wheels, front heated seats and keyless entry and start as standard, as well as LED headlights, a virtual cockpit system with 10.25-inch screen and cruise control with speed limiter.

In fact, the only options added to our car were a head-up display (£690), metallic paint (£595), wireless phone charging capability (£325) and a driver fatigue sensor (£45). If you needed to keep costs down, you could happily omit these and still enjoy a car with a wealth of features on board.

Verdict

It’s fair to say that considering how good the regular Octavia is that this iV version had a strong platform on which to build. It’s true that, for most buyers, the regular car will be more than enough, while the storage penalty that this hybrid version endures might put off families in need of plenty of space.

However, for company car users or those looking to reduce their fuel costs, this plug-in hybrid variant will look pretty tempting indeed. With such a strong level of equipment accompanying it too, the Octavia iV is yet another Skoda which proves that you can have your cake and eat it.

  • Model: Skoda Octavia iV

  • Base price: £32,525

  • Model as tested: Octavia iV SE L Hatch

  • Price: £34,180

  • Engine: 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol linked with electric motor

  • Power: 201bhp

  • Torque: 350Nm

  • Max speed: 136mph

  • 0-60mph: 7.4 seconds

  • MPG: 282.5-188.3

  • Emissions: 22-33g/km CO2

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