Extended Test: 2020 Skoda Octavia iV Estate plug-in hybrid review

Is now the time to buy a plug-in hybrid?

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2020 Skoda Octavia iV Estate specifications

Model 70-reg Skoda Octavia iV SE L Estate
Price £33,605 OTR
Price as tested (with options) £36,426 OTR
Colour Moon White metallic
Cost options fitted Driver fatigue sensor £45; Metallic Paint/ Pearlescent £595; Park Assist £345; Rear-view parking camera with dynamic indicators £595; Winter Pack £480; Wireless charging £325; Skoda roof bars £210; Skoda bike holder £113 (x2)
Drivetrain 148bhp, 1,395cc, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine plus 114bhp electric drive motor and 13kWh li-ion battery
Transmission Six-speed DSG automatic, front-wheel drive
Power output 201bhp (maximum combined)
Torque 258 lb ft (maximum combined)
Kerb weight (with driver) 1,620–1,797kg
Max trailer weight (braked / unbraked) 1,500kg / 750kg
Boot capacity (rear seats in place / folded) 490 litres / 1,555 litres
Top speed 137mph
Acceleration 0-62mph: 7.8sec
Electric range (WLTP) Up to 37 miles
Official consumption (WLTP) 188.3-256.8mpg
Charging time (0-100%) 5hrs using standard household socket (10amp); 3hrs 33min using 3.6kW wallbox
CO2 emissions 24-33g/km
Road tax £0 for first year; £140 thereafter
BIK tax payable (2020/21) 6%; £403 (20%) or £805 (40%)
BIK tax payable (2021/22) 7%; £470 (20%) or £939 (40%)
Insurance group 21

Test details

Test period December 2020 – June 2021
Starting mileage 873 miles

Test updates

December 22, 2020 Introducing the Skoda Octavia iV Estate

 

December 22: Introducing the Skoda Octavia iV Estate

2020 Skoda Octavia iV Estate plug-in hybrid long-term review by Will Dron for Sunday Times Driving.co.uk

Skoda delivered the Octavia iV Estate on December 14 with a Christmas tree on the roof and a Christmas card inside (adorned with the lovely pun, “The holly and the iV”), which was a lovely touch.

We already had a tree at our house but my elderly mum, who lives alone and, due to Covid-19, is insisting on spending Christmas Day on her own, did not — so the car’s first duty (after its photoshoot) was a trip to ma’s, where there tree was erected. I think it has made her Christmas. Skoda may not be seen as the most exciting car brand in the world, perhaps, but it definitely has a heart and soul.

 

So what is the Skoda Octavia iV all about? Well, it’s a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), which means it can be driven on electric power for a number of miles before a traditional combustion engine joins the party, after which it works pretty much like a standard hybrid. In the Octavia’s case, it’ll go for “up to 37 miles” on electric power, according to the official WLTP test, though from day one the actual range indicated by the car is 25 miles, and that seems to be pretty accurate so far.

As with most other PHEVs, you can hold the battery charge at any stage, so that you can use it later. In my extended test of the BMW 225xe, I found this really useful for maximising efficiency — I used electric power around town before switching to hybrid mode and holding the battery reserve for a stretch of 50mph dual carriageway, then went back to pure-electric for the final stint through central London.


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Due to coronavirus I’m commuting far less these days, with many more short, local trips. That means I should be able to get even higher fuel economy out of the Skoda than the 79mpg average in the BMW, especially as it promises an extra five miles per charge of electric motoring.

The official fuel economy is an eye-opening 188.3-256.8mpg, but take that with a massive pinch of salt: the real economy will vary massively depending on how you use it. If you spend all your time on motorways the figure will be much lower — probably lower than you’d get from a diesel car. But imagine if you plug in every night and only drive less than 25 miles per day — in theory you could never use a drop of petrol.

2020 Skoda Octavia iV Estate plug-in hybrid long-term review by Will Dron for Sunday Times Driving.co.uk

Of course, you will want to venture further afield on occasion, and that’s where a PHEV comes in handy — no need to wait at charging points for a recharge on your family holiday to Cornwall; you can simply refill the petrol tank and continue on your way.

I’ll be paying close attention to my personal fuel economy in future posts, in daily running but also on long trips, as well as ease of charging and costs. It’s worth noting that government incentives for plug-in hybrids have ended, and new hybrids will be banned from sale from 2035 (they want us all to buy pure-electric cars now), but PHEVs can still make a lot of sense depending on circumstances. One thing to look at in the coming months is residual values, with all that in mind.

This is the Estate version of the new Octavia that launched in 2020, and comes with a choice of two petrol engines, both of which come with a mild-hybrid set-up for improved economy, but these can’t run on electric power alone. There’s a 2-litre diesel engine, too, which can be specced with four-wheel drive, plus a sporty vRS version of the plug-in hybrid.

2020 Skoda Octavia iV Estate plug-in hybrid long-term review by Will Dron for Sunday Times Driving.co.uk - interior

All are based on the new VW Golf 8, and there’s an Estate version of the Golf, so we’ll compare the two alongside some other Estate rivals in a future post, looking at practicality and features.

And as with the Golf 8, the new Octavia’s interior has been dramatically stripped backed and updated with new tech — I’ll devote another update to all the infotainment features available, including the connected phone app.

We can also explore the Skoda’s unique features, including the ones marked out as Simply Clever. At least one of them could prove very handy as the temperature drops.

2020 Skoda Octavia iV Estate plug-in hybrid long-term review by Will Dron for Sunday Times Driving.co.uk

I’m delighted about being sent the Christmas tree not only for the tree itself but also because it was strapped to Skoda’s bike carriers, so I can let you know if they’re worth £113 each, too.

So. there’s plenty to talk about over the next six months, so bookmark this page and return for the updates.

In the meantime: Merry Christmas!

Mileage today 1,124 miles
Distance since start 285 miles
Average consumption 61.8mpg / 7.7 miles per kWh (375 miles hybrid & 26 miles electric)

As always with our extended tests, you can ask questions at any time via my Twitter account or the comments below.

 

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