The Skoda Octavia iV might not look all that different, but those two letters signify that this is the plug-in hybrid version. Other than a battery charge flap on the front left wing, there’s visually little else to differentiate it from other Octavia models.
Under the skin the powertrain comprises a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor that is installed within the six-speed automatic gearbox, with all drive going to the front wheels. That electric motor is powered by a 13kWh lithium-ion battery that resides in the rear of the car, aft of the back seats. The battery’s positioning does mean that the Skoda’s boot capacity is reduced by 150 litres. However, it still remains one of the most generous in the class at 450 litres - and can expand to 1,405 litres when the rear seats are folded forward. Skoda will also offer this plug-in hybrid setup in the estate version of the Octavia.
On the inside, there’s a classy cabin design, marking a big step up from previous generations of Octavia. A 10.25-inch digital instrument display sets the modern look as does the 10-inch touchscreen display on top of the dashboard. By moving to a shift-by-wire setup for the automatic transmission there is more free space around the centre console and, continuing Skoda’s solid reputation, there is a decent amount of rear passenger space.
How is it to drive?
If there’s one word that best describes how the Octavia iV drives, it’s civilised. Once there is some charge in the battery the car will move away using the electric motor alone and does so in near-silence. There is a faint whirr from it as the speed increases, but it’s never that pronounced within the cabin. This is the mode that you’ll want to drive the most in to experience that refinement.
When the combustion engine spins into life it can often do so without making itself known. The Octavia iV is a car that delivers its best when you’re driving it at regular speeds. You can harness its full 204hp output and it is indeed brisk, but it’s here that the engine can sound strained and it feels like it’s performing in a way that it would prefer not to.
The ride quality is weighted towards comfort and it complements the car’s nature perfectly. Combining this aspect with the comfortable and quiet cabin makes for a car that really does make long journeys effortless. If you want to maximise its efficiency, you do need to plug in to charge the battery at every available opportunity.
When is it coming to Ireland?
As the regular Octavia has only recently gone on sale in Ireland buyers will have to wait a little longer before this plug-in hybrid version begins to arrive at dealerships. But it should be available early on in 2021.
Any juicy technology?
If you’re a tech fan and take more of an interest in connectivity beyond merely pairing your phone’s Bluetooth, then the Skoda has a fair amount to offer. The graphical quality, menu system and interface for the new infotainment system are top rate and the added function of remotely accessing the car to pre-heat the cabin or to see how much energy is remaining in the battery are all useful things.
Carzone rating: 4/5
There isn’t always a great deal to separate the latest crop of plug-in hybrid cars, yet even taking this into consideration, the Skoda Octavia iV rises to the top thanks not only to how it drives and performs, but how well it does all of the other things too.