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What Car? Electric Car Awards in association with ONTO

Electric Car Awards 2021: Best hybrid estate car

With electrified cars now coming in all shapes and sizes – and available to suit every budget – we’ve named the best models in every class. Here we look at the best hybrid estate car...

WINNER: Best hybrid estate car

Skoda Octavia Estate 1.4 TSI iV SE Technology

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If there's one model that represents Skoda at its very best, we reckon it has to be the Octavia Estate. Not only does it offer family car buyers class-leading space and practicality, but it does so very cost-effectively. And this plug-in hybrid iV version is no exception.

Now, we admit that, with a list price that starts at just under £32,000, the iV commands quite a hefty premium over a regular petrol Octavia Estate. For many, though, the initial investment will pay back dividends. That’s because the iV, which uses the same frugal 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine, electric motor and battery as the latest Volkswagen Golf GTE, can officially return a huge 274.8mpg.

Skoda Octavia iV Estate rear

You’ll need to plug your iV in on a regular basis to see that kind of figure, but we reckon many drivers will, because its impressive electric range of 41 miles should cover the majority of daily journeys. The iV is serene when running in electric-only mode, and the motor is powerful enough to get you up to motorway speeds without a fuss. Factor in a softer ride than that of the Seat Leon e-Hybrid and the Octavia makes for a relaxing commuting car.

If you spend a lot of time behind the wheel, you’ll also be pleased to learn that the Octavia has a great driving position and a standard of interior quality that, while not a match for that of the costlier BMW 330e Touring, still impresses at this price point. The plush plastics that grace the doors and dashboard are particular highlights, and even the harder materials are pleasingly textured and mostly confined to less prominent locations.

The touchscreen infotainment system can be quite fiddly to use, and even adjusting the temperature (via the central screen) is more distracting than it should be, but the digital instrument panel – which takes the place of regular dials on SE Technology trim and above – is easy to read and can be configured in a variety of ways.

Skoda Octavia Estate 2021 dashboard

One of the Octavia’s biggest drawcards is its boot, which is massive by plug-in hybrid standards. You lose a little volume over the regular estate due to the iV’s large battery, but there’s a storage space under the floor that’s an ideal place to keep charging cables.

There’s plenty of space inside for people, too. Front seat occupants will have no problem getting comfortable, while there’s plenty of head and leg room for two tall passengers in the rear.

Company car users have another reason to cheer. That healthy electric range leads to an official CO2 output of just 23g/km, placing the Octavia iV in an exceptionally low 7% benefit-in-kind tax bracket and paring monthly payments to the bone.

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