Skoda Octavia iV Estate long-term test
The Skoda Octavia Estate has a five-star What Car? rating, but does the plug-in hybrid version continue to impress when you live with it every day?...
The car Skoda Octavia Estate 1.4 TSI iV SE L Run by Mark Pearson, Used Cars Editor
Why it’s here To see whether this category winner in our Electric Car Awards can also hit the mark in everyday use
Needs to Prove it’s more than just a practical wagon. It’ll need to handle commuting work and family life with flair, and deliver impressive real-world fuel economy
Mileage 8052 List price £35,880 Target Price £34,295 Price as tested £37,045 Dealer Price £31,600 Private Price £28,100 P/Ex Price £27,600 Test economy 114.3mpg Official economy 246.1mpg Running costs (excluding depreciation) £150 fuel £90 Electricity
15 August 2022 – The generation game
I make no bones about it, I’ve always liked a Skoda Octavia. When I was casting around for a car to transport my young family a dozen years ago, it seemed logical to buy a used second-generation Octavia vRS. The Octavia side meant it could fit the brood in and the vRS side kept me happy (and very well it did for us, too).
Hence the decision to put this fourth-generation Octavia Estate on my driveway a few months ago – an estate version for its extra practicality, of course, and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model to keep things on trend. The 1.4 TSI iV has an official electric-only range of up to 41 miles and managed a staggering 256.8mpg in economy tests.
Now, luckily I have the advantage of a driveway and a three-pin plug socket in my garage, so I knew that charging up the Octavia (which takes about six hours from empty to full) would be easy. Most of my journeys are fairly short (my commute is a 20-mile round trip) so I was hoping, fuel prices being what they are, to run this car on electric power as much as possible.
And boy did I achieve that. I actually managed my first 27 days and 274 miles driving on electric power alone. Indeed for a lot of the time during my tenure, the fuel readout on the car’s digital instruments read 300mpg – an entirely arbitrary figure that shows that no fuel was being used in the course of the journey.
My final overall figure was an excellent 114.3mpg. I covered 3000 miles, of which I’d estimate about 75% was on electric power alone. On average, the electric part got me between 25 to 28 miles before the petrol engine would kick in, so if your journeys are mostly short and you have access to easy charging, you too could run this car mostly on electricity.
As for the rest of it, it was good to drive and, for the most part, comfortable. For the most part? My car wore optional 19in alloy wheels, and I think those, in combination with the extra weight of a hybrid car, contributed to its ride occasionally getting caught out by sharp potholes and ridges and the like.
It was reasonably quiet, too, especially because it spent so much of its time running on electricity, and passengers admired the upmarket and spacious interior. Only the responses of the touchscreen infotainment screen irked me – the more so because most features are accessed by prodding it rather than using more conventional buttons and dials.
Mind you, on that front, all was not plain-sailing. Midway through my time with it, the SOS emergency warning lights kept coming on and the infotainment screen threw a hissy fit. There was no ignoring it, alas, so the car had to go back the dealer for a software update, after which all was okay.
My time with this car is best summed up by another old story. In 2015, I borrowed a third-generation Octavia Estate – a 2.0-litre diesel – for a family holiday in Cornwall. It was good to drive, supremely economical (55mpg) and, of course, wonderfully practical. What made it even more impressive was that the year before we had done the same journey in a £50,000 Jaguar XF Sportbrake and no one in the Skoda, including me as the driver, seemed to notice they were travelling in anything less.
I came back from that jaunt thinking that the Octavia Estate might be the supreme all-rounder. So does the same apply to this latest larger and more upmarket version? Well, in PHEV form, it’s certainly no longer cheap, and the hiccup with the infotainment system was a bit of a nuisance. But I would say, if the plug-in bit works for you, there are definitely running cost savings to be made, and few can match an Octavia for practicality. Do I still like it, then? You betcha.
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