Jeremy Webb puts the Skoda Octavia iV vRS PHEV through its paces to establish whether this is a car worthy of leading the ‘Charge’ of the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Brigade?
Around the World, Governments are deciding how and when to ban vehicles powered by fossil fuels. Agree with it or not, the UK Government has set a target of 2030 when no new Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars will be sold.
This has resulted in most brands frantically developing cars with alternative power units such as the Skoda Octavia iV vRS PHEV. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles combine electrical motors with regular engines, to meet the new guidelines.
Before I get to the Skoda Octavia iV vRS PHEV, let me explain the available power provisions when purchasing a new car. There are Petrol, and Diesel vehicles which are classified as ICE, Internal Combustion Engines. Then we have Hybrid which combines electric motors with ICE engines; these can be self-charging or PHEV.
Self-Charging means the ICE engine while in use puts power back into the electric battery within the vehicle. Plug-in involves using a cable to recharge the small battery in the car allowing electric power over a short-range.
The next step is full electric where batteries in the vehicles power electric motors which turn the wheels. The batteries have to be charged by plugging the car into a power source such as your home sockets. Hydrogen celled cars are also available which uses the gas to power the electric battery within. These are resupplied with Hydrogen at centres, just like filling up at a petrol station, easy and clean.
In writing about the Octavia iV vRS PHEV, my mind is torn in two. I have to say that I love this car right from the off, but I question the need for Plug-in Hybrids, and I am not alone.
Many Automotive Journalists are also not convinced there are benefits to having one in a brand’s model range? You pay more to purchase a PHEV. You only get approximately 30 miles of range on a full charge and the car’s weight increases over a standard petrol or diesel version.
You have the environmental concerns from producing the batteries to go into these vehicles for the little amount they benefit lack of emissions. It appears the manufacturers have appeased the public and Governments with a compromise, so they meet deadlines set for 2030.
This is the year, countries have selected to mark the end of Internal Combustion Engine vehicles (ICE) sales. Car firms will not be allowed to sell ICE models; cars must be either full electric, Hybrid or PHEV.
Pushing through PHEV models now enables the companies to continue to use the ICE engines they have spent millions of pounds developing. It also allows them to hedge their bets as to what technology will eventually win out? Full electric through rechargeable batteries or the clean and more environmentally friendly Hydrogen power.
Back to the Skoda Octavia iV vRS PHEV which combines a 1.4-litre petrol engine with an 85-kW electric motor to give 204PS of power. 350 Nm of torque is available if should need it or want some thrills. The CO2 emissions are approximately 30g/km, and the all-electric range is up to 43 miles. However, during my week of testing, I only got 30 miles, which, as I mention, is not really worth having, for the extra costs involved.
I was incredibly impressed with the fuel consumption with a full 50-litre tank giving me 450 miles of mixed driving. A lot of my trips were at motorway speeds which the car is easily able to do. The sports interior is comfortable and looks great, as does the display. It offers options of what you can view while driving, such as the power coming from the electric motor, boost, mileage range, electrical range, to name a few.
The front-wheel-drive car has handling to match the performance, which gave me a lot of confidence when travelling on some twisty A-roads in rough weather at night. Packed with safety aids, it also makes it the perfect transport for you and your loved ones. To list all would take up too much space, so a few to mention are lane Departure Assist, Distance notification, Parking Assist, Front and Rear Sensors.
I thoroughly enjoyed driving and discovering the versatility of the Skoda Octavia iV vRS PHEV. It’s a very capable family estate with loads of space for five people with luggage or an excitement inducing sportscar. The boost you get from the electric motor when you put your foot down is very addictive and it takes the family estate into the realms of sportscars with some blistering acceleration.
The Skoda Octavia iV vRS PHEV pretty much offers all you could want. it’s ideal for motorway cruising, brisk driving on country roads or a simple family shop. I also believe it offers decent value for money with its three-year warranty, long servicing intervals and inexpensive running costs.
Is it the leader of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Brigade? I think so. In my opinion, it’s a nose ahead of the competition and I’d recommend you book a test drive to see for yourself; you won’t be disappointed.
Skoda Octavia iV vRS Estate PHEV – Where and How?
The price for the Skoda Octavia iV vRS Estate PHEV starts from £33,000. For more information including options, booking a test drive and dealer location, please visit www.skoda.co.uk.
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