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...
The saying goes that love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage. Well, the same rule applies when it comes to Skoda and cars that are comfortable, sensible and practical. The Skoda Octavia Estate is possibly the best example of this; it’s a car that we’ve always been keen on, and this efficient iV plug-in hybrid model gives you the joy of sailing past filling stations with fair impunity.
But exactly how efficient is it? Well, keep the battery charged up and – officially – you’ll get up to 41 miles of pure electric driving and a whopping 274mpg when the battery and 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine are working together (assuming you do mostly short trips and plug it in regularly). On top of that, CO2 emissions of just 23g/km place it in one of the lowest company car tax bands.
It’s not like that efficiency comes at the expense of performance, either; you have 201bhp to play with and instant off-the-line acceleration courtesy of the electric motor. The result is that you’ll never struggle when you need a burst of pace; the Octavia iV can sprint from 0-62mph in a very respectable 7.8sec – quicker than the Toyota Corolla Touring Sports.
Granted, on a twisty country road, the soft-riding Octavia iV is a little out of its comfort zone, but then, that’s not really the point. The Octavia is focused on being a comfortable cruiser, and that’s something it’s incredibly good at. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that the ride is excellent. It’s softer than that of its Seat Leon Estate eHybrid rival, but it doesn’t suffer from the wobble or lean over undulations that a lot of soft-riding cars do.
That focus on comfort continues on the inside, where you’ll find a great driving position, for a relaxing commute, and there’s plenty of head and leg room for four adults on longer trips.
Talking of roominess, it’s the boot that really steals the show. In short, it’s huge, especially when you compare it with those of other plug-in hybrids. The Octavia’s 490-litre boot healthily beats the BMW 330e Touring’s 410-litre effort, and you get a handy spot under the boot floor to store your charging cables. Plus, the rear seats can be folded completely flat in a 60/40 configuration for 1555 litres in total; yes, the 330e Touring’s 40/20/40 split is more versatile, but you get only 1420 litres.
Skoda has always managed to offer a very complete package with the Octavia Estate, but the iV variant takes that to the next level. Yes, it’s more expensive initially, but its extra efficiency should make up for that.