SKODA has embraced hybrid and full-on electric vehicle technology head on and its Octavia iV is an important step along the road to success for it – it also has the really excellent Enyaq as a full EV (more of that in a later issue).

However, the Octavia has gained a reputation of being a 'taxi' for the massed ranks and that has maybe held back its sales to the general public. But that should actually encourage buyers as taxi drivers fastidiously support reliability in their vehicle of choice. Nuff said on that.

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But the iV version is a plug-in hybrid that meet everyone's needs – except taxi drivers! The standard fare is a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine matched to a 85kW electric motor and 13kW battery which is enough for battery power alone to get you 40 miles along the road. But, the engine has a round 200bhp to get you from A to B and with some quite startling performance.

It was the 'hatch' version that's on record here, but it also comes as a useful estate with a handful of trim levels. This one had the SE L spec' which included dual-zone climate control, keyless start, and an impressive array of connectivity features controlled via a 10.25-inch touch screen.

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Skoda said this was the most fuel-efficient Octavia it had ever built, with an incredible 282.5mpg possible – which actually means hee-haw as it is wholly dependent on the electric motor being at the top of its game throughout the journey, which as we know is highly unlikely unless you are popping down to the shops two miles away and at very slow speed.

But hybrids have the back up of a 'normal' engine backing up the zero emissions 85kW electric motor. There's also a selection of driving modes, including an eco mode for short journeys.

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It works automatically and seamlessly when needed and as soon as the car moves, sensors talk between the petrol engine and electric motor to regulate which power takes priority, or the electronics activate both at the same time. Hybrid mode also offers the option of charging the battery via things like regen' braking, or the engine while the car is moving.

A full charge on a 16-amp supply takes about 3.5 hours from empty but the Octavia iV also comes with a 10-amp mains three-pin charge cable as standard if you don't have a dedicated charger at home, which I found means it will charge to full overnight.

When working together, the engine and electric motor can propel the Octavia iV from 0-62 in under eight seconds thanks to the really useful six-speed DSG auto transmission and despite being a little soft in the corners, it can handler that kind of power very well.

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In the hatch version, there’s still plenty of room for five, and the boot is wide but not deep because of the housing for the system's batteries under the floor.

Prices for the Octavia Hatch start at around £20,000 but this hybrid model with SE L trim was considerably more at £34,535. But even at that, it is sensibly priced compared to others of this genre.