The new Skoda Octavia range launched last autumn with more on-board tech, more soft-touch materials and more of the practicality that fleets demand.
It also now includes a plug-in hybrid variant in the range, however given the price premium for the PHEV (list price £31,745 in estate guise) currently many fleets are likely to opt for efficient petrol-engined models, such as the 1.5-litre 150PS one we now have on long term test or its even more frugal but less powerful 1.0-litre sibling.
With a £23,390 P11D value and a 28% BIK rate this well-equipped 1.5-litre workhorse will cost an typical 20% taxpaying fleet car driver an acceptable £1,310 annual tax. To me, little more than £100 per month is small sacrifice for a car loaded with all the essentials that’ll keep occupants safe and comfortable.
Highlights of the SE Technology derivative’s kit list include a 10in touchscreen controlling the sat-nav, climate control and infotainment, front and rear parking sensors with manoeuvre assist, an electronic parking brake with hill start assist, and cruise control with a speed limiter function – vital for business drivers who’ve already accrued a few points on their licence.
Yet standout touches are the umbrella hidden inside the driver’s door and an ice scraper mounted inside the fuel filler flap – Skoda is well known for such clever little touches that make owners’ lives easier.
And I particularly like the 10.25in ‘virtual cockpit’ in front of the driver. This really boosts this Octavia’s ‘techy’ persona and ensures drivers can personalise their dashboard view quickly and intuitively through the steering wheel controls to see navigation, performance and efficiency data and even connectivity options as they desire. Used well, it helps to reduce the instances they’ll glance at the main 10in centre screen, so ensuring their focus remains on the drive, not the gadgetry.
The next report will share more on that, plus a quick comparison with the PHEV alternative I’ve driven for a couple of days.