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What is it?

It’s this year’s Business Motoring Medium car of the Year is what it is.

The latest, fourth-generation Škoda Octavia offers a greater level of active and passive safety technology, new driver assistance systems and advanced infotainment.

When combined with its most extensive powertrain options to-date (including mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants), the Octavia cements itself as one of the leading options for fleet customers in its segment.

The SE Technology trim has ramped up the value for business customers and has been designed to specifically meet the demands of company car drivers. SE Technology models offer six advanced engine options in both hatch and estate form, from a 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine producing 110 PS through to the 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine, which delivers 150 PS.

The SE Technology is also available as a 1.0 TSI e-TEC mild hybrid with an output of 110PS, or as a plug-in hybrid that delivers a power output of 204 PS and up to 42 miles pure electric range. The Octavia SE Technology comes with a host of technology and assistance systems as standard, including 16- inch Twister Aero alloy wheels, LED headlights and daytime running headlights and a newly designed two-spoke leather steering wheel.

To keep company car drivers connected whilst on the road, all SE Technology models come with ŠKODA’s range-topping Columbus infotainment system, with 10-inch touchscreen and the 10.25-inch Virtual Cockpit. The SE Technology offers businesses a plethora of safety features to keep drivers safer on the road. These include Front and Rear Parking Sensors with Manoeuvre Assist, Lane Assist, Front Assist, Turn Assist and up to 10 airbags.

octaviavrsmk4estateIn addition, drivers benefit from Škoda’s ‘Simply Clever’ features including an umbrella in the driver’s door, an ice scraper in the fuel cap and an overhead storage compartment for glasses.

As with previous generation models, the Škoda Octavia is hugely practical for drivers to comfortably transport all of their day-to-day necessities. The hatch’s boot capacity ranges from 600-litres with the seats up to 1,555 with the rear seats folded down.

The estate continues to be class-leading offering with a cavernous 1,700-litres with the rear down. A full range of options is also available across the SE Technology range, allowing customers to tailor their car to meet their exact needs.

Options include full LED Matrix headlights, Virtual Pedal integrated tow bar and larger 17- inch alloy wheels. The new Octavia is also available in specifications from SE to the more powerful vRS, ensuring there is something for all SME customers.

Škoda, alongside Volkswagen Financial Services, launched SME Direct; a comprehensive fleet package that provides an efficient method for managing vehicle running costs, increasing efficiency and proactively reducing vehicle downtime.

The offer is exclusively available to small businesses running less than 20 cars on their fleet.

Cost saving benefits for customers include:

  • Free access to MyFleetPro web portal to manage entire fleet: Škoda Financial Services will help customers upload their data and show them how to use it, so it is stored in one place
  • A 24-hour, UK based telephone concierge: Helping drivers with accidents, breakdowns, service bookings, glass and tyre repair
  • No-quibble tyre replacement: Every tyre is replaced at no additional cost when needed (apart from malicious damage or vandalism)
  • Each customer will have their own dedicated account manager: They will work alongside companies to keep customers’ fleets running efficiently
  • Customers can pool their mileage: If some vehicles are over-mileage, but they haven’t exceeded the mileage on others, Škoda will balance it out to help avoid charges
  • £100 cover for end-of-contract damage costs: To help free up time from vetting invoices

To help fleets with service, maintenance and repair (SMR) of their vehicle, Škoda operates a Fleet Service Level Agreement across its retail network. The Service Level Agreement ensures defined lead times for service and maintenance work by prioritising customers with a maximum lead time of three working days if a courtesy car is not required.

Škoda will also follow-up directly with the Fleet Manager or driver within three working days of the work being completed in order to ensure complete satisfaction.

The Fleet Service Level agreement includes a fixed price service package for SME customers through the dealer network. All Škoda business customers have access to an online tool to check values from an SMR perspective.

This tool provides a range of useful data and features, including the ability to determine the cost of running a particular model over a period of time, understanding the number of services predicted, when new tyres would be required and more so that customers have full transparency over what to expect.

Further support is available through Škoda Business Centres, which aim to provide a specialist service to a range of fleet customers, from small businesses to major corporate organisations.

Customers can visit their local centre where dedicated staff and Business Development Managers are on hand to deliver the necessary support, providing guidance and advice on which vehicles would be appropriate for the customers’ needs, including the different funding options available through Volkswagen Financial Services. As well as advice, the business centre tres have access to a fleet of over 100 demonstrator cars which can be loaned out to perspective customers.

What do we think?

Certainly, the business offering from Škoda is impressive, but how about the car? We have just driven the Octavia Estate vRS 2.0 TDI 200PS 4×4 DSG and don’t be fooled by thi=ose estate car looks – this is a pretty cool machine.

octaviavrsmk4interiorThe estate us the latest version of the vRS available in the UK The diesel vRS start at £32,260 for the saloon and £33,530 for the estate. The 4×4 version adds around £500.

What you get is a reasonably sporty performance. The 2.0-litre 197bhp diesel-engine gives off an impressive growl and there’s tons of torque available when it comes to overtaking. On top of this there’s all the practicality and space of an estate car.

What’s most impressive is that the Octavia Estate, in vRS form, is a very satisfying car to drive, be it running to the shops of or the tip, taking the dog out, delivering kids to school, cruising on the motorway or being a mild hooligan on the windy country roads.

The DSG transmission does have a sport mode, but you don’t really need it, and Škoda has done its best to make the car look the part with sporty front and rear bumpers, chrome exhaust tips and a blacked-out grille and privacy windows.

Plenty of room inside for people and cargo and the vRS comes with a large touch screen – although maybe a little too large in terms of reaching across for the menu buttons, although there is an onboard assistant who will manage a number of tasks.

Škoda Octavia Estate vRS 2.0 TDI 200PS 4×4 DSG

  • Engine 2.0 TDI 200PS
  • Transmission Seven-speed DSG 4×4
  • WLTP combined mpg: 50.4 – 49.6mpg
  • CO2: 147 – 151g/km
  • Max speed: 149mph
  • 0–62 mph: 7.1 secs
  • Recommended OTR: £37,970
  • Options fitted
  • Temporary Space Saver Spare Wheel £195
  • Rear-view parking camera with rear LED lights
  • Integrated tow bar with adapter £1,025
  • Winter pack – heated front seats £510
  • Panoramic sunroof £1,235

TOTAL inc. VAT £40,935

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