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plug-in hybrid form too. Plug-in versions are only available at the higher end of the range but mild hybrid is available from the lead-in models. My choice was the estate, very practical unlike so


many stylised estates, in SE L First Edition form. Octavia estates start from a reasonable £22,215, which is a lot of car and kit for your money, but my SE L First edition sits near the top end of the range at £29,270 with a 150 PS 2.0 litre diesel under the bonnet. Standard fare is impressive with such things as adaptive cruise control, dual zone climate, navigation, powered and heated door mirrors, heated front seats, LED lighting, auto lights and wipers, privacy glass, keyless entry and start and a 10” touch screen, plus a very good array of safety kit. As ever there is a plethora of options so you can easily adapt the car to your own personal specification, finance permitting of course!


SMOOTH AND


VERY REFINED THE OCTAVIA IS A NICE PLACE TO BE


Diesels are far from flavour of the road at the moment but for those with higher mileage lives they can make good sense as they offer higher mpg and generally better low down engine power. The DSG gearbox is a delight allowing a more relaxed drive when it does everything or more driver involvement, via steering wheel paddles, if that is your thing. Smooth and very refined the Octavia is a nice place to be with good adjustment of the seating and not too much over digitalisation of the controls. That said ‘bring back buttons’ would still be my mantra. My test model had the optional


panoramic sunroof, which at £1,175, is not


cheap but made the world of difference to the already spacious interior. Quality as ever with VAG is excellent with a solid and upmarket, in an understated non- shouty way, feel that few other manufacturers seem to achieve.


HYUNDAI KONA HYBRID MAKING ECO SENSE


Motoring tastes have changed and so many buyers now want versatile transport that caters for the commute, the school run and weekend activities. If you don’t fall for the charms of a larger SUV then crossovers such as Hyundai’s Kona make perfect sense. The Kona looks modern, stylish and rather smart; during my time with the car it drew many admiring comments and glances. With its pronounced arches, slim, elongated headlamps and dominant grille it’s a thoroughly contemporary look. Starting prices for the range begin at £21,265 with


mild hybrid technology but the full-fat hybrids start from £23,995, there’s an all-electric range too. My choice was the full fat hybrid powered by a 1.6-litre 4 cylinder petrol engine aided by an electric motor in the conventional hybrid mode. It’s a combination that aims to reduce fuel consumption and emissions while providing eco benefits but without the range compromise of many pure EVs. The Kona is a class act and its


THE KONA IS A CLASS ACT


interior generally has a nice quality feel throughout and is well specified. My mid-range Premium version at £26,755 comes with powered and heated seats, heated steering wheel, head-up display, adaptive cruise control, privacy glass, climate, powered and heated door mirrors, auto lights and wipers, satellite navigation along with a decent sound system with Android Auto and Apple’s Car Play. On the road the hybrid combination works well with


the 6-speed dual clutch auto gearbox and progress is smooth and refined. A slightly higher seating position and decent seat and steering adjustment means that most people should find a comfortable driving position. Add in all that kit, which comes as standard, and the Kona is a nice place to be whether for the commute, school run or weekend jaunts. There’s good space in both the front


and rear along with a sensibly sized boot despite those hybrid batteries, which in some cars can lead to restricted space. It’s an easy drive thanks to that auto gearbox, smart cruise control and nicely weighted


steering. The ride comfort is good but unless you choose the new Kona N this isn’t a thrash it round the country lanes kind of car. Hyundai is an increasingly stylish range even with their more ordinary cars that buyers of mere transport would look to buy. The company has upped the game as far as hybrid and electric cars are concerned and the Kona is a fine example.


All quoted prices were correct at time of going to press


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