- Fun,engaging drive
- Competitively priced
- Well equipped
- Ride isn’t too comfortable
- All-round visibility is a bit limiting
The Skoda Octavia is the all-round saloon that’s now been around for over twenty years since it got reintroduced to the line up in 1996 so it's now well into its third generation with a facelift coming only last year…but when you add the letters vRS to it, it becomes more than just a dependable car, it becomes a car with serious attitude. We had one for a week to see just how sporty it really is.
On The Road
Now the Octavia vRS comes with two engines, a 2.0 TDI diesel with 184PS and the car we had on test that came with a 2.0 TSI petrol and a very healthy 230PS on tap, which has been increased by 10PS over the previous version. The four-cylinder has 350Nm of torque and it’s this which propels it from 0-62mph in just 6.8 seconds with a top speed of 155mph, using a six-speed DSG automatic transmission. Power is instantaneous, more so if you press the tempting vRS button located in the cabin.
Switching it into eco mode will tame the beast, so to speak, and with Skoda predicting it can achieve 42.8mpg, on a 120 mile roadtrip to Wales we managed to get it to 39.8mpg which is a very decent figure. Turn on the sport mode and it will naturally be less economical.
It emits 149g/km of CO2 so will cost £200 for the first year, then £140 annually after that.
So have Skoda engineered an exciting hot hatch? What they’ve done is offer it up as a five-door and also an estate, who says that estate owners shouldn’t have fun?
Looking at it, it still is quite a large car and initial impressions were, was it going to be a ‘chuck it into a corner’ fun model?
Well our reservations were unfounded as despite its larger dimensions it is a very driver focussed car, it handles really well and there is plenty of grip if you do push it on the twisty stuff. In fact…Does it go?!
The ride is definitely sporty as it’s so firm and at times comfort is compromised on any slightly rough roads which isn’t ideal on longer journeys.
The Skoda Octavia isn’t the flashiest of cars, even in vRS form and this edition comes with vRS bumpers, spoiler and a sporty-looking black grille.
The four-cylinder in sport mode provides a very welcoming throaty, engine noise as you bounce off the redline, or close to it, but motorway journeys can have the addition of quite a bit of road noise into the cabin.
The front sports seats are quite firm but well supportive and rear passengers also benefit too from the upholstered seats with the vRS logos.
In The Car
What we really liked about the Octavia vRS was how smart the cabin was, it puts a lot of premium manufacturers to shame as it’s incredibly stylish.
When you open the door you’re faced with black padded sports seats with vRS badges emblazoned on them with sporty red stitching. This also features on the vRS logo’d 3-spoke sporty steering wheel, and the carbon fibre-esque door inlays and stainless steel pedals add to the overall sportiness.
It comes with a smart 8-inch touchscreen which is easy to use and this features navigation, media, phone connectivity and those all important car settings. One thing we really liked was the interior ambient lighting which can be changed to any colour of the rainbow, it’s personalisation options like this which give it a uniqueness.
One thing we liked on the navigation was that when we hit the dreaded red section of the fuel gauge it immediately navigated us to the nearest fuel station on our route.
Skoda models come with a raft of standard equipment and this version has dual-zone air conditioning, full LED headlights, height adjustable driver and passenger seats with lumbar, Wi-Fi hotspot and our test car came with a Canton sound system at £500 and a wireless phone charger with Bluetooth and Wifi at £300.
The bonus of the Octavia is that not only does it have high levels of performance but it is very practical, the boot holds a huge 590 litres and with rear seats folded increases to 1,580 litres.
There is plenty of storage around the cabin with the front armrest also doubling up as a cool compartment, there’s a large, illuminated glovebox and on our test car under the centre stack was a wireless charger. There are two cupholders but ironically they’re a bit on the small size for takeaway coffee cups.
The black interior does make the cabin feel snug and we reckon three adults in the rear would be a bit of squeeze as the middle seat is more of an armrest and it wouldn’t be too comfortable either.
So what’s the price for such a sporty Octavia? It starts from £25,685, with our test car coming in at just £27,625.
New Skoda models come with a two year unlimited mileage warranty, a third year of up to 60,000 miles, which can also be extended up to five years/100,000 miles, and a twelve year body protection warranty.
While it might not be the most obvious option when looking at sporty models, think Golf GTI, it offers buyers plenty of performance with practicality and is not as costly as some of the popular hot hatches. We’d definitely put our money down on one.
Skoda’s reliability is really good, the third generation Superb and first generation Yeti took the top two spots in the Auto Express Driver Power Survey in 2017 with the third version of the Octavia making it into the top 25. It’s quite the accolade when the manufacturer has managed to knock the dominating Lexus and Toyota off the top spots in reliability, so there shouldn’t be any problems with this model.
It’s the interior finishes and high quality materials which owners really like across the Skoda model range, the Octavia vRS is finished to a very high standard, it’s understated and some might find it a bit plain but we love the simpleness of it all.
The Skoda Octavia took the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP tests when it last got tested in 2013, with 93% for adult occupant protection and 86% for a child.
Like with all Skodas there is plenty of safety equipment and driver aids on the Octavia vRS including lane assist, electronic stability control, a driver fatigue sensor, cruise control, front and side airbags and an option is crew protection assistant and rear side airbags, which sensing an impact will close all windows and sunroof to stop objects entering the car and injuring passengers and tighten seatbelts too - very clever.