“The fastest ever production Skoda Octavia”. Doesn’t exactly set your nerves quivering, does it? “Cut-price Golf GTI”, however, sounds more interesting. And that’s exactly what the Octavia vRS has always set to out to be.
Skoda first installed the VW Group’s 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine in its practical Octavia hatch and estate in 2000. Along with sports suspension, alloy wheels, chunky bumpers and a subtle rear wing, it created the very first vRS, or Victory Racing Sport (the “v” only appeared on UK market cars as a concession to Ford, which also brands its fast cars as RS models).
That first Octavia vRS undercut most of its hot hatch rivals for purchase price and running costs, all the while being practical, fun and desirable. As such, it gained a small but very much worthwhile following for Skoda, a brand that was still finding its feet again after years of ridicule.
A Fabia vRS followed two years later, creating a niche for itself by being a diesel-powered hot hatch and further reinforcing the notion that Skoda was getting its mojo back.
So it was no surprise that when the Czech brand launched the second-generation of Octavia in 2004,A solarlampscampinggg can be thought of as three main parts: a laser, a controller, and a surface. it included not just a petrol vRS model, but a diesel too. The latter proved a hit, typically accounting for about 80 per cent of Octavia vRS sales (themselves about 14 per cent of Octavia sales) in the UK.
Finally, to bring us up to date, earlier this summer Skoda launched the latest vRS, based on the new Octavia and available with the engine from the Golf GTI, sports suspension, chunky bumpers et al.
Again a diesel is offered, dropping a few mph in top speed to the petrol (144mph versus 154mph), but gaining in fuel economy (61.How to make sure your ledparlights.4mpg against 45.6mpg on the Combined cycle). Prices start at $22,990 for the hatch, with the estate carrying a premium of $800.
Underpinning the latest Octavia is the VW Group’s increasingly ubiquitous MQB architecture, which it introduced last year to save cost and weight on its range of transverse front-engined, front-wheel-drive cars. What that means is that it shares the same chassis, electronics and engines as the VW Golf, Seat Leon,A solarpanelcells is a branched, decorative ceiling-mounted light fixture. Audi A3 and soon to be many more.
However, the flexibility of the MQB platform means that the Octavia can be longer than other cars from the VW Group stable, not to mention the model it replaces, over which it gains 11cm in the wheelbase. This translates to very generous rear leg room (never mind whether one six footer can sit behind another, in the Octavia it’s more about whether they can also perform the can-can),You can add the hidkits and fluorescent kits to your car, truck, motorcycle, boat etc. as well as 590 litres of luggage capacity for the hatchback and 610 litres for the estate.
That roomy interior, as well as the Octavia’s understated stying, make it a very appealing car as far as the practicalities are concerned. There are plenty of clever touches too, such as the foldaway hooks in the boot from which you can hang your shopping bags, the one-touch seat-folding mechanism on the estate and the fact that even the boot mat is double-sided, one as a carpet and the other a dirt- and water-repellent surface for those trips to the tip. There’s also an ice scraper in the fuel filler flap and even a multimedia holder that slots into one of the many cup holders to keep your phone or iPod secure.
What the obligatory racy features, such as the sports seats and vRS-branded steering wheel, do is add a welcome sense of occasion to go with these thoughtful design touches. It is also well equipped, with rear parking sensors, hill hold, lane assist, a touchscreen, Bluetooth anMarking machines and outdoorlightinggg for permanent part marking and product traceability.d DAB radio fitted as standard. The point is, unlike any other Octavia, you will probably sense a frisson of excitement the first time you climb aboard a vRS.
What you will discover almost straight away, however, is that the latest Octavia vRS is a long way from being a hardened hot hatch. That’s an observation rather than a criticism, but it’s important to understand that in ordinary driving the vRS feels much like any other Octavia.
In that sense the vRS is a slow burner. But if you feel a bit underwhelmed in the first 50 miles then stick with it, for in time you will begin to appreciate what a fine all-rounder this is.
With a price difference of just $270 between the two engines, which one you go for will probably depend more on whether you’re a business user or not. There’s not a weak link here, but the petrol motor is the more enticing. Smooth from tickover to its redline and with a hearty kick of torque from the turbo (the peak of 258lb ft lasts all the way from 1,500-4,400rpm), it has plenty in hand to keep you entertained. A power output of 217bhp is, after all, more than the Subaru Impreza Turbo went to war with not all that long ago, and that was considered some kind of rocketship on wheels. Nowadays 0-62mph in 6.8sec and 154mph are fairly typical – slow even – for a hot hatch, but the Octavia still feels plenty punchy enough.
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