Skoda Octavia vRS

The Skoda Octavia vRS third generation is famous among car buyers and lovers due to its mix of big engines, hatchback (or estate) body, Golf GTI running gear and a reasonable price tag. Last summer, the automaker launched the latest vRS, inspired by the new Octavia and equipped with chunky bumpers, a sports suspension and the engine from the Golf GTI.

The new Skoda Octavia vRS shares the 15mm longer wheelbase of its MQB range siblings, an architecture that was introduced recently in order to save weight and cost on front-engined, front-wheel-drive vehicles. This means that the car shares the same engine, electronics and chassis as the Seat Leon, VW Golf and Audi A3. However, the Skoda Octavia vRS is longer due to the platform’s flexibility, gaining 11cm in the wheelbase. As a result, there is pliantly leg room and 610 litres luggage capacity for the estate and for the hatchback 590 litres.

The price starts at £23,000 for the 217bhp 2.0-litre engine paired with a manual six-speed gearbox. A diesel version is offered, reducing a few mph in top speed compared to the petrol (144mph vs. 154mph) and gaining in fuel efficiency (61.4mpg vs 45.6mpg Combined cycle). For the hatch, prices start at £22,990 and for the estate prices carry a £800 premium. Standard options include rear parking sensors, DAB tuner, 18-inch alloys and dual-zone air-con.

Petrol models come with a manual gearbox and are the fasted Octavias ever produced, reaching 62 mph in only 6.8 seconds. Moreover, CO2 emissions drop 20 per cent to 142g/km. The Octavia vRS is fitted with a sound generator which improves the sound of the engine. When it comes to handling, the petrol-powered Skoda Octavia vRS is more responsive than the diesel, feeling lighter and more agile through speed corners. However, it’s not as nimble as the Golf GTI because of its weight.

The Skoda Octavia vRS sits 12 mm lower on the springs than the standard Octavia and features different dampers. This sportier arrangement provides a firm ride, but smooth enough to make everyday bumps barely noticeable. The optional 19-inch alloys have a little too much tyre noise at high speeds. Even with its muscular bodykit, bootlid spoiler and red strip across its rear bumper, the vRS still has something elegant about it.

On the inside, the Octavia vRS is roomy and appealing, with a great set of sports seats, vRS steering wheel and aluminum pedals. There are many clever features, including the one-touch seat-folding mechanism on the estate, the foldaway hooks in the boot and the double-sided boot mat, one side acting like a dirt- and water-repellent and the other as a regular carpet. Other standard equipment includes lane assist, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors, a touchscreen, hill hold and DAB radio.

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