The lowered suspension set-up makes the car feel taut and superbly balanced;
At one time, driving an estate car was considered a little bit 'trade' but sensibly this is no longer the case and the extra 20-litres of carrying capacity over the Skoda Octavia hatch is a major selling point for outdoor types and family holidays. The cavernous, 625-litre boot has plenty of space for luggage and with the rear seats down the capacity increases up to 1,655-litres, which is enough to accommodate a bicycle or two.
When the rear seats are in use, the passengers will find them firm but comfortable and there is plenty of legroom for adults to sit comfortably. But the vRS is the sporty Skoda Octavia and while it offers all the practicality of the standard version, its delights are probably best sampled solo.
The lowered suspension set-up makes the car feel taut and superbly balanced; this is especially noticeable through fast bends. To a certain extant the same can be said of the rest of the range but in the Skoda Octavia vRS the dynamics are more intense thanks to modified shock absorbers and springs.
All Skoda Octavias come with speed-related, power steering with a pre-programmed tendency to follow the straight ahead, which is helpful in sidewinds and heavily cambered roads. The direct steering of the Skoda Octavia vRS also adds to the dynamic feel and despite the blatant air of performance, there is very little drama unless requested and even then the vRS is extremely tolerant so you have to ask loudly but it is never boring.
There are two engine options: a 2.0 T FSI 200bhp and a 2.0TDI CR with Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). The turbo-charged, petrol engine is, according to Skoda, the most powerful ever offered by the company. It is also the most flexible with 280Nm of torque available between a diesel-like 1,700rpm and 5,000rpm and, thanks to two balancing shafts that even out the vibration, it is super smooth.
Vital statistics for the Skoda Octavia vRS Estate are a 0-62mph time of 7.3 and a top speed of 149mph. The Hatch is marginally faster but both have the same fuel consumption figures of 27.7-, 47.9- and 37.7mpg for the urban extra-urban and combined respectively. The CO2 emissions for both are measured at 175g/km.
The common-rail direct injection diesel on the other hand takes 8.4 seconds to complete the 0-62mph sprint and has a top speed of 140mph. This is thanks to a power output of 170bhp at 4,200rpm and torque of 350Nm between 1,750 and 2,500rpm. So it is a little slower but it does have the advantage of better fuel consumption and lower emissions compared to the petrol-engined car. The figures to aim for are 36.7mpg for the urban, 61.4mpg for the extra-urban and the combined is 49.6mpg. The latter is where the emissions are measured and the result comes out as 150g/km CO2.
Prices for the Skoda Octavia vRS range from £19,005 for the petrol engined Hatch to £21,995 for the diesel Estate with 6-speed, DSG (twin clutch) automatic transmission. It used to be that the Direct Shift Gearbox (with Tiptronic) was only available mated to diesel engines but that is no longer the case and it can offer the best of both worlds to petrol engined cars, too.
Although not so overtly sporty as some of the Subarus and Mitsubishi's of this world, except when it is in Racing Blue, the Skoda Octavia vRS can appear to be something of a wolf in sheep's clothing and all the more entertaining for it.31 March 2010
Skoda Octavia Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Skoda Octavia vRS Estate 2.0 TDI CR|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||8.4 seconds|
|Top Speed||140 mph|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||61.4 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3 years / 60000 miles|
|Price (when tested on the 31/03/10)||£20,795|