Road Tests

Handbook: Skoda Octavia vRS

Time 9 years ago

The Octavia vRS is a cult car for many owners and a cop car favourite. But can it still impress? James Batchelor reports.

WHAT IS IT?

The Octavia was the first Skoda to wear the now-familiar vRS badge, and is now known as the thinking man’s alternative to the VW Golf GTI. In estate form, it’s the most practical car in its class – and one of the cheapest.

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WHAT’S UNDER THE BONNET?

There are just two engines available – Volkswagen’s 197bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol and 168bhp 2.0-litre turbo diesel, and both are available in either six-speed manual or DSG variants.

WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE?

This being the sportiest Octavia available, it’s packed full of kit. Inside, there’s dual-zone climate control, CD changer, Bluetooth and vRS sports seats, while on the outside the vRS gets a sports bodykit, 18-inch alloys, fog lamps, lowered suspension, LED day-running lights and projector headlamps.

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WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?

This is a good and fun car to drive. Due to its Golf origins, the Octavia vRS is direct and agile to steer but its ride is not compromised. Our test car was the diesel variant, which proved to be torquey, refined and impressively economical. Interior and boot space were exemplary – however, we did not like the six-speed manual gearbox. It was a little too notchy and spoilt what was otherwise an impressive package.

WHAT DO WE THINK OF IT?

The Octavia vRS was one of the first Skodas to really change perceptions of the Czech marque. With good looks, impressive performance, and value-for-money qualities, the Octavia vRS is one of the most potent Skodas around.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer.

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