Skoda Octavia vRS hatchback
Price: £23,310 - £24,970
- Just as practical as standard car
- Impressive performance
- Safe and reliable
- Less economical than rivals
- Not as desirable as VW Golf GTI
- Noisy 19-inch wheels
“An incredible blend of performance and practicality – the Skoda Octavia vRS is a fast car you can use every day.”
The Skoda Octavia vRS is a performance model of the Octavia hatchback, offering a fast and fun driving experience in a very practical package. It's based on many of the same parts as the Volkswagen Golf GTI and upcoming SEAT Leon Cupra, but has much more room inside and is competitively priced, too. Like with its rivals from VW and SEAT it is available with either a 2.0-litre petrol engine or a 2.0-litre diesel engine for more cost-concerned buyers looking for a more exciting daily drive without compromising running costs. The vRS is available as an estate, too, which makes it even more practical. Few cars mix performance and interior space so well, making the Octavia vRS is a brilliant all-rounder.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Not quite as economical as the VW Golf GTI
The Octavia vRS is a bit heavier than the SEAT Leon Cupra and VW Golf GTI, so although it uses many of the same parts it is not as economical as either of those cars. The diesel hatchback version using a 2.0-litre TDI engine emits 119g/km CO2, while the least efficient 2.0-litre TSI petrol version emits 149g/km in the estate model. Economy is still excellent considering the performance, with the diesel version getting 61.4mpg and the petrol model returning 45.6mpg. Residual values on the used car market should be quite strong, so you won’t lose too much in depreciation, and insurance costs should be reasonable too.
Interior & comfort
Optional 19-inch alloy wheels make the ride quite uncomfortable
You can get the vRS with optional 19-inch alloy wheels, but we advise against it as they make the ride a bit firm and jolty over bumps, and transmit a boomy noise into the cabin at around 40mph. Tyre noise at 70 mph (with these wheels) is also quite loud. The sports seats are comfy, but you can’t get them quite low enough if you want a properly sporty driving position. The interior is a little dull, however, and the Golf GTI feels classier – though if you are transporting people in the rear seats on longer journeys then the Octavia vRS will be much more comfortable for them.
Practicality & boot space
The vRS doesn’t compromise practicality and is just as spacious as the standard car
The Octavia is a very practical performance car, especially compared to its rivals the Golf GTI and SEAT Leon Cupra. While those cars have 380 litres of boot space, the Octavia has a huge 590-litre boot as well as plenty of space for rear seat passengers and various interior storage cubbies. Like the standard car there are some handy features like a reversible boot floor for transporting dogs and muddy boots and a parallel parking system that automatically turns the wheel to help get in and out of tight bays. There's also an estate version available with even more space – 610 litres in the boot and more rear legroom too.
Reliability & safety
Safe and reliable, just like the standard Octavia
Although the Octavia vRS is too new to be included on the 2013 Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction survey results, Skoda has consistently appeared close to the top in the manufacturer rankings thanks in part to its parent company Volkswagen improving the brand all the time. The standard Octavia gets a five-star crash rating from Euro NCAP and so does this vRS model, so it's very safe, too. It is packed full of electronic safety equipment as well as a set of strong brakes and plenty of grip. Overall, the Octavia vRS should be a dependable entry into the performance car market.
Engines, drive & performance
Both the petrol and diesel engines are powerful and grip is very good
The petrol and diesel engines available for the Octavia vRS are the same as those in the Golf GTI and GTD respectively, but neither are as fast or economical thanks to the fact the Octavia is slightly heavier. However both are really fast and powerful, particularly the 217bhp petrol engine. The petrol goes from 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds, and has a top speed of 154mph, while the diesel version will go from 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds and has a top speed of 141mph. Both are available with a six-speed manual or VW's DSG automatic gearbox, but as the auto adds weight we don’t recommend it for most buyers. The grip is very good, and there's a clever braking system that puts more force on the inside wheels in a bend to improve the cornering ability.
Price, value for money & options
Cheaper and bigger than its rivals, with plenty of bang for your buck
The vRS is quite a bit cheaper than a Golf GTI, is well equipped as standard and offers loads of space for the money. It's available as a hatchback or estate, and comes with air-conditioning, alloy wheels, Bluetooth and digital radio as standard. There's loads of safety equipment too, with nine airbags, city braking assist and a system that helps you stay in your lane on the motorway. However, it's heavier than the Golf and Leon, so uses more fuel and emits more CO2 – though insurance prices could be a bit lower. There are very few cars that manage this space versus performance mix so well, making the vRS a great all-rounder for not much money.
What the others say
"If you need to mix performance and practicality, the Skoda Octavia vRS is a very sensible place to spend your money."
"The vRS is the most practical hot hatch you can buy. As long as you're happy with easy-going and invigorating B-road manners and don't mind being shaken around a bit on high-speed bumpy roads, the petrol-powered Skoda Octavia vRS is hard to fault."
Last updated: 27 Nov 2013