2021 Skoda Octavia vRS: 197bhp diesel engine detailed

Powerful Skoda Octavia vRS gets sporty looks and a vRS iv plug-in hybrid option for the first time

  • Four-wheel drive introduced with diesel model
  • vRS iV plug-in hybrid model starts from £35,020
  • Available in hatchback and estate bodystyles

The new diesel model of the Skoda Octavia vRS is now on sale, with prices starting from £32,260. It has joined the petrol and plug-in hybrid variants and, like the hybrid, it’s only available with an automatic gearbox. Diesel-engined hot hatchbacks are less popular than petrol equivalents but the diesel vRS faces up against the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen Golf GTD.

The conventional petrol version of the new Octavia vRS starts from £32,285 and rivals hot hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Hyundai i30 N - but is more practical than any of its competitors.

2021 Skoda Octavia vRS TDI

Performance is similar to the Golf GTD, as you’d expect given the two cars share an engine. In the vRS, the 197bhp 2.0-litre TDI engine manages 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds, or 6.8 seconds if you choose the 4x4 version. Those figures will be slightly higher for the estate model but all diesel vRS’ are quicker than the previous one. The estate version starts at £33,530, and adding four-wheel-drive to each costs almost £1,500.

There’s a slight fuel economy penalty if you choose the 4x4 vRS: 51.3mpg versus 56.9mpg for two-wheel-drive cars, but these are still very decent figures given the performance on offer. The diesel models are nearly as quick as the 242bhp petrol engine, and post much better efficiency figures than the petrol’s 40mpg.

2020 Skoda Octavia vRS iV plug-in hybrid engine

The vRS iV produces 242bhp from its PHEV powertrain, which consists of a 1.4-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, mated to a six-speed DSG automatic gearbox. It’ll hit 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 140mph.

Skoda claims a CO2 output of just 26-36g/km for the hatchback, and 27-36g/km for the estate version, meaning it’ll be Congestion Charge-exempt and have a low tax rating for company-car drivers. You’ll be able to travel for up to 39 miles using electric power alone.

In hatchback form, the vRS iV is capable of 250mpg under the WLTP cycle, with the estate managing slightly less because of its extra weight. The car’s 13kWh battery can be fully charged via a 3.6kW wallbox charger in 3.5 hours, with charging from a domestic plug socket taking five hours.

Prices and specs

Pricing for the Octavia vRS iV PHEV starts from £35,020 for the hatchback, increasing to £36,220 for the estate model.

The latest Octavia vRS might be a little more expensive than we were expecting, but it’s the top-of-the-range model and does come with an impressive list of kit. As standard, buyers get adaptive cruise control, a 10-inch touchscreen with sat nav, heated front seats, matrix LED headlights, keyless entry and start, parking sensors all-round and a powered tailgate.

Styling

As the sportiest model in the line-up, the vRS gets plenty of black detailing and a more aggressive look. Marking it out from the standard Octavia are vRS-specific bumpers front and rear, exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels, red brake calipers and a host of black trim pieces. The grille, air intakes, diffuser, window frames, tailgate lettering and the spoiler are all black.

Interior

It’s a similar story inside. The front seats highlight the sporty nature of the car, with extra bolster support to keep you in place in fast corners. They’re trimmed in black fabric with a diamond stitching pattern with integrated headrests. Other sporty touches include a flat-bottom steering wheel, plenty of red stitching, two-colour pedals, vRS door plates and red ambient interior lighting.

Following on from the Octavia vRS, we expect that the Skoda Scala will get a vRS model, also with a hybrid powertrain. This could either be a plug-in hybrid or a 48V mild-hybrid, as the system for the latter is filtering through the VW Group - it allows the engine to switch off when your foot isn’t on the accelerator.

The Octavia range will also welcome a 201bhp plug-in hybrid model, available in SE and SE L trim levels. It offers the same electric range and low CO2 emissions figure, but will be slightly slower from 0-62mph and less expensive than vRS models. Two ‘eTEC’ mild-hybrid engines will also be available on non-vRS models.

Read our review of the outgoing Skoda Octavia vRS for more information, or see where the new estate version ranks on our list of the best fast estates to buy.

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