We recently brought you a road test of the newly launched Skoda Octavia estate, and were impressed with its refinement, practicality and the effortless way it would slip into an owner’s life and provide years of faithful service.
As worthy as we found the new Octavia, it’s fair to say that with its range of clean and fuel efficient engines, it is a tad lacking in driver appeal. Skoda has sought to remedy this, with the unveiling of a range-topping performance edition, badged simply, vRS.
Thanks to being part of the Volkswagen conglomerate, Skoda has been able to utilise the engines from both the Golf GTI and the more frugal, diesel powered Golf GTD performance hatchbacks, to endow the vRS with some serious poke.
In its 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol guise, the Octavia vRS develops 217bhp, which is enough to get it from 0-62mph in a credible 6.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 154mph.
Predictably the 2.0-litre diesel option is a tad slower, but is still a viable alternative for those looking for both performance and economy. It manages to get this large hatchback to 62mph in 8.1 seconds and will stop accelerating at 144mph.
Skoda claims the new Octavia vRS is an impressive 19 per cent more fuel efficient than the outgoing model. This is largely down to the fitment of fuel saving technology such as engine start-stop and brake energy regeneration, which harvests energy wasted under braking to recharge the battery. Also aiding frugality is the availability of a six-speed DSG automatic gearbox, which can be optionally specified over the standard six-speed manual.
In terms of styling, the Octavia vRS has traditionally attracted those who don’t want to stand out from the crowd – its popularity as unmarked police cars being testament to its subtlety. Thankfully, Skoda has continued this tradition with the new model, garnishing it with just enough tinsel to differentiate it from the rest of the range.
Externally, the car sits on lower suspension for a more athletic stance and wears a new front bumper, incorporating a honeycomb grille and new style fog lights.
At the rear there is a subtle boot spoiler and a new diffuser-inspired bumper which houses twin trapezoidal exhaust pipes. A selection of sporty alloy wheels and a smattering of vRS badges complete the makeover.
The interior keeps its family focussed practicality, with all the cubby holes neat touches for which the model-line is famed, but is lifted by the addition of a pair of front sports seats, a unique instrument panel, stainless steel door sills and a three-spoke steering wheel clad in perforated leather.
Available in both hatchback and cavernous estate guises, the Octavia vRS will arrive in UK showrooms in late July, and is expected to be priced around £22,500.
Don’t fancy buying new? You can browse our selection of used Octavias, including vRS editions, here.