The Skoda Octavia vRS blends the standard Octavia’s practical, well-built interior with a powerful engine and sportier driving characteristics. That said, other hot hatches are more exciting
The Skoda Octavia vRS is a brilliant option if you want a well-built, very practical family car – or even more spacious estate – that’s pretty quick, but not horrendously expensive to run.
The vRS was released in 2013 and updated in 2017 with a new, somewhat startled-looking twin-headlight design, an upgraded eight-inch infotainment screen, LED headlights and a 10hp power boost.
That increase means it now has 230hp, which is enough to get the Octavia vRS from 0-62mph in just 6.7 seconds, although fuel economy of more than 40mpg is easily achievable at a cruise. Go for an overtake at any legal speed, though, and the vRS’ power lets you speed past slower traffic quickly and safely.
That’s even more true of the new vRS 245 model that, you guessed it, has 245hp along with a limited-slip differential that makes the Octavia grippier in corners.
Unsurprisingly, it’s the one to have if you’re partial to driving down a country road at speed but even the basic model feels agile in bends, if not quite as pinned to the road as the likes of the Ford Focus ST. That said, the Skoda is a much more comfortable cruiser than the Ford when you’re just driving normally.
It’s also a significantly more practical family car than the Focus will ever be. Its large body means it has lots of rear legroom and a massive 590-litre boot. The five-star Euro NCAP rating for safety only cements the feeling that the Skoda was built firmly with the family in mind.
Perhaps not ‘showy’ families though, because the Skoda’s interior lacks the glitzy touches you get in a Golf GTI. All you get is a sprinkling of vRS badges and a pair of sports seats that don’t really shout that this is the fastest model in the range.
The predictable handling won't be very entertaining for some drivers but others will love how easy the Octavia vRS is to drive fast
What you can’t grumble about is how well built the Skoda feels. There are no squeaks or rattles to worry about, plastic quality is mostly very good, interior trim pieces have consistent gaps that give a feeling of precision and the well-thought-out layout makes the dashboard’s controls easy to operate.
The new eight-inch sat-nav system is equally as intuitive. ‘Hot’ keys let you skip between sub menus and the large volume knob is easy to feel for as you drive down the road. On top of that, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Skoda’s SmartLink+ are fitted as standard, so you can use the apps on your compatible smartphone via the car’s big screen.
This ease of use seems to run through the Skoda – it’s fast, but its performance doesn’t come at the expense of everyday practicality or comfort. For more in-depth info on the Skoda Octavia vRS, read the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. And, if you want to see what kind of deals are available on the Skoda Octavia vRS, click through to the deals page.