The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.9
The Skoda Octavia vRS Estate offers GTi-rivalling power combined with load-lugging practicality and sporty good looks.
Reasons to buy
- Great looks
- Impressive practicality
- Sporty interior
At a glance
- How good does it look? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's the interior like? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How practical is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- Ride and Handling ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How powerful is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- Running Costs ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How reliable is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How safe is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much equipment do I get? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- Why buy? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
How good does it look?
The Skoda Octavia vRS estate shouldn’t be a pretty car, but it is. Its large grille and over-sized headlights betray its VW family roots, while the rear has more than a hint of
Audi A4 about it. The vRS version also benefits from a deep front bumper, gorgeous alloys hiding sporty red brake calipers and a big pair of exhaust pipes poking from under the rear bumper. Roof rails are one of those additions which used to have style-conscious buyers running a mile, but sporty estates like the vRS appeal to cool thirtysomethings who’ll love its load-lugging abilities.
What's the interior like?
Like the exterior, the cabin of the Skoda Octavia vRS estate uses a careful amount of sporty bits to get the point across without looking tacky. A silver panel in the centre console lifts the appearance of the Octavia’s otherwise grey dash. The steering wheel proudly displays the vRS logo, as do the backs of the exceptionally supportive half-leather seats. Anyone familiar with the controls in a VW Group car will feel right at home, with a multi-function display providing information on fuel consumption and various warnings, an excellent optional satnav system and simple and clear dials for the climate control.
How practical is it?
A massive 580-litre boot (rising to 1,620 litres with the seats folded) combines with a low lip to make loading big and bulky objects a cinch. A huge tonneau cover stretches across the top to stop beady eyes seeing what’s in the boot. The only fly in the ointment is a recessed boot floor, meaning luggage has to be lifted over the lip. Up front there’s bags of storage areas, including a flip-down compartment in the roof for a pair of sunglasses and a cavernous glovebox.
Ride and Handling
The Octavia is based on the
Volkswagen Golf, so it comes as no surprise to learn it’s a competent performer, though it’s not as sharp around the bends as the Golf GTi. It’s important to remember it’s an estate and carries a bit more weight than VW’s hot hatch. The suspension has been lowered by 15mm, and carries shock absorbers developed specifically for this model. The vRS’s 17 inch alloys look smart, and there’s plenty of grip. It’s an impressive performer at speed, and doesn’t leave its occupants shaken like some other performance cars in its class.
How powerful is it?
The diesel version we tested was exceptional through all of its six gears. Although at 8.6 seconds to 62mph it gives away a second to the petrol version, in the real world, the diesel’s extra pulling power is likely to give it the edge. Top speed is 139mph, just 8mph less than the more powerful petrol. The 170bhp, 2-litre diesel is a very refined unit, and proved to be a relaxing powerplant on a long journey.
The vRS is substantially cheaper than a Golf GTi. All Octavia vRS-badged cars enjoy strong residuals, too. Our test car returned around 40mpg in a variety of runs, which is down on the claimed 48.7mpg average. The vRS is unusual in that servicing can either be scheduled at fixed intervals or variable depending on how the car is driven, with the maximum being 18,000 miles or two years. Group 14 insurance is average for this type of car, while emissions put it Band D for road tax.
How reliable is it?
Skodas tend to score admirably in the reliability ratings, and all the Octavias we’ve driven feel solid and very well built. The engines and transmissions are pulled from elsewhere in the VW Group and have few criticisms levelled at them.
How safe is it?
The Octavia range was developed with the vRS in mind, so it can easily handle all the extra power and handling prowess. It features electronic brakeforce distribution, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability programme and a tyre pressure monitoring system as standard. Inside there’s front and front side airbags and optional curtain airbags. All this adds up to a four-star Euro NCAP crash test score.
How much equipment do I get?
The vRS has plenty of kit, although buyers looking for sat-nav will have to fork out extra. Our test car featured the sporty vRS-branded seats, a multi-function trip computer, electric windows and mirrors, an air-conditioned glovebox, climate control, remote central locking and extra sporty bits on the inside and outside.
The Skoda Octavia vRS estate is a real wolf in sheep’s clothing. It looks great, drives superbly and won’t cost the earth to run. It’s a brilliant alternative to the ‘prestige badge’ estates at an affordable price.