PistonHeads.com Forum

RE: Octavia VRS

Monday 16th January 2006

Octavia VRS

Steve Bell samples the Q Car from Skoda


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Did you know that they have just celebrated their hundredth anniversary? Or how about producing their fastest production car to date? Yes, it’s the car of all jokes - Skoda.

Before you start making fun at this one, take a minute to hear the facts. Zero to sixty in 7.5 seconds (Still yawning?) It’ll push 149 mph too. Perked up a bit yet? Hear me out. Having just spent the day driving the new Skoda Octavia VRS, I’m actually mighty impressed.

Ok, it shares around 80% of VW parts, but, and here is the interesting part - to my knowledge the engineers were virtually left alone to fettle with the overall finish of the VRS. Which means the boys at the VW factory have kept their noses out.

I shouldn’t big it up, but as a brand, regardless of being associated with Volkswagen, they have done a fantastic job in getting the finished product absolutely right.

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Let’s start with the looks. Like any impulse buying, our brains are constantly absorbing things around us even if we don’t notice them, and I must say that although the styling is on the bland side, you’ll not forget it the next time you see one on the road. Unlike its predecessor, the new car doesn’t really shout from the rooftops about its appearance.

In a nutshell, with your new VRS, you’ll get a wider, deeper front chin spoiler, smart 17” VRS-only alloy wheels (the test car was fitted with factory optional 18”s) and a discrete boot spoiler. Like all so-called hot hatches now, twin chrome tailpipes are also fitted. As for the engine, Skoda have opted for the 2.0 litre 16 valve turbocharged engine found in an array of VW group cars including the new Golf GTI.

Value

What I liked so much about the previous VRS, was the fact that it was two cars rolled into one, but at a cracking price. The same can be said for the new model too. Standard spec with no options will set you back a mere £17,500 on the road. What has always baffled me is why does the VW group allow Skoda to price their products much lower than the rest of the company fleet?

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You still get exceptional Audi-like build quality, Seat value for money and Golf GTI performance. Look around, and you won’t be able to find an equivalent car for such, and I hate to say it, a bargain. Unlike the exterior, as you step inside you will find your seventeen grand being put to better use. There’s the VRS sports seats, a chunky three-spoke sports steering wheel nicked straight from the Golf, alloy look pedals and a splash of silver covering the dash and door inserts.

On the Road

The real gem is the way that it drives. Picking a good windy B-road is essential if you want to experience what the Octavia has to offer. The first kick between the legs is the power it has available. Although it only produces 197 bhp, the 2.0 litre engine when combined with a sweet close ratio six speeder, feels much faster than the figure quoted in the brochure.

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From a standstill it reels in 60 mph before you have a chance to use the rev range available in third gear. And, to help it catapult off the line, Skoda have tweaked with the throttle response, which means no matter how hard you jab the pedal, it refuses to kick back or jerk. Normally with so much torque available, the nanny state electronics interfere. But despite continually doing lots of standing starts, the front wheels were free to do what they are intended for and got on with gripping the tarmac. The six-speed gearbox, is again, a shared part with its brother and sisters, but it’s one of the finest boxes I have come across in a long time.

Twisties

Steering the VRS through the bends made me realize that you don’t have to fork out £40 or £50K to get such a buzz. The suspension didn’t budge or roll too far even though I was attacking a corners at speed. The chassis gives the feeling of raising its shoulders and hunching down ready for an attack, whilst the suspension tightens making the whole car feel extremely reassuring.

The seats fitted in the new car are not what I would say supportive, but there is enough padding to keep you upright, although I did feel that less of this would cure a high driving position, despite being able to adjust the height. The steering wheel is a little on the large side, but it is firm and comfortable enough give a reasonable feedback, but despite gripping like Velcro, it’s just missing out on being pin point direct.

Having spent the morning briskly driving on the Hook Road just outside of Basingstoke, it was time to slow things down and take in the other side of the VRS. Enjoy it’s handling and performance you will, but try to take a chill pill and enjoy its relaxed side too.

Alter-Ego

Now the VRS becomes car number two. You start to understand why the seats are the way they are. The suspension still remains firm, but somehow transforms and starts to pitch slightly. The chassis exhales and allows the car to roll gently through the bends. The engine becomes whisper quiet, whilst the gearbox is even more of a joy to use. The whole experience is as good as before, but on a slower scale.

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To sum it up the Octavia VRS is a cracking car. Well two cars in fact. Your £17,500 is going to go a long way. Don’t be put of just because it wears a Skoda badge. Remember, it’s backed up with a three-year warranty, the servicing charges are extremely reasonable and your getting Audi build quality at half the cost of the Four Rings. It will without doubt fulfil the most extreme petrol head. Oh, and did I mention that it reminds me of a Porsche 996..?

Author
Discussion

cupramax

Original Poster:

6,797 posts

177 months

Monday 16th January 2006
quotequote all
Interesting write up but its a 2.0 16v... the old 1.8 was 20v.

Witchfinder

4,774 posts

177 months

Monday 16th January 2006
quotequote all
the article said:
Look around, and you won’t be able to find an equivalent car for such, and I hate to say it, a bargain.

Focus ST?

Code Monkey

3,163 posts

182 months

Monday 16th January 2006
quotequote all
Witchfinder said:
the article said:
Look around, and you won’t be able to find an equivalent car for such, and I hate to say it, a bargain.

Focus ST?



Focus is a touch smaller though isnt it,

robinoz

129 posts

176 months

Monday 16th January 2006
quotequote all
The engine has 16 not 20 valves. I'd want bigger savings to consider a skoda frankly!

Witchfinder

4,774 posts

177 months

Monday 16th January 2006
quotequote all
Code Monkey said:
Focus is a touch smaller though isnt it,

Not by as much as you might think.
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Dickster

335 posts

170 months

Monday 16th January 2006
quotequote all
Witchfinder said:
Code Monkey said:
Focus is a touch smaller though isnt it,

Not by as much as you might think.


I disagree. The Focus is tiny compared to the vRS. There's no way I could get a full drum kit and 3 people (including me) in the Focus, like I do in my vRS.

My main problem (as mentioned in my other thred) is that the price is £2,000 more than the outgoing model, with less spec. Little things like 4 electric windows now cost £400 included in a 'pack' where they were standard on the old model.

I may have to wait for an ex-demo.....

Witchfinder

4,774 posts

177 months

Monday 16th January 2006
quotequote all
Dickster said:
I disagree. The Focus is tiny compared to the vRS. There's no way I could get a full drum kit and 3 people (including me) in the Focus, like I do in my vRS.

My main problem (as mentioned in my other thred) is that the price is £2,000 more than the outgoing model, with less spec. Little things like 4 electric windows now cost £400 included in a 'pack' where they were standard on the old model.

Well, my old vRS had a huge boot, but it was at the cost of rear legroom. I've not driven the new one yet, but as you said, the price is what's putting me off. I got my old vRS for £14,500 with metallic paint and parking sensors. The new one is priced against much more dangerous rivals. I personally think Skoda have shot themselves in the foot.

dxg999

4,909 posts

185 months

Monday 16th January 2006
quotequote all
Hmmm. The new VW Jetta is available with the same engine (the Golf GTI one) for only £1250 more. It seems that Skodas are becoming somewhat expensive if, for the cost of a satnav option, you could have the VW-badged version.

annodomini2

5,504 posts

176 months

Monday 16th January 2006
quotequote all
cupramax said:
Interesting write up but its a 2.0 16v... the old 1.8 was 20v.


Where do you get your information from as all the reports I have read so far say that its the 2.0L 20V FSI Turbo engine from the new golf gti?

monkeyhanger

9,157 posts

167 months

Monday 16th January 2006
quotequote all
I'm yet to be convinced by it to be honest. I've just bought my "old" RS back so i'll be keeping that a couple of years and waiting for the new car to hit the used market....i won't be getting stung for VAT on a new car again

I was told last summer on holiday in Czech that it would be priced at 17.5-18K. I commented that the standard spec would need to be good for that price, given that the old model originally only had metallic paint, cruise, sunroof and parking sensors as options. Everything else was standard fit.


Rear electric windows an option? On a £17500 car? I think not.

greg_D

5,686 posts

171 months

Monday 16th January 2006
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monkeyhanger said:

Rear electric windows an option? On a £17500 car? I think not.


you think that is bad!

Rear electric windows aren't standard on the new Audi RS4, and that is £50k + Options (which you will need plenty of going by that example)

Witchfinder

4,774 posts

177 months

Monday 16th January 2006
quotequote all
greg_D said:
Rear electric windows aren't standard on the new Audi RS4, and that is £50k + Options (which you will need plenty of going by that example)

Ah, but that's for saving weight

farmer

1,268 posts

199 months

Monday 16th January 2006
quotequote all
You are all missing the point somewhat . This like a Focus ST is a great car at a reasonable price , which by the way has bags of rear leg room unlike the Mk1 , .THE BADGE IS NOT RELEVENT to the deal , look at one with an open mind if you can !!!

richa

534 posts

209 months

Monday 16th January 2006
quotequote all
annodomini2 said:
cupramax said:
Interesting write up but its a 2.0 16v... the old 1.8 was 20v.


Where do you get your information from as all the reports I have read so far say that its the 2.0L 20V FSI Turbo engine from the new golf gti?


From the above write up I guess...

Above write up said:
Skoda have opted for the 2.0 litre 16 valve turbocharged engine found in an array of VW group cars including the new Golf GTI.

Witchfinder

4,774 posts

177 months

Monday 16th January 2006
quotequote all
farmer said:
You are all missing the point somewhat . This like a Focus ST is a great car at a reasonable price , which by the way has bags of rear leg room unlike the Mk1 , .THE BADGE IS NOT RELEVENT to the deal , look at one with an open mind if you can !!!

No, it's NOT a great deal, and that's the point. The old vRS was a spanking deal. I got mine for £14,500. This one at £17,500 is poor value because despite what you say, the badge is relevant. Furthermore, at best it's averagely equipped for the price, and it's certainly underpowered. I won't buy one of these new ones, I'll be looking at the better equipped rivals for the same money.

farmer

1,268 posts

199 months

Tuesday 17th January 2006
quotequote all
Witchfinder said:
farmer said:
You are all missing the point somewhat . This like a Focus ST is a great car at a reasonable price , which by the way has bags of rear leg room unlike the Mk1 , .THE BADGE IS NOT RELEVENT to the deal , look at one with an open mind if you can !!!

No, it's NOT a great deal, and that's the point. The old vRS was a spanking deal. I got mine for £14,500. This one at £17,500 is poor value because despite what you say, the badge is relevant. Furthermore, at best it's averagely equipped for the price, and it's certainly underpowered. I won't buy one of these new ones, I'll be looking at the better equipped rivals for the same money.



compared to cars of similar quality (not percieved quality) the value is great, plus I've never read an article on the Golf GTi that says it is under powered when you drive it , and anyway if you want more it wouldn't be dificult . Also of all this equipment that is "lacking" is there anything important? i.e it has Climate , CD changer, tints, power steering,and remote central locking/ alarm . Finaly if the badge is a problem to anybody they must know nothing about cars so who cares.

agent006

11,277 posts

189 months

Tuesday 17th January 2006
quotequote all
Witchfinder said:
I'll be looking at the better equipped rivals for the same money.


Such as? The only equivalent at the same price is the Focus, with similar spec, and is a smaller car.

cupramax

Original Poster:

6,797 posts

177 months

Tuesday 17th January 2006
quotequote all
annodomini2 said:


Where do you get your information from as all the reports I have read so far say that its the 2.0L 20V FSI Turbo engine from the new golf gti?


All the reports you've read are wrong. I happen to drive an A3 with the same engine hence I can categorically confirm it IS a 2.0 16v 20 valve heads were only used on the old 1.8T engine...

>> Edited by cupramax on Tuesday 17th January 09:14

Dickster

335 posts

170 months

Tuesday 17th January 2006
quotequote all
farmer said:

compared to cars of similar quality (not percieved quality) the value is great, plus I've never read an article on the Golf GTi that says it is under powered when you drive it , and anyway if you want more it wouldn't be dificult . Also of all this equipment that is "lacking" is there anything important? i.e it has Climate , CD changer, tints, power steering,and remote central locking/ alarm . Finaly if the badge is a problem to anybody they must know nothing about cars so who cares.


I think you're missing the point. The badge actually does matter in cases like this. It's like Aldi charging the same prices as Sainsbury, it then moves away from it's budget root.

To me, VW knows it's onto a winner with Skoda now with more and more people buying them. So, they do their usual German thing and strip it of its spec and charge you. They can get away with it on VW and Audi badged cars, just not on a 'value' brand.

Look at the new Honda Civic. A HUGE improvement over the old model but how much more does it cost?

S3Paulo

323 posts

154 months

Tuesday 17th January 2006
quotequote all
That Skoda badge appeared in my rear view mirror a week or so ago and I thought to myself, here's a bolshy grey head without his feking caravan... I put my foot down a bit to leave this pesky old, sandal wearing, friend of the earth behind and he came with me...I dropped a cog and gave it some more but he kept on coming... as we were running out of good road I pulled over and let him pass....VRS were the letters on the back....a skip with an engine in it..

Made my old TVR S3 look a bit tired...what is this world coming to....