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RE: Skoda Octavia vRS: The Antidote To The MPV

RE: Skoda Octavia vRS: The Antidote To The MPV

Monday 14th September 2009

Skoda Octavia vRS: The Antidote To The MPV

PH enters the world of the'performance dad'...



It was back in 2001 that Skoda decided its increasingly worthy but often yawn-inducing image needed a shake-up, and the Octavia vRS was the model with which its assault on the 'performance dad' market began. With an engine from an Audi TT with nigh-on 180bhp, and some lairy paint options, the car was Skoda's answer to the Volvo 850 T5.

When the second-generation Octavia vRS arrived in 2005, the game suddenly got a lot more sophisticated. With a punchier 197bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, a sharper chassis and a much nicer interior, there was suddenly a fun and sophisticated alternative to your average family saloon or wagon. 'Economy dads' could now also choose a punchy (albeit rattly) 168bhp turbodiesel.


Which brings us to this, the second Octavia vRS's mid-life facelift. The biggest change is that bold new grille and headlight combo (complete with dubious-but-fashionable LED daytime running lights), while inside there's a new leather-wrapped wheel and some timely upgrades to the interior trim, instrument and infotainment system (the 'Bolero' sound system is particularly good).

Other than a slightly lower ride height and 20kg shaved from the petrol vRS's kerb weight, little else has been changed on the Octavia. And that's a good thing, because the Octavia vRS is, dynamically speaking, rather an unsung hero.


Although the 2.0-litre turbocharged motor might be carried over from the previous-generation Golf GTi, it's still a strong powerplant. Its 197bhp and a healthy 206lb ft of torque that spreads from 1700rpm all the way to 5000rpm ensures that the Octavia is an effortlessly swift motorway cruiser with plenty of overtaking punch. Drive fairly sensibly and an MPG figure in the mid-30s should be easily achievable, too; unless you do stratospheric annual mileage there's simply no need for the diesel version.


But consummate mile-munching ability is only part of the key to the Octavia vRS wagon's appeal. The genius of this car is the way it so easily blends pace, entertainment and practicality. This is a car that will swallow a thoroughly respectable 1655 litres of luggage with the seats down, and yet will accelerate to 62mph in a hot hatch-esque 7.3secs on the way to a 147mph top speed. To put that into perspective, the Octavia has 270 litres more carrying capacity than a BMW 325i Touring, yet would give the Bee-em a serious run for its money in real-world driving. Oh, and the Octavia will give you almost a grand in change from £20k, while even a poverty-spec 325i wagon will be pushing £30k.


You won't feel particularly shortchanged when you take the vRS down your favourite b-road, either.

Granted, the Octavia vRS isn't exactly a Caterham R500, and VW group products rarely flow down the road with the aplomb of a well-sorted Ford, but this is as swift, surefooted and responsive a chassis as you'll find in any VW group product. The brakes are strong, the steering is accurate and judiciously weighted, and the mid-corner grip is superb. The only downsides are a mildly fidgety ride and a slightly obstructive gearchange, but those are really just niggles.


It's a sad but inevitable truth that we can't all drive around in exotic mid-engined, two-seat sports cars. Even those lucky enough to posess something as exciting as it is impractical will most likely have the need for a sensible alternative from time to time. That's the beauty of the Octavia vRS. While it effortlessly satisfies that need for practicality, it also manages to provide a respectable amount of driving fun. As an alternative to the automotive lobotomy that is the MPV, the Octavia vRS has got what it takes.

Author
Discussion

mr_spock

Original Poster:

2,395 posts

140 months

Monday 14th September 2009
quotequote all
Is this an "advertorial"? I'm sure it's jolly nice and all that, and maybe I haven't had enough coffee, but it doesn't sound like anyone from PH has actually tested this thing.

Republik

4,525 posts

115 months

Monday 14th September 2009
quotequote all
I'm a fan. I liked the last gen vRS, expecially in race blue.

Somnophore

1,364 posts

101 months

Monday 14th September 2009
quotequote all
The gf text me this morning saying "Octavia vRS is faaaast" she got burnt off by one at the lights and she's pretty quick in her 1.7 vct Puma with a couple of performance mods. Think she just doesn't know anything about skodas so when he was looking for a bit of a race she thought shed just blow past easy, hence the surprise.

Republik

4,525 posts

115 months

Monday 14th September 2009
quotequote all
Somnophore said:
The gf text me this morning saying "Octavia vRS is faaaast" she got burnt off by one at the lights and she's pretty quick in her 1.7 vct Puma with a couple of performance mods. Think she just doesn't know anything about skodas so when he was looking for a bit of a race she thought shed just blow past easy, hence the surprise.
The trouble is: A. You have no idea how much power they are running, and B. They may be coppers.

cheadle hulme

2,322 posts

107 months

Monday 14th September 2009
quotequote all
Can the nobber DLRs be switched off?

Why pay 50% more for an equivalent 3 series touring?
Advertisement

TheArchitect

1,238 posts

104 months

Monday 14th September 2009
quotequote all
cheadle hulme said:
Can the nobber DLRs be switched off?
I imagine they can.

these cars remap easily also offering good increases in performance. Good cars, although some argue the driving experience isnt as good as the Mk1 Oct VRS

Pooh

2,956 posts

178 months

Monday 14th September 2009
quotequote all
What a daft article, it only has 5 seats so how is it an antidote to a proper(more than 5 seat)MPV?

J111

3,354 posts

140 months

Monday 14th September 2009
quotequote all
VW group products rarely flow down the road with the aplomb of a well-sorted Ford...As an alternative to the automotive lobotomy that is the MPV, the Octavia vRS has got what it takes.

Didn't PH have an S-Max at one point confused ?

Japcarnut

113 posts

102 months

Monday 14th September 2009
quotequote all
agree with republik

I had a mk1 and know that ~£500 will see you pushing £250 bhp

Briskoda had a 400bhp 4x4 version (from the mk1 150bhp 4x4 version)!!

If buying & you see a mk1 vRS for sale that is white, beware as your local police dept would ahve been running it at high output from new. Red, black, yellow or silver (only colours mk1 came in).

Good cars with a some sorted suspension though. Brakes also strong - all ventilated discs.

Struggled to put power down in wet however (fun on quiet roundabouts with DSC off!);)

Mr Whippy

21,239 posts

166 months

Monday 14th September 2009
quotequote all
Nice, but a bit dull and the looks are going a bit off with this one.

I'd prefer an old school Audi RS4 or Volvo T5R to be honest with you, if I wanted a fast estate and were 'into' cars that is.

Dave

WorAl

10,877 posts

113 months

Monday 14th September 2009
quotequote all
Mr Whippy came on to Pistonheads and said:
if I were 'into' cars that is.
confused WTF scratchchin

GreenVault

49 posts

109 months

Monday 14th September 2009
quotequote all
"but this is as swift, surefooted and responsive a chassis as you'll find in any VW group product"

Really? As swift as an R8? As surefooted as a ContiGT? As responsive as a Gallardo? What a bargain...

Mr Whippy

21,239 posts

166 months

Monday 14th September 2009
quotequote all
WorAl said:
Mr Whippy came on to Pistonheads and said:
if I were 'into' cars that is.
confused WTF scratchchin
They are arguably better in every way except not being new.

Personally I found them dull. Fast, but dull.

CaptainSlow

7,646 posts

137 months

Monday 14th September 2009
quotequote all
I've had two gen 2s, a petrol and a diesel. Fantastic cars for the money with the petrol being the better choice. Hope to try a Seat Exeo ST next year.

Flat6

542 posts

180 months

Monday 14th September 2009
quotequote all
Mr Whippy said:
Personally I found them dull. Fast, but dull.
yes

zebedee

4,564 posts

203 months

Monday 14th September 2009
quotequote all
Pooh said:
What a daft article, it only has 5 seats so how is it an antidote to a proper(more than 5 seat)MPV?
because most MPVs you see only have 5 seats set up and a boot, rather than seats in the boot. Parents just buy MPVs thinking its the norm (look at the Picasso for goodness sake, what does that have going for it but as soon as you are out of the maternity ward it seems 95% of parents make for the nearest Citroen dealer! Kids are small so why buy cars with huge headroom?! My Mondeo estate has as much bootspace as many MPVs but I'll wager its far more fun to drive than most of these dreary topple-boxes.

Likewise the Skoda, a good, fun estate that you can pack the kids and their stuff in - but 3 series beemers and octavia estates are a bit deficient in space anyway.

jamieboy

5,702 posts

154 months

Monday 14th September 2009
quotequote all
cheadle hulme said:
Why pay 50% more for an equivalent 3 series touring?
Partly because the 3-series interior is likely to be less cheap and nasty*.

If I didn't know better, I'd suspect they make the vRS interior so bad purely so they sell more Audis. scratchchin

* based on whichever version of vRS was current this time last year


alock

3,542 posts

136 months

Monday 14th September 2009
quotequote all
jamieboy said:
cheadle hulme said:
Why pay 50% more for an equivalent 3 series touring?
Partly because the 3-series interior is likely to be less cheap and nasty*.

If I didn't know better, I'd suspect they make the vRS interior so bad purely so they sell more Audis. scratchchin

* based on whichever version of vRS was current this time last year
In the quantities BMW purchase, any quality difference in material is a few hundred pounds at most. Where's the other £10K?

Dick_Phallus

1,155 posts

109 months

Monday 14th September 2009
quotequote all
alock said:
jamieboy said:
cheadle hulme said:
Why pay 50% more for an equivalent 3 series touring?
Partly because the 3-series interior is likely to be less cheap and nasty*.

If I didn't know better, I'd suspect they make the vRS interior so bad purely so they sell more Audis. scratchchin

* based on whichever version of vRS was current this time last year
In the quantities BMW purchase, any quality difference in material is a few hundred pounds at most. Where's the other £10K?
The badge on the front. BMW = successful to the majority of the population.

jamieboy

5,702 posts

154 months

Monday 14th September 2009
quotequote all
alock said:
jamieboy said:
Partly because the 3-series interior is likely to be less cheap and nasty*.

If I didn't know better, I'd suspect they make the vRS interior so bad purely so they sell more Audis. scratchchin

* based on whichever version of vRS was current this time last year
In the quantities BMW purchase, any quality difference in material is a few hundred pounds at most. Where's the other £10K?
Don't get me wrong - I'm not defending BMW's ridiculously inlfated prices for some of their cars.

Just that the nasty interior was the main thing that put me off the Octavia - yes, the car is cheap, but not cheap enough to suffer that interior.