A week with a Skoda Octavia vRS

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OctaviavRS1 Day 1 The Skoda arrives looking surprisingly sporty. It’s bright blue for one thing, and the chrome round the grille is blacked out in a slightly sinister way. This turns out to be a £100 option. On the inside, the seats are unexpectedly racy with one-piece backrests like a Porsche 928. Or an old Jaguar XK. Or some kind of American coupe from the 1970s. Anyway, it all combines in a not unpleasant way.

Day 2 The mechanical bits of vRS seem to have been combined in a not unpleasant way too. It’s subtle but not without a bit of vigour. The engine is good and boosty, the gearchange is decent, all told a car that speaks softly but carries a big stick. Probably inside a nicely understated briefcase.

Day 3 By and large, the Octavia has a very acceptable ride. Only occasionally does it seem a bit firm. And I think the rough bits only occur to you because for the most part it’s so reasonable, like hearing Huw Edwards suddenly calling a waiter a sodding tit.

OctaviavRS3 Day 4 Time for some brisk driving. The vRS responds in kind by becoming really quite entertaining. Other Octavias have a torsion beam rear axle. The vRS gets an independent, multi-link design. That must help. During some exuberant cornering on a slightly damp road there’s even a brief signal through the steering wheel that the front tyres are losing grip. Which is nice, if you’re interested in such things.

Day 5 There is a covered compartment in front of the Octavia’s gearlever. When you slide it open there is a tiny click engineered into the end of its travel and another one when you slide it closed again. Someone has done this. That was their job for, what? Six months? A year? Every night they came home to their family and maybe someone asked how the click was going. Yea, you know, slow going but we’re getting there they would reply. Well done Head Of Click. You have done your job well. The click makes you think you’re getting your money’s worth from this car. See also, the little parking ticket holder clip on the inside of the screen and the cupholder insert that holds your mobile phone. Nice touches. Although neither of these things has a built-in click.

OctaviavRS2Day 6 You know who liked the old Octavia vRS? The police. They’ll like this one too. Not in ‘Race Blue’ with blacked out trim but paint the body grey, keep the normal chrome trim and spec silver rather than gunmetal wheels and you’d have a very good plain clothes car. Or put fluorescent Battenberg cake up the sides, write ECILOP on the bonnet and you’d have an actual police car. Either way, Skoda should embrace this market by fitting traffic cones in the boot and a moustache comb in the glovebox.

Day 7 Give a mate a lift in the Octavia. Well this is all you’d need, he says sagely. He’s probably right. And he’s not even a policeman.

Goodbye That’s it. The Octavia vRS is proceeding in a westerly direction away from my house. It’s not the flashiest or most exciting thing in the world but nor is it boring and you come away reflecting on how likeable and pleasant it was, as you might after a weekend away in Bruges. It’s the kind of car you might buy if you want something brisk, entertaining and practical but you don’t want people to know about the first two things. I rather liked it.

The car talked about here is a Skoda Octavia vRS. It has a turbocharged 2-litre engine making 217 horsepower which means, according to Skoda, it can do 154mph and 0-62 in 6.8 seconds. It costs £22,990.


  1. The N92 Polo had a built in click on it’s storage thing in front of the gear leaver. From memory the last shape Passat had many built clicks too.
    Head Of Clicks must be a busy man.

    But the Police don’t actually like these. An actual Police officer (whom I know socially, she didn’t arrest me) told me that the Octavia VRs was, I quote “OK for chasing hoodlums around council estates in, but I wouldn’t like to go any distance in them.”
    They leave BMW 5 Seriesezezees to the M Way stuff.

  2. Sam Mace Said: “But the Police don’t actually like these”

    I agree, the Octavia line seems more popular with Taxi Drivers, atleast it did in ireland..

  3. Even the cabbies are becoming disenchanted with them-DSGs are lovely things. Until they break, then they’re not.

  4. “the little parking ticket holder clip on the inside of the screen”

    My Dad’s Volvo 740 had this in 1986…

    Still a good idea, just not Skoda’s.

    Just sayin’, like.

  5. Fair point Herman. Skodas have had them for a while actually. Possibly part of their gentle attempts to be the restrained, practically-minded company Volvo used to be.

  6. “Even the cabbies are becoming disenchanted with them-DSGs are lovely things. Until they break, then they’re not.”

    Look up what happened to VW sales in Australia this year when it transpired that VW Australia was pretending DSGs don’t break (including one cause that resulted in a fatality) and telling owners of broken DSGs to get stuffed.

  7. Ugh.

    “one cause” = “one case”

  8. Richard seems totally underwhelmed by the whole experience. Not a bad looking car though

  9. Hang on – the clip on the inside of the windscreen is a Pension book holder. Let’s get this right.

  10. A Skoda is allowed to be fast, but not too fast. In the same way that a trendy vicar is aloud an earring, but not a Prince Albert.

  11. or even allowed!

  12. Yeah, but isn’t the interior just a bit, well, boring?

    I thought that was why everyone buys a Golf instead.

  13. Noigul – I thought people only bought Golfs because everything else was too exciting?

  14. I like this car because it’s about as sport and fun you’ll get while still being able to pass it off to the Mrs as a sensible car.

  15. I need to get on a 12 step programme for my Saab problem. Trouser filling cupholder and parking ticket holder action-a-plenty to be had in my 9-5. But there’s still so much crapness in this and most other cars that Saab sorted years ago. Double sun visors? Lights in the bottom of the doors so you can see where you’re putting your feet on dark nights? Ignition switches that don’t take you knee-cap off in an accident? Folding seats that actually tell you if you’ve locked them into place properly? Factory installed mobile antennas that mean you don’t have to buy some horrible looking crap from Halfords?

    And by the way, are you and Mister Top going to have a shufty at what Saab 3.0 are up to? I hear tell of an electric 9-3 that sounds interesting.

  16. Any idea why it’s called a Prince Albert?

  17. You wait ages for a Sniff car review and when it comes I can’t think of a single negative thing to say about it.
    What’s that all about?

    As for our beloved Saab (i’m on my 6th), lets wait ’til they actually resume production before we start asking for reviews. Or review some ‘classic’ vehicles instead?

    No hmph needed here.

  18. On second thoughts, those seats look crap.
    But are probably very comfortable. But they look crap.

  19. VastRoomySpeedy, I love my 12 yr old vrs and wouldn’t swap it for the world, well obviously I would but what would I do with the world, on second thoughts I would swap it for a Noble 400m just bring your car documents and your carer with you to sign them.
    Seriously this Octavia Vrs is the first car I have ever owned that I haven’t wanted to get rid of after 12 months, we are now celebrating 4 yrs together and our relationship continues to blossom.
    And no love isn’t blind.

  20. Really like the look of this but the seats put me off.

  21. Rick – it’s called a Prince Albert as he didn’t want his old man getting in the way when he was riding horses, so he had the piercing so he could attach it to something (snooker table? Lampshade?) whilst he was atop his horse. Probably.

  22. I’m on my 2nd VRS now, currently in a 60 plate, and am very tempted to upgrade. Best cars I’ve owned in 23 years of driving. Yes you could buy a Golf GTI, but why pay £1000s more for a smaller car with almost identical spec?

    I have a slightly loony motor to lark around in when I’m on my own, and it will also transport me, the wife and 2 kids (plus all the luggage in the boot) to Disneyland Paris for the week in comfort with zero issues.

  23. Great cars the vRS’s. Had 4, just ordered my 5th. Only badges snobs and those with shallow minds and inferiority complexes would buy a miserable Golf GTi.

  24. Just ordered new petrol vRS estate with a few extras. Changing from 2010 Audi A4 avant S line special edition. The vRS is way faster, has the insides of an Audi/ VW, has a much bigger boot and is significantly cheaper than equivalent Audi or VW. People still say “oh” when I tell them what I’ve ordered!

  25. Another vrs fan….had mine 4 yrs will continue with. Would like the new one but 22-25k is mucho money……th the 1st one was about 15k new and mk 2 was 17k….prices creeping up but still good cars. As for DSG…….why???? Flappy paddle nonsense, get a “stick shift “

  26. “I like this car because it’s about as sport and fun you’ll get while still being able to pass it off to the Mrs as a sensible car.”

    Shhhhh! I’m working that line at the moment, imagine my disappointment if she read yout comment. Shame on you brother

  27. Just ordered a petrol VRS estate – my second. But get this. The dealer has warned me it could be 6 months before it arrives!!! Apparently Skoda made a batch of blue and white VRS models for UK distribution, and then stopped!

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