Skoda Octavia VRS: The fastest roadgoing Octavia yetWe take a spin in the most powerful vRS to hit the road to date. The last one was a cracker, is the new one up to snuff?
Skoda is a brand that divides opinion. Some people is stuck with an image of eastern block lumps of metal that could break down at a moment's notice, and a poorly made way as much as a bag of crisps. Others, myself included, know that those days are long gone. They know that Skoda produces solid, reliable, fun, well-appointed cars that are pretty much classless. Take the new Octavia for example; it's based on the Volkswagen group's MQB platform, now that means it shares underpinnings with the Volkswagen Golf, the Seat Leon, and the Audi A3, and it looks absolutely brilliant. And this back at least, it's got all the toys you could ever possibly want and it's got more boot space that any of the above as well. It handles incredibly well too. It is all told a very, very good car. But there's one alternative that stands head in shoulders above the rest for me, the 220 brake horsepower vRS. vRS written on the Skoda's rump means that it's the quick one-- the car that's had extra loving care thrown into its development to make it as fun as possible. The first Octavia vRS debuted in 2001, and impressed drivers with its accessible twinned with its space and comfort. To celebrate its 10th birthday, Skoda prepped a Mark 2 Octavia vRS to go to Bonneville Speedway. The car reached 227.080 miles an hour and became the fastest 2-liter, forced induction production vehicle on the face of the planet. This is the new Octavia vRS, and there are 2 versions you can choose from-- a petrol or a diesel. This is the petrol and here are the numbers you need to know. It has a 2-liter, 4-cylinder turbocharged engine with 220 horsepower. Note to 62 happens in just 6.8 seconds and its top speed is 154 miles an hour. And if you are very good, boy it will go, you will be able to get 44 miles with the gallon out of it, that is of course according to Skoda. What that means is that, this is a no compromise car. You don't need to sacrifice economy for performance or vice-versa. It's the best of both worlds. But that's not all you get. No, there are loads of driving modes to choose from. There's Normal, which keeps things nice and light and very easy to drive, but still quite quick. Then there's Eco, which softens the entire car up to eek as many MPGs out to the engine as possible. Then there's Sport, which tenses the entire car and the throttle response becomes [unk]-- the steering becomes heavier, and all becomes a bit sporty or ideal for a crap day at the office, quick [unk] home. Then there's Individual, that's interesting 'cause you contain their different aspects of the car to your own liking and previously that level of on-the-fly customization that's only ever really seen an Audis. So, given all the toys, power, setup, and what have you held is this new Octavia vRS compared to the old one. The old Octavia vRS is one of my favorite ever sleeker cars. It looked so unassuming it was so blisteringly fast. It turns out it was also one of the police's. If you have one in the right shade of blue and drove it 69 miles an hour down the M1, people would just leap out of your way 'cause they assume you were about to arrest them, but this one, the new one, is just as good, well, no, I lied, it's actually a little bit better. The extra power is great and that the engine rev so freely, you put your foot down and [unk] you just fly all the way up the road. You either get that little push back in your seat that you get with a proper dollar for power. The gearbox is a seven-speed DSG and this has been around for ages, but, it's still brilliant. The gear shifts are so seamless and so smooth. You can have this with a manual. By honesty, think even though I usually go, oh it would be better with a manual, this gearbox is perfectly suited to this car. If I'm trying to think of a few downsides, well, it's a bit dark in here. I wouldn't mind say some brighter plastics on the dash. That really would set it off quite nicely because, you know, it's supposed to be moody, sporty car, but at the same time, I like to smile while I'm going at speed and having fun and this isn't quite the atmosphere for it. Well, Skoda's down with the Octavia vRS, once again, this creator car that is everything you could want and need a car to do. It's fast, it's economical, it's practical, it's roomy, and it's fun when you want it to be, and it's not all that expensive, and you get loads of kit for your money as well. However, there are still some people out there that have that archaic view of Skoda, still nay say because of some old image of eastern block rubbish, things that fall apart or are not good to drive, but they're wrong, because Skodas nowadays are effortlessly brilliant, they do what they do incredibly well. They're well-made. So I have a message for the people with that old view, you're wrong and I pity you because you're missing out on something truly brilliant.