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Verdict

This petrol-powered Octavia vRS Hatch is the choose of the bunch. It’s reasonably priced, presents practicality and tempo, and is probably the most enjoyable vRS to drive, with its revvy petrol engine and slick six-speed handbook field. It’s not the quickest and even the best-handling scorching hatch, however the Skoda’s strengths lie in the way it combines genuinely robust efficiency in so many areas with a price ticket and finance offers that make it arduous to disregard.

That is the purist’s Skoda Octavia vRS: the two.0-litre TSI 245 petrol hatch mannequin with a six-speed handbook gearbox. We’ll must mood that by remembering the truth that it is a Skoda – the Volkswagen Group’s extra pragmatic model – and this Octavia suits properly in with that secure, wise positioning.

It doesn’t supply the thrills to compete with the likes of VW’s hottest Golf GTI, the Clubsport, however then the Golf can’t compete with the Skoda’s all-round versatility – nor it’s value, because the vRS prices from £30,605.

The generational evolution to this fourth iteration of Skoda’s scorching hatchback hasn’t redefined its providing then. As a substitute, it enhances what’s all the time been good concerning the Octavia vRS fashions in each space.

Let’s begin with efficiency. With 242bhp and 370Nm from its four-cylinder turbocharged motor, the Skoda has a comparatively robust output given its 1,489kg kerbweight – itself respectable contemplating the automotive’s measurement.

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It’s sufficient for a 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds, which is only one tenth of a second shy of the DSG-equipped automotive. However the handbook is all the higher for the additional layer of involvement the transmission brings.

You see, the vRS isn’t probably the most overtly sporty and in-your-face scorching hatch there may be. Is that why Skoda has chosen so as to add a frustratingly synthetic engine sound if you begin the automotive up, to challenge a fraction extra character? It’s annoying, so we selected both Consolation or Particular person and opted to take away the improved soundtrack.

The engine revs with the sort of welcome linearity we’ve come to count on from the VW Group-sourced 2.0-litre unit, irrespective of its state of tune. There’s a whiff of lag, however the enhance builds predictably and is managed in such a means that it doesn’t arrive in an enormous dollop earlier than the motor tails off increased up like with, say, a Ford Focus ST.

As a substitute, you’ll be able to push the vRS and revel in its easy prime finish, in addition to the efficiency it brings. There’s a level to extending the engine past 4,500-5,000rpm, which may’t be stated for all turbo automobiles.

The six-speed handbook gearbox isn’t the sweetest, however it’s slick sufficient and does supply drivers that further tactile interplay that the DSG automotive can’t match. It’s important to suppose extra about your shifts, and it’s exact sufficient to take pleasure in. When new automobiles powered purely by petrol are set to be extinct in lower than a decade, we should always savour them whereas we will.

The Octavia’s steering is exact, however it has the age-old challenge related to lots of quick automobiles on the MQB platform in that it’s under no circumstances communicative. You may nonetheless drive the Octavia precisely and regardless of its measurement, it’s nonetheless agile.

It’s price mentioning right here that the VAQ electronically managed limited-slip differential does typically wrestle to place the engine’s energy down from low velocity or popping out of tight turns, however in medium-speed bends it helps to hook the automotive by way of turns if you get on the ability.

The agility stems partially from the £945 Dynamic Chassis Management adaptive suspension dampers fitted to our automotive (which already sits 15mm decrease than a typical Octavia). There are three pre-set modes (Consolation, Regular and Sport) whilst you slide between 15 totally different damper settings, going additional at every finish of the dimensions if you wish to, making the vRS further comfortable or further agency.

We wouldn’t advocate the latter actually. On 19-inch wheels Sport is sufficient, as a result of the physique management is taut sufficient so the automotive delivers dealing with that’s comparatively direct.

Going past that system’s Consolation setting to totally soften the dampers does assist the journey, and on the motorway at a cruise the vRS is refined – there’s a little bit of tyre roar from the bigger wheels and low-profile rubber, however it’s not extreme. This can be a optimistic, as a result of a automotive just like the Octavia vRS has to cowl many bases.

It does so convincingly on the practicality finish of the dimensions as properly. Behind the large, powered boot lid boot area stands at 600 litres, rising to 1,555 litres if you happen to fold the rear seats down.

The additional size within the Octavia’s wheelbase in contrast with a Golf (which makes use of the identical underpinnings) means there’s loads of room within the rear. Passengers gained’t be cramped in any respect.

Within the entrance, the Octavia’s extra premium-feeling cabin is simply as spectacular as different variations we’ve tried, solely right here there’s a sportier remedy. You get contrasting pink stitching for the two-piece bucket seats, a sports activities steering wheel and another racier supplies – together with loads of Alcantara – to strengthen this automotive’s halo standing.

Tools specification is sweet, with matrix LED headlights, dual-zone local weather management, adaptive cruise with AEB and lane help, heated sports activities seats, all-round parking sensors, keyless operation, a ten.25-inch digital sprint panel with a particular vRS pores and skin and a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and wi-fi Apple CarPlay connectivity.

The navigation system is as slick and full featured as ever and the connectivity tech is simply as robust if you happen to’d choose to make use of your individual machine. One niggle is that the amount and local weather management adjusters use a touch-sensitive slider – there’s someplace to anchor your hand to make changes however within the firmer suspension modes the jittery journey could make this motion troublesome, so it could actually take a couple of makes an attempt.

In any other case, the vRS’s credentials as a stable all-rounder are bolstered by claimed gas financial system of 40.7mpg and 157g/km CO2 emissions, that are comparatively robust.

Add in the truth that it’ll price £386 monthly with a comparatively reasonably priced £5,000 deposit (plus one other £1,500 from Skoda) on a three-year PCP finance deal restricted to 10,000 miles per yr and the vRS is a stable selection.

Mannequin: Skoda Octavia vRS 2.0 TSI 245 Hatch
Value:  £30,605
Engine:  2.0-litre 4cyl turbo petrol
Energy/torque:  242bhp/370Nm
Transmission:  Six-speed handbook, front-wheel drive
0-62mph:  6.8 seconds
Prime velocity:  155mph
Financial system/CO2:  40.7mpg/157g/km
On sale:  Now

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