The Octavia vRS range starts at an extremely reasonable £17,500 for the hatchback and £18,500 for the estate. Compare this with £20,360 for the Golf 2.0 T-FSI GTI and you’ve got a compelling argument for the Czech-built model.
The outgoing Octavia vRS sold 6,424 between 2000 and 2005 and drew on Škoda’s 100-year sporting heritage. The success of the 180bhp 1.8-litre turbo vRS led to the launch in 2003 of the Fabia vRS, a car that gave the manufacturer considerable success in WRC, with Colin McRae at the wheel.
The latest generation Octavia vRS was launched last January and has proven popular with both consumers and the motoring press. It has sold 1,037 so far, with a target of 2,900 by year-end.
Škoda’s marketing pitch is one of excitement and practicality. This goes beyond mere hype.
Engine capacity has grown to 2.0-litres and the FSI unit delivers 200bhp. This is enough to propel the car from standstill to 62mph in 7.3sec and on to a top speed of 149mph.
And with a claimed combined fuel consumption of 35.8mpg and vast boot capacity (560/1,350 litres for the hatchback), it really does represent a great marriage of the two virtues.
Our test vehicle has 18in alloy wheels, which command a reasonable £300 premium over the 17in alloys fitted as standard.
Its dual aircon, jumbo box (an air-conditioned storage box which also distributes air to the rear seats) and rear electric windows add another £450, bringing the price to £18,275 – still a lot of car for the money.
First impressions of the car have been positive throughout the AM team and we look forward to clocking up some more miles to really get under the skin of what looks like a great offering from the manufacturer.
Price (as tested): £18,275
Engine: 2.0-litre, 20 valve, FSI
Performance: 0-62mph 7.3sec; top speed 149mph
Efficiency: 35.8mpg; 190g/km CO2
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Test: period June-September
Start mileage: 421
Current mileage: 1,723
CAP RV 3yr/30k: £7,300 (42%)
CAP RV 3yr/60k: £6,125 (35%)
Rivals: Golf GTI, Vauxhall Astra VXR, Renault Mégane Renaultsport, Mazda6 MPS, Ford Focus ST
Likes: Space, performance, colour
Dislikes: Understated looks for a hot hatch