A family performance car, the Skoda Octavia vRS 230

In Car Reviews, Skoda by Tom Scanlan

As it happened, the Skoda Octavia vRS 230 was the third of three fast cars I had experienced in successive weeks. First was the awesome Audi R8 V10 Plus, then a mighty Golf R and then the Skoda.

Tom Scanlan enjoys the Skoda Octavia vRS 230 2.0 TSI 230PS
Even with a zero to 62 mph time of ‘as long as’ 6.7 seconds – more than twice the time the Audi R8 takes and a whole 1.6 seconds slower than the VW Golf R – it rather strangely didn’t feel that sluggish by comparison.

The general first impression was of quite a light-feeling car and it soon won my heart, with its very sweet 230 PS four-cylinder engine. (It’s also available are a 220 PS version, £2120 cheaper, and a 184PS diesel that is also available with four-wheel-Drive.)

The test car came in a light grey colour ‘Meteor Grey’ at £360 that I liked, but my wife certainly didn’t. Apart from the unique colour and the 19-inch Xtreme black alloy wheels, the odd vRS badge tells passers-by, or those you have passed by, that this is the Skoda for speed-freaks. That’s probably not quite appropriate, as this is not a car that would be bought by those who go for Mitsubishi Evos or rival Subaru Imprezas…is it?

The cabin is smart. It’s neatly laid out without any unnecessary complication. The dials follow along that sensible line. The seats are comfortable with full adjustments. But by one of the striking features about the inside is the space, high is class-leading. The boot is huge, too, and all of this makes the car a leading choice option for families.

The test car was priced at £27,590 this price includes a slightly confusing options list. Options include, heated front and rear seats, a space-saver spare wheel, the grey paintwork and the Winter pack. It appears that also includes the heated front seats option along with heated washer nozzles and front windscreen – look at it like this: you get heated rear seats for £200, because heated front seats are standard on vRS.

There is an impressively long list of standard equipment in the vRS. For safety, there are seven airbags and automatic post-collision braking, not to mention ESC, that all-important electronic stability control that, within the laws of physics, helps prevent skidding, and including ABS, EBV, MSR, AST, EDS, HBA, DSR, ESBS, TSA, MKB and XDS.

Go on, challenge the Skoda sales person to quickly summarise that lot for you! Oh, and there’s Lane Assist, too…and a driver fatigue sensor. I found this useful even though on one journey it first asked, via a ‘cup of tea?’ suggestion in the information display if I needed to take a break after only about thirty miles. When I thought about it, I reckoned that it hadn’t much appreciated the car being driven erratically, owing to the fact that I was on a poor-quality road and was weaving about a bit avoiding ruts, deeply-set drain covers, etc.

The Amundsen touch screen satellite navigation takes a bit of learning as usual, but you get there in the next, both metaphorically and actually. But, to get back to life behind the wheel, the car is a joy. The gear-changes in the manual gearbox in the test car were light, accurate and quick, although the lower gears were just a tiny bit notchy. The steering was precise and so was the handling that nice turn-in that can add so much to a car’s feel.

Push your foot down from a standstill and you get to shoot away from the average cars around. On the open road, even in the top, sixth gear, acceleration is impressive and there is a most pleasant build up in the exhaust note that makes you want to slow down and do it again. On the other hand, the engine is very flexible and the car can easily go up quite a steep hill in top gear at around 1100rpm. On the motorway, it’s smooth and quiet.

As to fuel consumption, my week of 410 miles in all traffic conditions was at a return of 39.5 mpg, according to the trip computer, which is a theoretical range of about 350 miles between fill-ups.

I really liked this Skoda and reckon it to be very well made, good value, with exhilarating performance on tap, along with excellent all-round practicality.

A great, family size performance car.

Car reviewed: Skoda Octavia vRS 230 2.0 TSI 230PS – from £26,580 on the road, as tested £27,590 0-62mph 6.7 secs Top speed 155mph Combined Fuel Economy 45.6mpg CO2 emissions 142g/km Engine 1984cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve Max Power 230PS@4700rpm Torque 350Nm@1500rpm Transmission 6-speed Manual

  • A Practical performance car

  • Reasonable fuel economy

  • Good Value

  • Learn your acronyms

About the author

Tom Scanlan

'Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars. He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0. In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.'

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