Skoda's new performance hero won't disappoint.
- Skoda Octavia TSI RS; 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-petrol; six-speed DSG; five-door hatch - $39,790*
The RS is the performance hero of the Skoda Octavia line-up and puts up a fairly simple offering. It looks good, feels good ad it's a whole lot of fun to drive.
Available in two body styles, a lift back and a wagon, the RS joins the Octavia's expansive line up which sees 1.6-, 1.8- and 2.0-litre engines in both petrol and diesel variants on offer. There are two engines available in the Skoda RS, the 2.0-litre TFSI which we are testing, and the 2.0-litre TDI.
The 2.0-litre TFSI engine pumps out 147 kW from 5100rpm and 280Nm from 1,800rpm to create a vibrant and responsive drive experience. Torque is strong and plentiful. The RS musters a top speed of 240km/h and moves from 0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds.
The engine rumble is quite loud, almost agricultural sounding upon start up. Beyond idle, this noise turns into a lovely engine note that compliments the cars performance. The engine hums with an eagerness to perform and zips through the gears beautifully.
The DSG transmission is smooth and gear changes are nicely timed. Manual selection of the gears can be done via the gear selector or paddle shifts. Using the paddle shifts delivers a slightly slower response than the gear shift, particularly shifting up, but the fun factor is high.
Rev the Octavia to peak power and you'll enjoy the best this car has to offer; a spritely and obedient drive. The cabin is rigid and the ride is firm, but it's comfortable enough to be enjoyable for every day driving duties.
The RS with DSG transmission has a three-spoke, multi-function leather sports steering wheel as standard. It has a nice textured feel in hand and provides great steering feedback. The RS handles with great confidence. Cruising at highway speeds the Octavia RS is solid and composed, although the engine noise is a little loud and intrusive.
On more demanding roads, the Octavia's sports set up works a charm, sitting glued to the road and hugging corners with sporty prowess. The Octavia RS satisfies the senses and is a pleasure to steer. The Octavia RS is however no stranger to a bit of wheel spin upon take off, but it's quick to gather composure and right itself.
The Skoda's cabin is snug, but in a comforting way where its firm sporty seats hold your body tight and everything is close to hand. The interior is sporty, comfortable and well equipped. The RS styling adds a racey edge to the interior, including shiny alloy sport pedals. So as to not be mistaken for a stock standard Octavia, the RS logo can be found embroidered on the seats and badged through the cabin - a not so gentle reminder of the premium spec and sporty credentials at hand.
The two-tone leather and cloth trim interior is very well done and is in keeping with the sporty personality. Full leather would be better. Nice stitching detail gives a premium edge to the trim. The dash and audio interface is simple and uncluttered. It's easy to navigate and simple to use. The gear selector is chunky and feels nice in hand.
A six CD tuner with eight speakers is standard and knocks out a good sound. A touch screen control and SD card slot up the audio spec to a respectable modern standard.
The second row is comfortable for two passengers, but any middle passenger will be cramped for space, particularly leg room.
Tyre pressure monitors and rear parking sensors are also included.
The Octavia RS cuts a lovely, strong shape from every angle. From the deep grille and integrated fog lights, through to the boxy rear end and boot spoiler, the RS is well proportioned and lines are clean. Its good looks are a hint of the substance that lies beneath the metal.
If you're not convinced, there are another few RS badges to set the performance tone. The RS features a nice array of sporty styling cues, including 19-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension, showy red callipers, tinted windows and chrome twin exhaust pipes.
The Octavia RS has the good looks of a sedan but with large hatch back functionality. The hatch has a load capacity of 560 litres (seats up) and 1420 litres (seats down) and it's easily access thanks to the large hatch opening. Add to this split fold seats and you've got an incredibly usable load space.
On our test route we achieved a fuel consumption reading of around 10 litres per 100km - a little higher than the manufacturer's claim of 8.1 for the DSG transmission.
Safety features are well covered in the RS with six airbags (dual front, front side and curtain), active head rests, electronic stability program, anti-lock brake system and anti-slip regulation and electronic brake-pressure distribution.
Priced at $37,990*, and another $2,300 for the six-speed DSG gearbox, the Octavia RS presents good value for money. It's larger and cheaper than many of the hot hatches currently on the market - think Honda Civic Type R and its Volkswagen Golf GTI relative - and comes in cheaper than a sporty competitor like the Ford Mondeo XR5.
The Skoda Octavia RS is a performance car that you can live with very easily, there is no compromise on comfort or practicality - quite the opposite, actually, Skoda has been thoughtful and practical in creating this car. The RS adds a dash of character to your every day Octavia. Given the opportunity, the Octavia RS will make you very happy, with spare change, too.
*Pricing is a guide as recommended to us by the manufacturer.
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