2008 Skoda Octavia RS review

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2008 Skoda Octavia RS review

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Recommended Retail Price: $37,490

Roomy, excellent handling, quality, lag-free turbo punch

Subdued design, steering lacks feel

I'm really grateful for pharmacies. Especially the ones you can go to late at night. It's almost a godsend when you've got a screaming kid, only to find out that the Children's Panadol has run out. So you trundle down at 11pm and find a (quiet) haven where you can ease your offspring's pain.

But there's another reason why I'm grateful to our local Chemist. A few years ago, they started stocking aromatic essences. It was seen as an unusual move for a pharmacy, but when people checked out the price tag (myself included) they started to come around. You see, a perfume that is the real deal, yet costs a heap less, is going to go down well in anyone's books.

And why wouldn't you buy it from a Chemist? I mean, sure, it's no David Jones, or Myer, but you're still ending up with the same thing in the end, right? And if you're going to save a heap of money doing it, more power to you.

That's where the Skoda Octavia RS comes in. Like a perfume which costs less, the Skoda Octavia RS is basically a Volkswagen Jetta that's been rebodied. So it uses the Volkswagen platform, switchgear, and engine. No bad thing if you ask me.

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This is all good news for buyers, as the Golf GTI rates as one of my all time favourite cars. And even better than that, the Octavia RS is more practical. There's a smidge more room for rear seat passengers, but the boot - created by turning a sedan into a hatchback - is massive. But isn't that going to hinder its balance?

The suspension tune is typical of Volkswagen. Body control is tight, bumps are smothered. It is firm, but it's strikes a good balance with comfort, so your mother-in-law will actually enjoy coming along for a drive. If you want her to...

And that comes through in the interior finish too. Using the familiar Golf switchgear for your HVAC controls, the quality is excellent. The dash and instruments are of a different design to the Golf, but everything else (stalks, satnav, window switches, etc) is pure Volkswagen. All good then.

The two litre motor is listed at 147kW and 280Nm, and has plenty of kick. At anything above 2000rpm, it pulls hard, and lag is almost non-existent. Plus, it's smooth and linear in its delivery right up 'til the redline. What more could you want? The fact that the gearbox and clutch are a delight to use is just the icing on the cake.

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And that's the real beauty of this car. It's a practical, fun, sporty alternative to many other mid-sizers. You also get a load of features. Tyre pressure monitoring, fuel cutoff in a crash, pollen filter, eight speaker stereo, heated front seats, tinted windows and mirrors, metal sill panels, etc. The list goes on.

The brochure points out that in the list of features is a "Sporty sound of the modified exhaust system." It sounds a bit primary school, but in truth, the exhaust note is pretty good. Which really reflects the rest of the car.
Seeing that the quality is there, and you've got an unlimited kilometre three year warranty, it seals the deal. If you're not a brand slave, then do yourself a favour. Have a good, long, hard look at the Octavia RS.

It smells pretty sweet to me.

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2008 Skoda Octavia RS Specifications