It might carry the Skoda badges and be built in the Czech Republic but the Skoda Octavia RS really is a Volkswagen.
Skoda is owned by Volkswagen and it takes only a matter of moments in the Octavia’s presence to see that it has VW all over it.
From the way the doors close to the look and feel of the cabin, the way it drives, if you’re familiar with the German product you’ll be at home in the Octavia.
So, any old clichés about unreliability and poor build quality can be forgotten, this is one nicely designed and put together vehicle.
The Skoda Octavia RS is the sporty version of the Octavia and body choices are four-door hatch or wagon and there’s a choice of turbo-petrol or turbo-diesel engines.
Its pleasing to see that the premium for the diesel version is negligible – just $1000 separates the 162kW/350Nm petrol and the 135kW/380Nm diesel.
Claimed combined fuel consumption comes in at 6.6L/100kms for the petrol and 5.3L/100kms diesel, transmission choice is auto-only with the diesel engine.
Priced from $41,440 and with the optional $1,900 Tech Pack, the Skoda Octavia RS diesel wagon is the most expensive offering in the Octavia range, but it’s a very good offering.
With striking external styling highlighted by the 18” alloy wheels, red brake calipers and dual chrome exhausts, the Octavia RS looks the part.
Inside the cabin you notice the sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel and race seats, brushed alloy pedals, faux carbon-fibre inserts and chrome highlights.
Generally the feel throughout the cabin is very good.
If you wanted to be particularly picky though you could take some marks off for slightly sub-par plastics on the sides of the console and around the doors.
The cabin storage areas are probably a touch on the small side, legroom front and back though is very good and the rear cargo area is surprisingly roomy.
I really like the large centre touchscreen that incorporates sat-nav and a reversing camera.
One real highlight is the driver info screen which is easy to navigate through and to read on the run. Same goes for the gauges which are big and sporty and easy to read.
As you would expect, standard features include auto headlights and wipers, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and dual-zone climate control.
The Tech Pack completes the package adding:
- Push-button ignition (on the steering column)
- Upgraded ten speaker stereo
- Distance control cruise-control (which works really well)
- Park-assist display
On the road the Skoda Octavia RS is a good mix of subtle and sporty.
You have a choice of different drive modes and there is a noticeable difference between them. In eco-mode acceleration is conservative and with engine stop-start in operation you’ll be doing your best to save fuel.
Need more go? Well the 135kW/380Nm diesel engine has enough power and grunt to do the job.
What I really liked though about the Octavia RS was the ride and handling.
With just 40 Series tyres on the standard 18” alloy wheels I had thought the ride was going to be harsh, that’s not at all the case with the Octavia suspension doing a great job of absorbing impacts from the road surface.
The Octavia body feels taut and solid, and combined with the sports-tuned suspension, sharp steering and plenty of grip from the tyres and there’s a lot of fun to be had in the corners!
A couple of little complaints to mention though; the brake pedal in the car I drove had a degree of lateral play – this took away a little of the premium European feel.
The faux carbon-fibre panel around the transmission more than once reflected sunlight right into my face/eyes and I thought the infotainment system was frustratingly slow moving between audio sources – this meant you would go looking for the volume button or checking if something was wrong.
The Skoda Octavia range comes with a full five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Summing it up; More Volkswagen than what you might think a Skoda might be, the RS grade is a lot of fun for not a lot of money.
With a, generally, high quality feel, plenty of features, roomy enough cabin and great ride and handling I would be more than happy with a Skoda Octavia RS in my driveway.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2015 Skoda Octavia RS
Engine: 2.0 litre diesel producing 135kW and 380Nm
Transmission: Six-speed DSG auto
Safety: Five star
Warranty: Three years
Origin: Czech Republic
Price: Diesel from $41,440