Many cars these days seems to have letters such as ‘R’ and ‘S’ tagged onto the back of their names to indicate a greater sense of purpose and higher state of tune. In some cases, these acronyms actually mean something – in other cases, well, less so.
In the case of the Octavia itself, the first generation vRS was a bit of a revelation. It’s no secret that the different models of the VW Group dip into a shared parts bin, but when a Skoda comes fitted with the motor from an Audi TT pretty much everybody sits up and takes notice. The original RS came with a subtle body kit, hip-hugging seats, upgraded brakes and suspension, and a gem of a 1.8-litre 20-valve turbo-petrol motor producing 150 horses. In short, it was a hoot to drive.
The second-gen Octavia, which was given the unfortunate moniker of ‘Laura’ in our market, also got an RS – but it was merely a pretty face. All body kit, and no extra go! This one, the third – and latest – generation, remedies the situation. And how!
The car that you see here not only looks the part – what with its big air-dam, 17-inch rims, twin tailpipes and rear spoiler – but it goes just as well as these accruements suggest it ought to. A 227bhp 2.0-litre turbo-petrol motor ensures that the Octavia RS accelerates to 100km/h from a standstill in a spritely 6.8 seconds. The best part of the Octavia on the road, though, is courtesy of its trick front electronic diff and multilink rear suspension. The front end is incredibly sharp and precise. You get just a whiff of wheelspin and torque steer in only the tightest of bends. In the fast corners, there’s no understeer to speak of and the car stays completely flat and planted – courtesy of its 15mm lower ride-height when compared with the standard Octavia.
The engine is a gem, and the 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox even more so. Every flick of the steering-mounted paddles results in an instant gear change – and even a burp from the exhaust when you’re keen on the power. It’s all very entertaining. It’s also rather refined at the same time – that’s why the Octavia RS scores a near perfect score for both refinement and drivetrain (4.5 out of 5).
And it’s just as good inside the cabin. The alcantara, RS-badged, sport seats and flat-bottomed three-spoke steering wheel mean that this feels like proper sports sedan territory. To top it all, you can fit four adults and their luggage comfortably – so your friends can revel in your seemingly newfound driving skill.
At under Rs. 25 lakhs, ex-showroom, the RS also punches above its weight. Its lap time is in amongst the Audi A5 Sportback (another worthy ‘Best of 2017’ recipient), the incredibly fun Jaguar XE and the supremely capable BMW 530d – all of which cost considerably more than Skoda. In the end, the Octavia RS is just .2 points off the top-spot – that’s how good we think this car really is.
- 2.0 TDI CR Style
- 1.4 TSI Ambition
- 2.0 TDI CR Style Plus AT
- 1.4 TSI Style
- 2.0 TDI CR Style AT
- 2.0 TDI CR Ambition
- 1.8 TSI Style AT
- 1.8 TSI Style Plus AT
Explore Skoda Octavia technical specifications including dimensions, engines, gearbox, mileage, seating capacity, boot space, etc.
Find out all features available on the Skoda Octavia – including safety features, interior equipment, creature comforts, trim versions, etc.