Motoring review: Skoda Octavia vRS Estate is a fast estate that appeals to my country side

 

Price: from £23,790
Engine capacity: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo
Power output (PS @ rpm): 220 @ 4,500 – 6,200
Top speed (mph): 152
0-62 mph (seconds): 6.9
Fuel economy (mpg): 44.1
CO2 emissions (g/km): 149

At first glance this Skoda estate doesn't look up to much. It's not that the new Octavia estate is ugly necessarily, it's just that to the untrained eye it looks a lot like yet another sensible estate from the Czech Republic. Being a sensible Czech estate is no bad thing these days, though. In fact, it's a very good thing and, for buyers, means a smug sense of satisfaction at owning an affordable machine that's incredibly well built and reliable. It's just that, well, the Octavia won't set pulses racing. Or will it?

This is the vRS model. I'm not exactly sure what those three letters actually mean – and believe me, I've tried to find out – but car manufactures like to put these short and mainly nonsensical monikers after their car names when they become "hot hatches" or "stealth wagons" (AMG at Mercedes, RS at Audi, ST at Ford and VXR at Vauxhall). That's right, the new Skoda Octavia vRS might look like another sensible estate, but it's actually a chuffing fast wagon for getting lots of stuff around the place very quickly indeed.

I should confess I have rather a soft spot for fast estates. Perhaps it's because they let me imagine a day when I'll live somewhere with winding, country lanes and will need space for an old Labrador in the back. The problem is they are pretty expensive pieces of kit for your average chap. Most of these estates are rather over the top, too, and while the pricey offering from Mercedes, Audi (the new RS4 is fantastic by the way) and BMW are wonderfully engineered machines, they all just scream a little too much of mid-life crisis for me. The same goes for the Ford Focus ST estate, which is probably a closer rival for the cheaper Skoda.

The block up front in the vRS kicks out somewhere in the region of 220 horsepower from its two litres. That might not sound vast by today's standards and it won't beat an Audi RS4 or E-Class AMG wagon, but it's certainly more than enough for getting from A to B anywhere in the UK without losing your driving licence. And the wonder is that, unlike some performance cars, the Octavia doesn't throw the fuel-economy baby out with the petrol-infused bathwater. You can drive it normally and still get a respectable miles-per-gallon figure, while all the time knowing the power is there if you need it.

In all fairness I didn't really throw the vRS estate around a great deal – I went camping with four friends so the vast boot was more useful – but that confirmed something else I suspected. The Octavia vRS is one of the easiest fast estates to actually, you know, live with. The ride is smooth, the engine not too intrusive and the automatic dual clutch gear box fairly sensible. Even the standard model gets sports seats, a DAB radio, Bluetooth and air-con, though the top-spec shifter and a fancy infotainment and navigation system did push the price of my test model north of £25k.

In short, the Octavia isn't pretty but it is relatively economical, relatively affordable and very fast. It's just that it's fast and fun, not fast and frantic. Now, where do I find a Labrador?

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Commercial Litigation NQ+

    Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...

    MANCHESTER - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION -

    Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

    Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

    Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

    £90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

    Day In a Page

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?