OCTAVIA VRS MK2
If you fancy a Golf GTI but also need plenty of bootspace for dumping bodies in the woods, the Octavia vRS is the obvious answer. It’s effectively a Golf GTI, it’s just a foot longer. Same engine, same chassis, same switchgear, the works. Oh, and it’s usefully cheaper.
Skoda’s vRS line has become a bit of a legend, and the Mk2 Octavia variant is one of the best. Launched in 2005, it came stuffed with the same 200bhp 2.0-litre TFSI motor you’d find in the Mk5 Golf GTI, along with that super-slick six-speed manual ’box. It had lower, stiffer suspension, 18-inch alloys and – yay! – green brake callipers, liberally sprinkling a load of hooligan mischief over the sensible Octavia platform.
This, in essence, is a car that can pootle around and happily deliver 35mpg while swallowing vast items of furniture in its cavernous boot, or go completely bonkers down a winding B-road and leave lesser hot-hatches in its dust. It’s a proper Jekyll-and-Hyde machine. Very receptive to tuning too – an easy £400 remap will provide an extra 60bhp. Proper gains, without even changing any parts.
These cars sold for £20k-ish back in ’05. Nowadays a tidy one will cost you about £3,500. No brainer.