SPECS AND VERDICT Model Engine
snarl, you see, because Škodas were Communist Porsches. The West had its capitalist 911s; we had our 60 horsepower 130s. But of course global domination doesn’t rest. As soon as the wall came down the Volkswagen Group started consuming in 1991, and by 2000 Škoda was entirelyWolfsburg’s to do as the Germans pleased.
Long story short? Global domination means you can now buy a Golf GTI with a cleverer tailgate for less money. Everyone’s a winner, except Karl Marx and the badge snobs. Forget ’em.
Pop the boot in this Škoda, and, miracle! Not only does the boot open, but the entire tailgate and rear windscreen pop out of there like a hatchback. Now I’ve got 590 litres of cargo space and the rear seats are still up. Neuvěřitelný!
I realise 590 litres might not sound like much, or even useful at all without some context (the Golf, for example, has a paltry 380 litres of cargo space plus a much more cumbersome ingress to the area, and the Octavia is a closer match to estates and crossovers or full-size saloons) but that’s only because you’ve never had 590 litres available before. You’ll find yourself nipping out for half a tonne of potatoes every week. It’ll be knedlíky for breakfast, lunch and dinner. he interior is cheap though. Because the car is cheap, most likely. With a 2.0-litre turbo and 217bhp the Octavia vRS is Dh120,000. This gets you airconditioning and cruise control, a radio, good seats and little else – the quality of the materials and the finish is poorer than in a Volkswagen.
But it’s just so much fun to drive, with a nostalgic attempt at an aircooled sound from the exhaust (it’s actually synthesised) for anyone who remembers 130s and such.
The six-speed DSG twin-clutch has noticeably different mapping than in the Golf GTI, but in Sport mode the changes are sharp and with an electronic XDS+ the system mimics an oily differential by braking relevant front wheels and improving cornering.
Basically, even though a GTI will pull away from a vRS off the line, through the turns there’s nothing in it – the Škoda is just great to drive, and even on a highway it manages to magnify city speeds so it’s fun basically all the time. There’s a little vRS button on the centre console that you’ll want to just leave in Sport forever – the great thing is that after boot-up the car remembers your previous settings and stays there.
Quite literally, then, the Škoda Octavia vRS is a Volkswagen but without being so darn Germanic. Your GTI-driving friends might give you some flak. But they definitely won’t mind all the knedlíky.
Global domination means you can now buy a Golf GTI with a cleverer tailgate for less money
Octavia vRS 2.0-litre four-cyl turbo Transmission
Max torque Top speed 0-100kph Price Highs
Lows It’s fun to drive and not exactly lacking in cargo space