RS 162TSI

VER­DICT There’s pre­cious lit­tle in it. The Levorg deals bet­ter with reg­u­lar slip­pery roads. Most peo­ple will be happy with the Skoda’s greater in­te­rior space, lower pur­chase price and cheaper run­ning costs.

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Head To Head -

VALUE

The $43,290 drive-away deal for the six-speed dual-clutch auto makes the Skoda more than $4000 cheaper than the Levorg. It costs just $1197 for three years’ servicing — with an­nual or 15,000km vis­its. Adap­tive cruise con­trol and au­tonomous emer­gency brak­ing are stan­dard; the $1700 Tech Pack bun­dles lane-keep­ing as­sist, auto park­ing and up­graded in­fo­tain­ment dis­play.

DE­SIGN-TECH

Not much sep­a­rates this duo in­side in equip­ment and pre­sen­ta­tion. Each has in­fo­tain­ment screen plus du­pli­cate but­tons for quick ac­cess and oblig­a­tory three-dial air­con con­trols. The Skoda seems slightly less clut­tered. Out­side, RS badges are the sole con­ces­sion to a sporty look.

EN­GINE

The 2.0-litre turbo (162kW/350Nm) is down on power but pro­duces full torque be­tween 1500rpm and 4400rpm — peak power kicks in at 6200rpm. The DSG en­sures you’re in the right gear at the right time. Don’t bother with Drive Mode but­ton — the syn­the­sised snarl is too in­tru­sive in Sport set­ting. Leave it in nor­mal and shift the trans­mis­sion lever to sport when you want to play.

SAFETY

Seven airbags earn top marks as a fam­ily-fo­cused run­about. The body is ro­bust, the brakes bite hard even after re­peated hits and safety soft­ware works as in­tended, though it is also prone to the oc­ca­sional “false pos­i­tive” where the com­puter is con­cerned well be­fore the driver.

DRIV­ING

The re­mark­able elec­tronic diff keeps the front-drive Oc­tavia track­ing true — it doesn’t take much to spin the front tyres when the turbo spools up, though it is rarely ac­com­pa­nied by wheel­tug­ging torque-steer. Sta­bil­ity con­trol in­ter­venes sub­tly. It isn’t as af­fected by mid-cor­ner bumps as the Subaru but can lack trac­tion in scrappy con­di­tions. Tows 1600kg to the Levorg’s 1200kg.

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