The 2014 Skoda Octavia is bigger and more powerful than its predecessor, and more practical too.
Any good to drive?
Skoda says this new Octavia RS is the fastest production one yet and with its 0-100km/h time tumbling from 7.2 seconds to 6.8 seconds, it’s not wrong. We tested the six-speed DSG-equipped variant which stops the clock at 6.9 seconds for the 0-100km/h sprint (the VW Golf GTI manages the sprint in 6.5 seconds).
Skoda’s engineers have hiked up the power and torque from the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, which now produces 162kW of power (up 15kW) and 350Nm from 1500-4000rpm. This, in our test car, at least, is mated to a six-speed DSG (a six-speed manual is standard) and fuel consumption is 6.9L/100km (it’s a little lower in the manual-toting variant – 6.4L/100km).
The Skoda Octavia RS shares much of its running gear with the VW Golf GTI, but unlike the GTI the Octavia RS does without adaptive suspension but shares its software-based XDL system which can softly brake both inside wheels, allowing for a torque increase on the outer wheel to ensure tight cornering.
Driven with enthusiasm, the Octavia RS rewards with meaty and direct steering, vice-like grip, indeed you’d have to have fists made of ham and fingers of butter to get the snout to run wide in corners.
Room to move?
The new Octavia RS shares the same longer wheelbase of its garden-variety (although it sits 12mm lower in Sedan trim), meaning its 102mm longer, between the axles, than its predecessor. But, on the outside, there’s no mistaking the Octavia RS for a regular Octavia.
This increase in size has made more interior room available for driver and passengers, particularly those travelling in the back seat. Indeed, head, elbow and legroom has grown substantially over the previous-generation Octavia RS.
We tested the Sedan which has seen bootspace increase by eight litres to 568 litres (588L in the wagon) which grows to 1558 litres with the rear seats folded down (they don’t go completely flat (the Wagon grows to 1718 litres, allowing for objects up to 2.92 metres in length to be carried).
How much and what do you get?
The Skoda Octavia RS is based on the Octavia Elegance equipment package, and that means it’s impressively equipped, with dual-zone climate control (with humidity sensor), front and rear one-touch power windows, colour multi-function display (with sat-nav), front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth with audio streaming, rain-sensing wipers and more. In terms of pricing, the Octavia RS 162 TSI Manual lists from $36,490 (+ORC), the Octavia RS 162 TSI DSG (which we’re testing) lists from $38,790 (+ORC), and the diesel-powered Octavia RS 135 TDI DSG starts at $39,790 (+ORC), the Wagon adds $1350 to the price.
Is it safe?
The Octavia RS receives a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating and numerous active and passive safety systems, like stability (offering dynamic modes) and traction controls, multi-collision brake, tyre pressure control, nine airbags, and LED daytime running lights.
Rather than try and compete with the Volkswagen Golf GTI, the Skoda Octavia RS gets most of that cars best bits, is only a smidgen slower than it, is a lot cheaper, and offers a lot more room for a family. The Octavia RS might not be quite as dynamic as the Golf GTI, but it’s near enough that you won’t be disappointed. Is it the better, more practical car, no doubt about it.
Skoda Octavia RS 162 TSI DSG
Price from $38,790 (+ORC – DSG) Warranty three-years, unlimited kilometres Safety five-star ANCAP Engine 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol Power/Torque 162kW/350Nm Transmission six-speed DSG (six-speed manual is standard) Body 4685mm (L); 1814mm (W) Weight 1417kg Thirst 6.6L/100km (combined)
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