MANY PEOPLE still turn their noses up at Škoda. But it is madness to do that considering the brand is part of the respected VW family.

It is even crazier to ignore the high-octane Octavia vRS which has proved extremely popular since it was launched in 2000. More than 60,000 have been sold, 70 per cent of which were the estate version.

The sporty Škoda is available with a choice of two engines: the 200bhp 2.0 T FSI and the 170bhp 2.0 TDI CR. It was face-lifted back in April 2009 and still looks the business today with a redesigned front grille featuring the vRS logo, bold headlamps, front fog lamps and funky LED lamps for daytime lighting. On top of that is a large air intake covered in black mesh, while at the rear are twin chrome exhaust pipes to highlight the power under the bonnet of this Czech-made motor.

My demo car was the 2.0 T FSI estate model and came with fat 18” alloy wheels, metallic paint and a lowered (127mm) sports-tuned chassis. The vRS interior features sports seats with aluminium trim, a three spoke, leather-wrapped sports steering wheel, and instrument dials with white LED illumination.

Behind the wheel the athletic Škoda feels firm and brilliantly balanced. Put the pedal to the metal and the car takes off rapidly. Overtaking is a breeze, and the precise, well-weighted steering of the Octavia vRS inspires confidence. The car will wheel-spin with too much right foot action, but it never feels twitchy, despite its lively 0-62mph time of 7.3 seconds and top speed of 149mph. Even with all its muscle the estate achieves an average fuel economy of 37.7mpg with CO2 emissions of 175g/km. That’s not bad considering the performance at hand.

Of course having an estate car with clout is not the only selling point. The Octavia’s gigantic 625-litre boot will swallow your day-to-day luggage and more. As a dad of two I got a pushchair, bags of kids’ toys, and the supermarket shopping in there. And with the rear seats folded flat the room is extended to a whopping 1655-litres of space – perfect for fitting in a couple of mountain bikes and some weekend camping gear.

Škoda genuinely flourished throughout 2010 and is now firmly cemented as a class manufacturer. Anyone who still tells jokes about the make is seriously out of touch with the times. Jump in an Octavia vRS and it’ll make any badge snob with a lust for speed and space wonder why they paid thousands more just to avoid the Škoda brand name.



  • Speed    
  • Space    
  • Road holding
  • Škoda badge puts some people off  X



  • Max speed: 149 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 7.3 secs
  • Combined mpg: 37.7
  • Engine layout: 1984cc 4 cylinder 16v petrol
  • Max. power (bhp): 197 at 5100 – 6000 rpm
  • Max. torque (lb.ft): 206 at 1700 – 5000
  • CO2: 175 g/km      
  • Price: £21,185 OTR

Skoda Octavia Design Story

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