New Skoda Octavia vRS Problem 2019 assessment
The vRS Problem mannequin arguably ups the ‘coronary heart’ side that drives so many scorching hatch purchases; in addition to the usual mannequin’s 242bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine (no diesel Problem is obtainable, although you may have an Property), digital limited-slip differential and vRS bodykit, you get adaptive dampers, a sports activities exhaust, Alcantara seats, and 19-inch alloy wheels.
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And the top bit? Effectively, that’s nonetheless taken care of by the Octavia’s huge 590-litre boot, the copious rear legroom and the reassurance of Skoda’s fifth-place exhibiting in our 2019 Driver Energy survey. What’s extra, Skoda claims the choices added to the Problem characterize a £2,430 saving over a typical vRS (which is £2,460 cheaper) with the identical containers ticked.
The styling tweaks could also be so delicate as to incorporate black vRS badging and exhaust ideas, however, together with the ‘Xtreme’ alloy wheels, they lend the vRS a pleasingly delicate sense of menace that’s consistent with the recent Octavia’s character.
One other function the Problem will get over the usual automobile is a set of power-operated Alcantara seats. These are relatively pretty, having an honest stability of assist and luxury, and including a lightweight sense of event to the in any other case conservative cabin.
Issue within the digital dials (an inexpensive £450 choice) and the well-judged ‘Supersport’ steering wheel of the usual vRS, and this can be a Skoda that comes fairly near feeling like a automobile from one of many established premium producers.
One small niggle: the Problem could also be well-equipped, however the lack of a reversing digital camera appears odd. True, you get all-round parking sensors on the usual equipment record, and you’ll add a digital camera for £380 if you want, however its omission from a £30,000-plus Skoda appears unusual nonetheless.
The Problem isn’t any completely different to drive from the usual Octavia vRS, so that you get dealing with that errs on the protected relatively than the scintillating aspect of the recent hatch scale, with steering that finally lacks really feel however weights up pleasingly in Sport mode. The six-speed handbook feels constructive sufficient, although it lacks the delicacy of, say, a Civic Sort R’s gearbox. The £1,000 or so Skoda asks for a DSG dual-clutch auto is a simple expense to justify, then, not least as a result of this can be a pure match for the engine’s easy energy supply.
That linear acceleration and Octavia’s planted nature imply it’s nonetheless a rewarding automobile when urgent on; get it in second, third or fourth and also you’ll collect tempo with pleasing tempo. Grip is spectacular, bolstered by the digital limited-slip diff that pulls you tight to the apex on low-grip surfaces.
The Problem will get Dynamic Chassis Management as customary (it’s an £870 choice usually), and this can be a welcome addition. Holding the dampers in Consolation ends in a experience high quality that’s completely acceptable for day-to-day driving – although maybe ‘consolation’ may be stretching issues a bit. Switching to Sport corporations issues up sufficiently, making the Problem feels taut and sporting.
The ever present 2.0-litre EA888 engine fitted to vRS Problem (in addition to the Volkswagen Golf R and GTI, SEAT Leon Cupra, and Audi S3) has many qualities, however a scintillating exhaust word will not be amongst them. To compensate, the vRS Problem will get a “sports activities sound” exhaust, which pipes synthesised noise into the cabin when Sport mode is chosen. The ensuing word is definitely sporty sufficient, and a pleasant trick to supply, however at occasions it sounds nearer to boxer-engine warble than an in-line four-cylinder, additional detracting from its authenticity.
None of this dents the inherent attraction of the Problem, nonetheless, which makes the many of the Octavia vRS’s many abilities, including some selection choices and a sprinkling of aesthetic tweaks. Sure, on the vRS Problem is pricier than extra highly effective, extra thrilling scorching hatches just like the Hyundai i30 N and Renault Megane RS, however these vehicles are much less forgiving, much less sensible, and prone to be far more durable to justify for household consumers.