Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Our Fleet Test Drive: Skoda Octavia vRS - 1st Report Update
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Our Fleet Test Drive: Skoda Octavia vRS - 1st Report Update

Date: 12 November 2007   |   Author:

[3] 18-inch Zenith alloy wheels

Steering wheel-mounted audio controls would have been a nice touch...

12 NOVEMBER 2007
Mileage 3562
Forecast CPM 31.1p
Actual CPM 31.2p
Otherwise ergonomically sound, the lack of steering wheel-mounted audio controls is an annoying oversight that means a distracting ritual to change channels or alter volume levels.
31 OCTOBER 2007
Mileage 3062
Forecast CPM 31.5p
Actual CPM 33.0p
Cruise control is a mixed blessing – logical and easy to manipulate (and it keeps motorway cruising mpg down), but needs brain-engaging footwork to find brake when slowing for others.
15 OCTOBER 2007
Mileage 2400
Forecast CPM 31.5p
Actual CPM 33.0p
Weekend Oxfordshire-Scottish Borders round trip demonstrated 18-inch alloys may benefit RVs but compromise ride and road noise. Impressive 46mpg heading ‘uphill’ to Scotland.

Mileage 1687
Forecast CPM 31.6p
Actual CPM 31.5p
Threshing third gear engine noise compromises urban refinement. Cavernous boot also adds motorway boom with family dog on board and luggage cover away. Dog seems unfazed.

Mileage 1816
Forecast CPM 31.5p
Actual CPM 31.5p
Even when exploiting elastic mid-range torque on point-to-point runs, the fire engine-red vRS averages 46 mpg. We’re still mildly confused as to why the speedo isn’t linear.

Main Report

We've always been fans of the Octavia vRS. So much so, in fact, that editor Tristan Young has an estate model as his family transport. But, while the vRS is a great car, its petrol 200PS 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine means it's never been the most logical of business cars.

That's now changed, however, with Skoda launching a diesel version of its quickest model. So we've taken one for six months, picking the cavernous estate model to join our fleet.


The diesel Octavia vRS uses the 170PS 2.0 TDI engine also applied across various Audi, VW and Seat models in the VW Group.

Perusing the options list, we instantly bagged cruise control [1] (£180) because the car will be doing its fair share of long journeys, and the £260 rear parking sensors because they'll pay for themselves if they save a single parking scrape on what's not a small car. The only indulgences were the dual-zone aircon [2], jumbo box and rear electric windows that cost a total of £450, and upgrading to the 18-inch Zenith alloy wheels [3] for another £450. Skoda says most buyers step up from the standard 17-inch wheels, which as well as satisfying vanity issues, help the resale value. The vRS is available in a choice of five colours, and we've picked the stand-out Corrida Red.

Early impressions are positive in terms of the looks, interior quality and the huge amount of room for passengers and, in particular, luggage. The 580 litres of space with the rear seats up is plenty. Drop the rear seats and space rockets to 1620 litres.

There are a couple of early complaints. The ride is surprisingly unsettled at motorway speed, but is better around town, and the diesel engine isn't the quietest. And Skoda has also managed to fit an illogical speedometer. It goes up in 10mph increments until you hit 80mph, and then it switches to 20mph increments. Obviously it's only relevant abroad, where speed limits extend beyond 70mph, which is where the vRS has spent its running-in period cruising around northern France.

On its very first journey in our care in the UK, however, and with the odometer still reading less than 100 miles, a stone leapt from the M20 and put an eight-inch crack in the windscreen, kinked at 90 degrees halfway down. Given our recent windscreen woes and poor service from both RAC Auto Windscreens and Autoglass (Ford S-max and Toyota Auris respectively - see for the full story), there was a worry that the hat-trick would be an unfortunate one. But RAC this time came through, fitting a new screen quickly and efficiently. The first screen lasted 282 miles. An unfortunate start, but hopefully better things will follow.