Our Fleet Test Drive: Skoda Octavia vRS - 2nd Report Update
25 January 2008
Author: Hugh Hunston
 Suede-finish sports seats
Freezing temperatures have resulted in the Octavia taking a little while to warm up in the mornings...
|25 JANUARY 2008|
|Miles driven 19,245|
|Average consumption 43.0mpg|
|Forecast cpm 32.2p|
|Actual cpm 32.7p|
|Sub-zero early morning starts have shown the Octavia relatively slow to warm up and defrost. That has resulted in prolonged anti-green idling and much scraping/spraying of the estate’s large glass area, plus the wiping of screen moisture inside. We’ve also had the car’s first glitch; the failure of the offside front sidelight, a fact confirmed by a fascia warning light. Within 24 hours I’d noticed a similar fault on two other 07-reg Octavias. Otherwise, all is well with the Czech load-lugger, particularly the well-screwed-together interior.|
|11 JANUARY 2008|
|Forecast CPM 36.1p|
|Actual CPM 39.5p|
|Skoda’s see-through glass factory in Mlada Boleslav is not only highly productive but, judging by our vRS estate’s rattle-free and solid construction, also highly effective.|
Since late August, time and distance have not diminished the Octavia vRS estate's appeal, although familiarity has highlighted some in-built shortcomings.
The 18-inch alloy wheels , a £450 upgrade, might add value when the Octavia is sold, but function is compromised by form in terms of unsettled ride quality, road noise and a wider turning circle. On long-haul motorway runs this lack of refinement means high volume CD playing - rather radio DJ blether or sports commentaries - is the order of the day. On the plus side, however, having wheels that are too big for the car compensates with ample reserves of grip, precise handling and excellent braking.
The Octavia's VW family diesel engine - the pragmatic 170PS alternative to the 200PS 2.0-litre petrol - is not the smoothest operator having been upstaged by more urbane Ford Mondeo and Renault Laguna III units, but combines muscular mid-range fourth and fifth gear surge with impressive actual fuel consumption. This computes to an overall 46mpg whatever your driving style - including spikes above 50mpg - which equates to a 550-mile range. These figures can only help Skoda's aim of courting younger corporate drivers with the proposition that performance and cost-effectiveness are not mutually exclusive.
The vRS's effective sports seats  and trim complement logical and gizmo-free ergonomics (although it lacks steering wheel-operated sound system controls) while the strong performance, capacious boot and good rear passenger space make this a car we're still liking living with.