SKODA OCTAVIA vRS 4×4: one of today’s better buys

b5bd36e011a8f462fa63bd2f2e256434f34e5314YOU just can’t make jokes about Skodas any more – they’re too good for that.

Apart from this one. ‘What did the Skoda driver say to the rest of the traffic?’ See ya!

Particularly if the driver in question is piloting the current vRS hatch, a car that adequately shows how far the marque has come in the past quarter of a century of so under VW stewardship.

437d6b1beed42470a33e5530a064fc5b7105f801Czechoslovakia’s finest is proving particularly adept at showing a clean pair of wheels to a lot of its motoring opposition.

And the vRS of today is a nailed-on desirable car, a car with clearly defined family and sporting aspirations.

The Mk1 Octavia that made its debut here in 1998 was the first completely new Skoda to be built under the ownership of the VW Group and the name has been synonymous with success ever since.

It’s a car where ride quality is well up to the mark, and it scored highly in its ability to soak up the bumps and thumps of our potholed road network.

3e2a0ea2008b618cbc705237ac0b6d4f07579f24Even the scandalous state of the blacktop outside our local hospital wasn’t a problem in a car where a swift change of direction to miss the worst of the holes can be achieved thanks to the quick steering and surefooted reserves of grip offered by its four wheel drive system.

Equipment levels are high and the interior is finished to a high standard. It’s something of a constant thread with all VW Group products and it’s something you come to expect in every new product you slip behind the wheel of. Neat, clear, uncluttered and everything within reach of the driver.

It’s one of the more attractive cars Skoda have produced (against the Roomster and Yeti for certain), with its streamlined profile, and the build quality is commendable for the price.

It’s an area that most manufacturers spend a lot of time trying to get right, and you can see influences from other parts of the VW Group – of which Skoda is part – as you glance around the interior. It’s very well fitted and kitted.

363956c8d16b857f5a5c44932678711ac21a595bIt has rather a lot of interior space – the legroom available for occupants is exemplary and even with the drivers seats set well back there’s still a decent amount of room for the passenger immediately behind. Add in comfortable seats and everyone is happy, however long the trip. And there’s a vast boot to gobble up your luggage. Five passengers? No problem.

A bit of unbridled hooliganery courtesy of the grunt on offer from the 2.0litre TDI can get your adrenalin levels pumping and really shove you back into the sculpted seating. A car in which, when the circumstances dictate, you can have a lot of fun – a LOT of fun.

A selection of driver modes and a wide pick from the parts catalogue when it comes to standard equipment, which includes some smart 18 inch alloys, rear parking sensors (but no camera), full LED headlights, and this little lot – ESC inc ABS, EBV, MSR, ASR, EDS, HBA, DSR, ESBS, TSA, MKBXDS and Prefill. That should keep you safe enough…..

There are neat little touches like the phone holder that sits inside one of the cup holders and keeps your mobile close at hand and linked to the inbuilt Bluetooth.

No longer just a user-friendly car, Octavia is now a very comfortable and accomplished user friendly car. Not to mention a pretty swift one in this guise.

Skoda has gone from a one model niche manufacturer a quarter of a century ago to the current status as a volume manufacturer with a splendid breadth of product. And this is just one.

Probably as good a car as you can buy today.

FOR: bigger than a Golf GTI
AGAINST: not a Golf GTI

FASTFACTS: Skoda Octavia VRS hatch 4×4; £28,200; 1968cc TDI, 184ps, 380Nm; six speed DSG; top speed 142mph, 0-62mph 7.6secs; fuel – urban 47.9, extra urban 60.1, combined 55.4; CO2 134g/km; will it fit the garage? 4689/1814/1448 (l/w/h).

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