Skoda launched its new Octavia onto the Irish market in March this year, since the first Octavia went on sale here in 1998 more than 40,600 Octavia’s have been sold. The new model offers increased space and improved efficiency thanks to a range of new petrol and diesel engines.
At the top of the range sits the RS models, they aren’t Octavia’s with a few additional trim pieces and spoilers, they are the real deal for driving enthusiasts. The RS brand has become well respected over the years for what it represents, they are a genuine rival for the GTI’s of this world. The new Octavia RS is available as a saloon or estate, Combi in Skoda terms. With just €1,000 separating the saloon and Combi TDI variants, we’d strongly encourage you to opt for the latter, offering additional space for passengers and luggage. It’s this RS Combi that we’ve recently tested in TDI guise, you can of course have a 220hp petrol model (from €34,445) if you prefer,
Finished in white with contrasting black alloy wheels and twin exhaust, the Octavia RS Combi has a purposeful look about it, it’s certainly better proportioned and therefore prettier than its saloon sibling (that’s my opinion). Skoda has delicately beefed up the Octavia into this RS variant, it’s fairly subtle although there’s enough clues for the enthuasist to note it’s the real deal. Wherever we parked the RS during our week-long evaluation it attracted admirers. The interior has a sporty feel to it, with two figure-hugging sports seats up front that offer excellent support and comfort, along with a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel, that’s chunky and tactile to hold. The standard level of equipment is generous, just some of these items include Bi-Xenon headlights, rear parking sensors, 18” alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone air conditioning and rain sensing wipers.
The best part of the Octavia RS Combi is in the way it delivers on the road. There’s a respectable 184hp produced from its 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine, shared with a healthy 380Nm of torque. Combined with a six-speed manual transmission that’s light to touch with positive short crisp gear changes, the RS delivers with rapid pace. It sounds great too, I know it’s a diesel but it has a great sound track to it. With a surge in mid-range torque in comparison to a petrol variant, this RS Combi can cover ground at a brisk pace. The damping and chassis control is most impressive, with genuine feedback evident through the steering wheel. You’d have to spend a considerable amount of additional euros to step into an Audi or BMW comparable competitor.
At the end of a long spirited trip in the RS Combi you’re left feeling refreshed and alive, happy too, when you take into account the fuel economy on offer. This diesel RS will return a combined fuel consumption of just 4.6L/100km (61.4mpg) impressive when you consider the performance on offer.
Competitor wise, nothing springs to mind that offers the same load lugging space combined with real-world performance motoring at this price (€33,745). If you’re a petrol purist you can have this RS Combi with the 2.0-litre TSI 220hp petrol engine for €35,545 but really we feel the diesel is the better buy all-round. It’s the perfect family car for the bloke that’s had his first child and has to relinquish his much-loved hot hatch. The Octavia RS Combi swallows all the family luggage and pets effortlessly, yet thrills the driver in abundance on each and every drive. Unquestionably it’s one of my top five cars of 2013.
[table “152” not found /]