In-depth reviews

Skoda Octavia vRS (2014-2019) review – pace, space and value from Skoda’s Golf GTI equivalent

Not the most fun, but well-rounded and good value too

Evo rating
  • Value, practicality and impressive pace in a handsome form
  • Not as sharp as some, 4x4 model diesel-only

There’s an inherent rightness to Skoda’s Octavia vRS. From the linear delivery of its engine to its excellent driving position; from to the slick and easy gearbox –  whether it’s equipped with a manual or dual-clutch transmission – to its neat and effective handling, it's easy to adapt to and feels comfortable being driven with spirit.

It’s not the most expressive car, it is based on the Golf GTI after all, but as it’s not dressed up like a hot hatch there isn’t the same expectation for it to drive like one; its saloon body doesn’t suggest the highly aggressive, pointy attitude that modern performance hatches exhibit. Instead, it’s effective, fast, demanding enough to drive to be involving and the performance is eminently usable.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

Its ace card is that none of the vRS upgrades impact the Octavia’s supreme practicality. There is acres of rear leg room, there’s still a huge boot whether it’s the hatch or the estate version, there are clips to hold parking tickets, storage and cubby holes everywhere, and you can even get an interior bin. A firm ride, especially from cars fitted with the optional 19-inch wheels, is the only aspect of the vRS that slightly nibbles away at the car’s ultra usable nature, but even at its firmest it's still far from uncomfortable.

It's a mark of that useful, all-round appeal that we had three vRSs in a row on the evo magazine Fast Fleet, and they're adept at everything from making progress down a B-road, to long motorway trips, to ferrying photographers and all their gear – and they excel at family life, too.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The Octavia vRS range had a bit of a shake-up after its recent facelift. The new entry-level petrol car has 227bhp, the same output as the old limited top-spec model. The most powerful version now has 242bhp, 19-inch wheels, dark trim and, importantly, a limited slip differential. The diesel-powered version hasn’t changed much; it still has a 181bhp turbocharged four-cylinder. All models are available as a hatchback or a saloon and with the choice of either a manual or dual-clutch gearbox. Most of the range is front-wheel drive, however you can get a diesel DSG vRS with four-wheel drive, if you wish.

Skoda Octavia vRS in detail

  • > Performance and 0-60mph time – vRS 245 now tops the performance table, hitting 62mph in a brisk 6.6sec. Even the diesel is quick, covering the same measure in 7.6sec.
  • > Engine and gearbox – The vRS range is fairly simple: A brace of 2-litre engines, one petrol, one diesel. A brace of transmissions, one manual, one DSG. And either two- or four-wheel drive. Sadly, the 4x4 is both diesel and DSG-only, but it's a great all-rounder.
  • > Ride and handling – Closer to a sports saloon than a hot hatch despite similarities to the Golf GTI, but still entertaining. 4x4 adds all-weather ability and security.
  • > MPG and running costs – Diesels are naturally the most frugal – our long-termer averaged mid-40s mpg – but no vRS will be particularly taxing to run.
  • > Interior and tech – Skoda has kept the cabin design simple. Doesn't feel special, but does feel well-built and well-equipped.
  • > Design – A handsome beast, perhaps rendered slightly less so by the latest facelift with its dual-headlamp arrangement.

Prices, specs and rivals

There are five different engine and transmission combinations to choose from on the Skoda Octavia vRS as well as two body styles. When mated to a manual gearbox both the diesel and petrol models are priced just below £26k, if you want the DSG (automatic) you’ll have to fork out another £1400. Four-wheel drive is available, but its exclusive to the 2-litre diesel paired to the DSG ‘box and tops the range in terms of price at just below £29k.

Red and white are the sole cost-free paint finishes being offered, although the optional metallic and pearl effect colours aren't too pricey at £400. The standard alloy wheels are available in silver or grey, however you can swap them for bigger, silver items for £655.

> For an in-depth review of the Skoda Octavia, check out our sister site Carbuyer

It’s easy to negate the Skoda’s keen pricing with a liberal approach to adding options, the extras list is long so some restraint is required. However, it’s worth equipping Dynamic Chassis Control at £860, so you can slacken off and ramp up the chassis responses according to the roads you’re faced with – it’s the only performance upgrade available on the car. The higher spec vRS 245 trim is no longer available with the Octavia coming towards the end of its life.

Advertisement - Article continues below

As many know, the vRS and VW Golf GTI/GTD employ the same underpinnings and powertrains. While that may be the case, the GTI is marginally better to drive, and its higher list price of £29k (for a five-door) is reflected by a higher quality interior and a more premium appeal overall.

If you require the extra practicality of the vRS estate, the Ford Focus ST estate is priced on a par and delivers similar performance. Its turbocharged 2-litre develops 247bhp and 257lb ft of torque that has it sprint from 0 to 62mph in 6.7sec.


More on Octavia vRS

Skoda Octavia vRS hatchback

Abt reveals performance upgrade for Skoda Octavia vRS

Skoda’s sensible sports estate and liftback to gain power boost to 286bhp from German tuner Abt
23 Apr 2019
Skoda Octavia vRS hatchback

Special edition Skoda Octaivia vRS Challenge revealed

Skoda has revealed details of a UK-only Octavia vRS Challenge with plenty of standard goodies
1 Feb 2019
Skoda Octavia vRS hatchback

Skoda Octavia vRS Estate review – the perfect balance of practicality and performance?

It’s not the fastest or the most exciting, but few cars cover all bases quite as well as the Octavia vRS Estate
15 Jun 2018
Skoda Octavia vRS hatchback

Skoda Octavia vRS 245 review - the hottest Octavia gets hotter

The practical Czech hatchback has more than just a hint of sportiness in vRS 245 guise
7 Jun 2017
Skoda Octavia vRS hatchback

2017 Skoda Octavia vRS review - bigger and cheaper than a Golf GTI, but better?

Facelifted Octavia vRS is a great all-rounder and fine value
13 Apr 2017
Skoda Octavia vRS hatchback

Skoda Octavia vRS 245 revealed - Skoda's Golf GTI rival gets more power

Top of the range Octavia vRS gets 242bhp and limited slip differential, shown off in Geneva
8 Mar 2017
Skoda Octavia vRS hatchback

2017 Skoda Octavia vRS order books open

New styling and a small power hike for Skoda's range-topping Octavia, due in 2017. Updated with more images.
25 Jan 2017
Skoda Octavia vRS hatchback

Should I keep my Skoda Octavia vRS? – evo Market

If you can’t face selling your car, take a look at the latest options to upgrade and improve it instead
9 Aug 2016
Skoda Octavia vRS hatchback

Skoda Octavia vRS 4x4 review - does extra traction equal extra fun?

The practical Octavia vRS and vRS estate get the option of all-wheel drive, for a £1450 premium. Is it worth the extra?
1 Feb 2016
Skoda Octavia vRS hatchback

Skoda Octavia vRS gets four-wheel drive for all-weather appeal

Four-wheel drive gives diesel versions of the vRS a welcome traction boost
2 Oct 2015
Skoda Octavia vRS hatchback

Skoda Octavia vRS 230 review - most powerful vRS ever

Fastest Skoda vRS ever tops the range and is the Octavia to go for
3 Sep 2015
Skoda Octavia vRS hatchback

Skoda Octavia vRS 230 planned, power hike set for Geneva unveil

New 227bhp Skoda is fastest series production car produced by the brand
20 Feb 2015