► Living with a Skoda Octavia vRS 245
► Long-term test review of Q-car estate
► A punchy 242bhp for less than £30k
Voluminous? Versatile? Vast? Vroomy? When it comes to what the ‘v’ in ‘vRS’ stands for, all of those words apply to our new Skoda Octavia 245, but none is actually correct. Apparently it’s not a letter ‘v’ at all, but a hachek diacritic, which means it’s one of those inverted hats from the Czech language that you’d also see above the ‘S’ in Skoda if we bothered to present it properly.
The vRS brand has been around since 2001 (though in other markets cars are badged purely as RS) and a chunky 20 per cent of all Octavias sold in the UK get the performance treatment. But the car we’ve got here is a little more ‘v’ than the rest. Skoda has offered a choice of diesel or petrol power in the Octavia vRS for years but with the recent facelift of the third-generation car (characterised by some uglier but more distinctive headlights) it’s now introduced a higher-power petrol option for the first time: the vRS 245.
CAR magazine lives with a Skoda Octavia vRS Diesel Estate
In concept it’s very similar to the Performance Pack option you can tick when ordering a VW Golf GTi. For £2410 over the £25,185 cost of a regular vRS you get a power increase from 227bhp to 242bhp, plus bigger wheels and some smart black trim on the grille, the mirror caps and the tailpipes of the fruitier exhaust.
If those sound like expensive ponies then consider you also get lower, stiffer suspension and an electronically controlled limited-slip diff that’s exclusive to the 245 and might come in handy because the only four-wheel-drive vRS is the diesel. And finally, if you choose the optional DSG ’box over the six-speed manual, you get seven ratios instead of the ordinary vRS’s six.
The vRS hatch has a huge 590-litre boot and the £1200 pricier estate’s is technically only 20 litres bigger with the seats up, but we went for the wagon anyway because it’s more usefully shaped, not least for my dog. And we splashed out again, this time to the tune of £1390, for that 245-specific seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
If the ordinary vRS colour palette is limited, the 245’s is almost Model T-like. We picked out Meteor Grey, which is a £380 option and has been around for a while, but still looks very cool and hides winter grime well.
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Sticking with the muted theme we decided against the red-accented seat trim, but did throw in a few options. There’s DCC adaptive dampers, not cheap at £850, but probably a sensible idea given the up-sized rims; keyless entry and start at £400; £1150’s worth of panoramic roof to throw some light on the very grey interior; a reversing camera (£375); Canton hi-fi upgrade (£500) and the very slick Columbus sat-nav system with Smartlink+ and integrated wi-fi at £1050.
That lot makes this a £37k car – not bad for the spec, quality and performance, but far removed from the £25k a basic vRS hatch costs. Is the 245 worth the extra outlay or would you be better off in every sense sticking to Skoda’s value-conscious roots and choosing the already excellent standard vRS? Stick with us and we’ll find out.
By Chris Chilton
Logbook: Skoda Octavia vRS 245
As tested £36,850
Engine 1984cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 242bhp @ 5000rpm, 273lb ft @ 1600rpm
Transmission 7-speed dual-clutch auto, front-wheel drive
Performance 6.5sec 0-62mph, 156mph, 146g/km CO2
Miles this month 3175
Our mpg 29.3mpg
Official mpg 44.1mpg
Fuel this month £601.52
Extra costs None
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