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Uh-oh. We've had a puncture in our Skoda Octavia vRS 245 - and there's no spare

Published: 22 June 2018

► Living with a Skoda Octavia vRS 245
► Long-term test review of Q-car estate
► A punchy 242bhp for less than £30k 

Month 3 of our Skoda Octavia vRS 245 long-term test review: puncture!

I’m kicking myself for not ticking the £105 space-saver option. It’s Saturday morning, first day of the school holidays. A seven-hour drive to Granny’s beckons. The last thing we need is five stationary hours before we’ve even set off. After ditching the dog at the kennel there’s an ominous thunk as we hit one of Devon’s million covert potholes. I jump out to confirm the worst: the off-side front tyre is pancaked. Predictably, it’s tipping it down.

I flip the boot carpet. No spare. No get-me-home skinny space saver, either. Just a can of foam I can’t use because foam can’t fix split sidewalls. 

AA man Paul arrives 80 minutes later, admits this happens all the time with modern low-profile rubber, jacks up the vRS and throws his yellow AA space saver on. Klang! It won’t fit over the 245 vRS-specific bigger brakes.

Me and two kids is one body too many to fit in his van, so he can’t tow us either. So we wait while he disappears to a tyre retailer in Plymouth to get our wheel wrapped in new Pirelli P Zero. Thank God for Netflix’s phone app and the Skoda’s comfy seats.

The five-hour fiasco meant the day was a total loss instead of the 10-minute inconvenience it would have been 20 years ago, when full-size wheels were still the norm.

By Chris Chilton

Month 2 living with an Octavia vRS 245: those wheels...

‘I love the paint! Not sure about those wheels though. Maybe on a Lamborghini.’

I’ve heard that about our Skoda more than once since taking delivery. The unusual Meteor Grey paint has met with wider approval than I’d expected. But the garish 19-inch rims don’t quite gel with the Octavia’s sober lines. Or the road surface. To be blunt, the ride is abysmal. Thump into a hidden pothole and you really do feel compelled to get out and check the car’s in one piece.

Skoda Octavia vRS 245 Estate 19-inch wheels

And if potholes don’t get them, kerbs will. My old Audi Q5’s same-sized rims featured pudgy muffin-top sidewalls that kept the rims unscathed. But the Skoda’s nearside front already has a nasty parking scar. 

On the flipside, the Skoda’s low sidewalls and generous contact patch are great for steering precision and traction.

By Chris Chilton

Logbook: Skoda Octavia vRS 245

Price £29,930 > 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 1702
Total 5002
Our mpg 29.2mpg
Official mpg 44.1mpg
Fuel this month £344.77
Extra costs None

Month 1 of our Skoda Octavia vRS 245 Estate long-term test: the introduction

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.

CAR magazine lives with a Skoda Octavia vRS Diesel Estate

Skoda Octavia vRS 245 Estate

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.

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.

Browse Skoda Octavia cars for sale

Skoda Octavia vRS 245 Estate: UK price is £29k

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

Price £29,930
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
Total 3301
Our mpg 29.3mpg
Official mpg 44.1mpg
Fuel this month £601.52  
Extra costs None

Catch up on more of the CAR magazine long-term test fleet here

By Chris Chilton

Contributing editor, ace driver, wit supplier, mischief maker