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Used Skoda Octavia vRS long-term test review: report 1

You get a lot of space and performance for your money with a used Skoda Octavia vRS. But is the car as impressive an all-rounder as it sounds? We're living with one to find out...

Skoda Octavia vRS

The car 2019 Skoda Octavia vRS 2.0 TSI 245 DSG Run by Mark Pearson, used cars editor

Why it’s here To find out if the high-performance version of the outgoing, immensely practical Octavia makes sense as a used purchase

Needs to Show its performance credentials against some mighty fine rivals, and cope with the daily grind of work and family life

Mileage 2588 List price new (2019) £28,765 Price new with options £32,775 Value now £21,400 Test economy 28.1mpg Official economy 37.7mpg Options fitted 19in Xtreme silver alloy wheels (£650); Canton sound system (£510); Electric sunroof (£880); Front and rear parking sensors (£400); Keyless entry and start/stop (£410); Rear-view parking camera (£380); Virtual cockpit (£455); vRS colour (£305)

16 July – Family man seeks sporty car for fun and adventure

In family car circles, the Skoda Octavia has long been a living legend. It’s the Czech brand’s best-selling model worldwide, and it still accounts for a quarter of all Skoda sales in the UK.


It’s also one of our favourite family hatchbacks, with an all-new, more efficient fourth-generation version of the car going on sale later this year. That news gave me, an Octavia fan of many years standing and with my used car editor hat perched firmly on my head, an idea; that it would be a good time to run the outgoing model.

The car that it would be replacing as my daily driver is the Alfa Romeo Giulia, an executive saloon whose raison d'etre is undoubtedly its appeal to the enthusiastic motorist. Hence on my driveway now is my new (to me) 2019 third-generation Octavia in Meteor Grey, but it's not just any old Octavia; this is the vRS Octavia, a 242bhp hot hatch.

Skoda Octavia vRS long-term

Despite being on the surface a relatively innocuous-looking and wonderfully spacious five-door family car it is actually capable of knocking off the 0-62mph sprint in a mere 6.7sec and going on to reach 155mph. You see, the vRS takes all the regular Octavia qualities of sensible and practical and functional, and adds a bit of spice. And I like life to have a bit of flavour, don’t you?

Under the skin, of course, it shares much with the delightful Mk7 Volkswagen Golf GTI, another car that will soon be superseded by an all-new model, so I’m expecting it to be a bit fruity on the road. I’ve got an electronic limited-slip differential, for one, the better to exit corners when the blood is pumping hard through the veins, as well as firmed-up and 12mm lower suspension than the standard cooking Octavia.

According to my car’s spec sheet, I’ve also got ESC including ABS, EBV, MSR, ASR, EDS, HBA, DSR, ESBS, TSA, MKB and XDS, which sounds, er, clear enough. However, I wouldn’t put too much store by that spec sheet because it also told me I had electric seat adjustment and folding mirrors, and in fact I don’t.

Skoda Octavia vRS long-term

Overall, though, I think I’ve chosen well here. The questions I hope to answer will be these: is this the right version of the Octavia, or would I have been better off with one of the more everyday models, and is buying used rather than new a wise thing to do?

Well, to deal with the latter question first, while this car would have cost me £28,765 new – or £32,775 with all the options fitted – my six-month-old car is worth £21,400, which in my book is a useful saving.

And to the former, I have to say my car is very handsomely equipped. As standard, I’ve got cruise control, sat-nav, dual-zone air-con, LED headlights and, of course, the ubiquitous Skoda folded umbrella under the front passenger seat.

The vRS sporty details include bespoke seats, aluminium pedals, a sporty leather steering wheel and some rather dainty gearshift paddles, as well as the vRS logos on the seats and door sills.

Skoda Octavia vRS long-term

On top of that, my car's first owner ticked a whole host of options, including the stunning looking 19in Xtreme silver alloy wheels – which means I’ll have to park at least a foot from any high kerb – an impressive Canton sound system, a neat electric sunroof, front and rear parking sensors – without which I wouldn’t attempt parking – and a small option that one easily overlooks but one that is so useful I would recommend it above all others, the keyless entry that means you don’t have to fumble in your pockets every time you approach the car.

First impressions? It’s quick, and smooth, and rather good fun, and there’s plenty of room to take your family along for the journey, too. However, they’ll need to be fairly resilient: this car’s ride is firm, and occasionally a little unforgiving. A fair pay off for such sporty pretensions? I shall report back soon.

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