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Used Skoda Octavia vRS long-term test review: report 2

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...

Used Skoda Octavia vRS long-term test review

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 2968 List price new (2019) £28,765 Price new with options £32,775 Value now £21,400 Test economy 28.1mpg Official economy 37.7mpg

12 August – A love affair is blossoming, but there's a potential problem... 

Even the most ardent admirer of the Octavia family hatchback would hesitate to call it stylish; instead, it embodies the principle of form following function.

However, mine is the vRS version, which marks it out as a hot hatch. And although some might think dolling up an Octavia with sporty accessories is like putting lipstick and blusher on Huw Edwards, my friends and family really like the look of this car.

Skoda Octavia vRS long-term

A large part of that must be down to its Meteor Grey colour, which is a supremely classy finish that if I could find a match on a domestic paint colour chart I’d happily use in my house: it’s Farrow and Ball on wheels. Meanwhile, the rest of my car’s greater visual appeal can be put down to its rear spoiler and upgraded 19in wheels.

And, in fact, the vRS really does live up to all that promise. You can potter around town all day with the turbocharged 2.0-litre engine smooth and unfussed, but find a suitable road and this Octavia takes off like a greyhound released from its trap.

The car steers and handles rather nicely, too; not with the outright eagerness of more ferocious rivals, such as the Honda Civic Type R or Renault Megane RS, but more like the closely related Mk7 Volkswagen Golf GTI and that, as anyone who's driven one of those will know, is a very good thing.

True, there is a slight hesitation when engaging drive or reverse, as you might expect given that it's a dual-clutch 'box, but this is actually no more time-consuming than the seconds taken to boot a clutch pedal and move a lever through a gate in a manual car.

Skoda Octavia vRS long-term

There is, however, an elephant in the room: the ride is firm. Very firm. Indeed, to drive my Octavia vRS over a broken-up urban road is to meet with suspension so stiff that it sometimes feels as if the tyres are full of concrete. Even my normally uninterested teenage daughters have complained about it, mainly because they sometimes find it impossible to text or even change the radio station while the car’s in motion.

Part of this can probably be attributed to those 19in wheels I mentioned earlier. But from new, it was also possible to specify the vRS with an option called Dynamic Chassis Control, which I’m told does wonders for the ride. My car, of course, came to me secondhand and doesn’t have it, but on reflection I think anyone looking to buy a vRS used would do well to try and find one that had this option ticked.

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