The interior layout, fit and finish
The Skoda Octavia vRS offers generous adjustment to its steering wheel and seat, and the pedals are well placed. Adjustable lumbar support and a central armrest are included, too. The vRS models get supportive, bespoke seats that are especially comfortable on long journeys while Challenge trim adds electric adjustment with memory.
An 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system comes as standard and does away with physical buttons surrounding the screen. Instead, it’s entirely touchscreen-controlled, including the shortcut buttons, which makes it a bit harder to select the main menus on the move. Aside from that slight ergonomic annoyance, it’s a brilliant system that’s very bright, clear, well ordered and responsive, matching most other systems in the class and making the optional 9.2in system redundant. That said, systems from BMW, Audi and Mercedes do it even better.
Forward visibility in the Octavia is good; the windscreen pillars rarely obscure your view at junctions or roundabouts. Over-the-shoulder visibility isn’t great, though, as the car’s chunky rear pillars can block your view of vehicles that are overtaking in the next lane. The estate’s rear visibility is similarly obscured.
In parking situations, it’s easy to judge where the bonnet ends. Rear parking sensors are standard while front and rear sensors together are an option, or standard on Challenge models. They’re a worthwhile feature because the vRS is a long car, and it can be a little hard to judge where the boot ends, especially as an estate. A rear-view parking camera is an option on both models if you need even more reassurance.
Some of the materials around the lower parts of the cabin and around the seat bases feel more durable than upmarket, but the plastics in more prominent areas are textured and pleasant to the touch. The switches are nicely damped, too.
The Up GTI is the best budget hot hatch you can buy
The Abarth 595 is startlingly quick and wonderfully stylish, b...
Without upping your budget considerabl...
The Suzuki Swift Sport is well equipped and fun to drive, but...