Skoda Octavia vRS Estate
Everyone loves a quick estate, don’t they? Well, everyone certainly should love a quick estate. In a world where in-yer-face SUVs have ruled supreme in the school-run-cool stakes for many years, real kudos deserves to go to the person with the taste and self confidence to ferry their belongings (family included) around in something more subtle. That doesn’t have to mean boring, though, quite the opposite. In fact, those with a genuine love of driving will appreciate the finer points of a car that sits a bit closer to the ground and stands a fighting chance in the aerodynamics battle.
At the time of writing, the internet is kind enough to bring us daily updates on that long-standing favourite – due later this year; the Golf Wagon R. It’s not here yet, though, and when it is it’ll likely be over £40k, and that’s where this steps in at £32k looking like a bit of a bargain; the Skoda Octavia vRS Estate.
Go for the Octavia hatch and you could grab even more of a performance steal, but it’s not hatchbacks we’re looking at here, it’s estates. And whilst we’re on the subject, Skoda have taken the reassuringly confident approach of sticking to the estate moniker; no wagons or sports tourers here – it’s an Octavia vRS Estate.
One vRS isn’t the same as the next
One Octavia vRS Estate isn’t necessarily the same as the next one, though. You don’t just choose between a couple of power outputs or even manual or auto, the Czechs have given us a whole myriad of vRSs to go at. There’s a 243bhp petrol with either a 7-speed DSG ‘box or 6-speed manual – the only none-DSG option across the range, by the way. There’s the diesel we have here, with 198bhp and DSG, but it also comes with the option of 4×4. And then there’s the wild-card selection, a 1.4 litre PHEV version, also with 243bhp. The hybrid officially gets over 233mpg and emits just 27g/km CO2. Officially. The petrol manual version is the cheapest vRS at just shy of £32k, the DSG petrol and FWD diesel have only a fiver between them at just over £33.5k, the 4×4 diesel is nearly £35k and the range-topping PHEV is £36,875.
How quick is the Octavia vRS estate?
When it comes down to performance, there’s not much to separate the vRS range. The petrol and 4×4 diesel variants get from 0-62mph in just shy of 7 seconds, the FWD diesel and hybrid come in at a nearer 7.5 seconds; not much between them in real-world driving, then.
This is the FWD diesel version, so pretty much the middle of the road option and the one you’re likely to opt for if you plan on doing a few miles. Otherwise, the petrol versions which are cheaper and quicker but less economical would be the sensible vRS estate to go for and the DSG petrol is likely to take the lion’s share of sales.
On the road, it does a good impression of a Golf GTI; useable, accessible performance without either scaring the bejesus out of you or grinding the base of your spine into the consistency of icing sugar. Despite the Wagon R, Volkswagen don’t make a Golf GTI estate – never have done for fear of tarnishing the hallowed GTI badge. The Octavia vRS estate isn’t quite as quick; the Golf GTI DSG’s 0-62mph is 6.2 seconds, and it loses out in the balance and poise stakes slightly, but it’s undeniably along the same lines. Perhaps it’s not an accident that the Octavia vRS estate fills a Golf GTI estate shaped gap, then?
More buttons = more useable
Sit inside the vRS and you may be glad it isn’t a Golf, anyway. The Mk 8 Golf has gone minimalist, getting rid of all but a smattering of buttons on the dashboard and becoming more reliant on the infotainment system to control things. There’s a 10 inch touchscreen dominating the centre of the dashboard, but there’s still some handy shortcut buttons, too. The steering wheel has also been garnished with some knurled wheels, perhaps most importantly there’s a wheel to adjust the stereo volume, so you don’t have to attempt to use the awkwardly placed touch-sensitive affairs under the touchscreen. The voice control button is also cleverly though out. You may feel a bit like a whiny toddler the first few times you tell ‘mum’ that your feet are cold, but the system works and you do get used to it.
Plenty of space
It may cost a bit of performance, but the vRS estate’s extra metal could be the deciding factor that keeps you out of an SUV. There may be snug sports seat up front, but sit in the back and it’s all about space and comfort. Let’s face it, if you’ve gone for the Octavia vRS estate, it’s probably because you plan on using the rear seats so the room available, plus the twin USB ports will be very welcome. Not only that, the whole car is wider and longer than the last gen, so the boot is a colossal 640 litres with the rear seats in place.
Should I buy an Octavia vRS estate?
It may not have the on-road presence to turn as many heads as the latest sports-SUV-coupe, but the Octavia vRS estate represents useable performance and living space without breaking the bank. It may well be the logical next step for the Golf GTI owner with an increasingly large family that wants to make a stand against the waves of SUVs.
By Ben Harrington
2021 Skoda Octavia vRS Estate TDI specifications:
Engine – 2.0l turbocharged diesel, Transmission – 7-speed DSG, Layout – Front engine, FWD, Power – 198bhp, Torque – 400Nm, Emissions – 132g/km CO2, Economy – 55.9mpg combined, Maximum Speed – 152mph, Acceleration – 7.4s 0-62mph, Price – £33,535 OTR