Skoda Octavia RS 2010 Car Reviews | NRMA Motoring & Services

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Skoda Octavia

RS Car Reviews

Author: NRMA Motoring Date: 1 February 2010

The Czech car maker has been back in Australia for two years now but you would be forgiven for not knowing that. Despite figures of 1000 plus sales a year you don’t see many Skodas on the road.

What most people don’t know is that Skoda is owned by Volkswagen and that most Skodas are built off the underpinnings of the Golf.

Take the Octavia RS. It is, principally, a Volkswagen Golf GTI underneath with a Skoda body on top. The core mechanicals and chassis are shared.

The car we are testing is the new version of the RS. It comes with the 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder engine that was in the previous generation Golf GTI and is available in either a liftback (hatch) or wagon. There is also a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine for more frugal motoring.

The 2009 model year change saw some upgrades to the RS range including a new Bolero radio with touch screen technology and SD reader and new white instrumentation illumination.

The new RS also gets an additional storage box in the rear arm rest.

Value for money

As the cheaper company in the Volkswagen Group, value for money is sharper than the Golf. The sticker price is, however, only a few thousand dollars cheaper. While you are getting a larger car we expected the pencil to have been sharpened a bit more. Pricing for the RS hatch starts from $37,490 for the six-speed manual petrol and $39,490 for the diesel manual.

The wagon models cost an extra $2000. This compares with $40,490 for the five-door manual Golf GTI.

Standard features

Extensive equipment list includes: Alcantara/leather seats, three-spoke leather steering wheel (multi-function on DSG) alloy sports pedals, climate controlled air conditioning, six-disc CD player, MP3 auxiliary input socket, cruise control, automatic headlights and wipers, auto dimming rear mirror, chilled glove box, cooled front arm rest, storage compartment under front passenger seat, 12-volt power socket, 18-inch light alloy wheels, spoiler, chrome double exhausts, fog lights, sports suspension and red painted disc calipers. Wagon models further add a 12-volt power socket in the boot, rear window wiper and silver roof rails.

Design and function

Space and practicality

This is where the Skoda excels. The hatch and wagon models have plenty of room for front and rear passengers with five adults able to sit in comfort and enough room for luggage. Boot space is good in the hatch – 560L with the rear seats in place – growing to 1420 litres with the rear seats down.

The wagon models have 580L and 1620L respectively. This compares with 350L and 1305L for the GTI.

Safety items include six airbags, stability control, LED daytime running lights, anti-whiplash head rests on front seats, tyre pressure monitoring and ABS brakes.

Security features include remote central locking and an electronic engine immobiliser. No security rating.

On the road

Skoda claims average fuel economy of 7.7L/100km for the petrol manual (7.9 for the DSG) and 5.9L/100km for the diesel manual (6.0L/100km for the DSG).

In our real-world testing for the diesel we averaged 7.65L/100km for the highway cycle, 10.0L/100km for the city cycle for an average on test of 8.8L/100km. While this is almost 3.0L/100km more than the claimed average it is not a bad real-world figure for a mid-sized sedan.

Performance

Both engines have some get up and go but our pick was the 2.0-litre turbo petrol. Just like the fifth generation GTI, acceleration is smooth through the rev range and turbo lag is minimal.

The diesel engine is supremely refined and doesn’t do a bad job as a performance power plant. However, it lacks the finesse of the petrol version. The limited rev range (diesel engines are not designed to rev high and are best kept below 4500rpm) means it is not as flexible as the petrol engine which screams all the way up to the 7000rpm redline.

The diesel is also almost a second slower to 100km/h than the petrol – 7.3 versus 8.4. We recorded a 0-100km/h time of 8.17 for the petrol model during our track testing.

Both engines now have the choice of a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed twin-clutch automated manual.

The Skoda comes standard with sports suspension but unlike many performance cars it is actually a good compromise between comfort and sportiness. The ride is firm but not uncomfortable although the low speed ride can be a bit jiggly. The RS doesn’t get the option of adjustable suspension like the new generation Golf.

Handling/steering

With underpinnings from the Golf it is not surprising that the RS is quite accomplished in the handling stakes. The 18-inch wheels provide plenty of grip in corners and the RS only gets minimal understeer when pushed hard. Even then it is predictable.

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