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18 Apr 2022

What We Dislike
Not the best tool for carving corners
Lack of exhaust note makes performance driving a tad dull

There's no need to look any further than the Octavia RS if you want something quick, comfortable, spacious and has a massive cargo-hauling capacity.


The previous Octavia RS 245 was one of the most affordable performance cars you can get. You could have bought one for just $126,900 back at 2019's Singapore Motor Show.

I've always thought, with the RS 245, you are pretty much getting a Golf GTI that looks different, has more power and a massive boot. After all, they are both based upon the same MQB platform and have the same 2.0-litre engine, albeit in a different state of tune. Being a huge fan of the four door sedan/liftback body style, and the 50-grand lower price of the RS 245, the Octavia was always the clear choice for me - despite the fact that I've never actually driven one.

Not your standard family hauler

With 241bhp on tap, the Octavia RS is quicker than your run-of-the-mill family sedans
With the new Octavia RS, Skoda dropped its quirky quad-headlamp design, along with its '245' moniker, but don't get too excited just yet. It is still powered by the same 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that pushes out 241bhp (245PS) and 370Nm of torque, albeit with slight tweaks to improve its efficiency.

While a bump in power would have been welcomed, it is still almost 100 horses more than what you'll get with the standard 1.5-litre mild hybrid Octavia, and this results in a sedan that is able to relegate everyone else to the rearview mirror when you give the go-pedal a firm and deep shove. While I am pretty satisfied with the useable power the engine puts out, the exhaust note, or rather the lack of, takes quite a fair bit away from the experience that one would expect from a car with an 'RS' in its name.

An excellent cruiser, and less of a bruiser

Despite its sportiness, the Octavia RS isn't really meant to be chucked into corners...
However, I'll have to admit, I might have misinterpreted the Octavia RS and its predecessors right from the start. Once I've got behind the wheel of this car, I eagerly drove to the same stretch of twisty roads that I've previously enjoyed in the Golf R-Line.

But the experience couldn't have been more different - upon the first tight turn, the heft of the car can be felt immediately. While it was able to hold the line without excessive bodyroll, the feedback from the steering and the car's less-than-immediate reactions to inputs clearly conveyed the fact that this isn't a hot hatch.

Get onto the highway, however, and it will cruise along comfortably even with the suspension set to Sport
A short stint on the expressways confirmed my suspicion - the Octavia RS isn't meant to be chucked around tight corners. At highway speeds, even with the Dynamic Chassis Control set all the way to Sport, its dampers are able to soak up bumps and ruts without excessive harshness. Bolster the assuring body control with its stout powerplant, swift and decisive lane-changing or overtaking manoeuvres are always effortless.

The Octavia RS is also equipped with a full suite of driver assist systems, including adaptive cruise control, lane assist, blind spot monitoring system and others to make cruising on the expressway a breeze. From the driver's perspective, there's no mistake, the Octavia RS is one hell of a highway cruiser.

Comfortable ride and unmatched practicality

The well-built interior is spruced up with carbon effect trim pieces and suede-like material
Additionally, you can be rest assured when it comes to the perspective of the passengers. While the Octavia RS packs more power and plenty of sporty features, the folks at home won't fault its ride quality and comfort.

This was confirmed by my mother's comment after a 30-minute ride in it, "I like this car, it is quiet and comfortable" - and it was even in Sport mode the whole time (with the artificial engine sounds turned off, of course).

And it isn't just the excellent noise, vibration and harshness qualities that make the Octavia RS a great choice. With this iteration, the interior feels premium and well put together.

Practicality is a huge plus point - the liftback opens up to swallow an entire road bike with ease
The dashboard where the virtual cockpit display resides, features a sporty carbon-effect trim and suede-like material, the latter which also lines the seat along with plenty of red stitching.

As expected of Skoda, the interior is littered with plenty of useable space with a particular attention to detail - the cubbyholes within the door cards and the chilled glove compartment are all felt-lined.

There's also the massive 600-litre boot with its similarly enormous loading aperture that amps up the practicality of the Octavia - with the rear seats knocked down, I was able to load my road bike without breaking a sweat. The wheels don't even have to be removed.

A new face fronting an unchanged value proposition

Not only has the Octavia lost its quirky front end, it has been blessed with a gorgeous rear
The latest Octavia RS presents a fair bit of changes. The interior has been revamped and built to a higher quality, a front end design that better conforms to mainstream preferences replaces the quirkiness of the past, while an outright gorgeous and chic rear-end completes its makeover.

But, concurrently, it also retains all of what made it a great choice - a powerful engine, excellent functionality and practicality and, most importantly, a reasonable price point for a lot of car.

While I now know better than to pit the Octavia RS against the Golf GTI, since they are two very different propositions that excels in different fields, one thing remains - the Octavia RS is still almost 50-grand cheaper than the latter.
 
 
In the market for a fast car? Here are some other options you may want to consider:

The new Volkswagen Golf GT brings new delight in motoring

The Renault Megane RS hot hatch leads the pack

The Cupra Leon is a flamenco dancer on the tarmac

The Toyota GR Yaris is a Jack Russell on steroids

Car Information

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Price

: $219,900

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1984cc

Horsepower

:

180kW (241 bhp) / 6500 rpm

Torque

:

370 Nm / 4300 rpm

Transmission

:

7-speed (A) DSG

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

6.7sec

Top Speed

:

250km/h

Fuel consumption

:

15.4km/L

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