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Pinch yourself - It's a Skoda

Created on 10/06/2016 @ 12:05
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

I had to pinch myself this week to be convinced that the 155mph hatch I was driving really was a Skoda – the Octavia vRS 230 was that good.

Don’t even think about cracking any of the old Skoda jokes anymore. Jokes about Skoda are now about as rare as silverware in my beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers trophy cabinet. The real joke is on Skoda’s rivals.

I’ve probably driven close on 100 cars in the last 12 months but doubt I’ve been behind the wheel of anything else that felt it was worth double the price of £27,590 – it really is that good.

This is a company on the up. Backed by a new management team and now 25 years into a latched-on partnership in the VW group Skoda sales are smashing through new barriers in the UK and the Octavia sits right at the top of the chart.

The benefits of being part of such a massive group are clear in terms of quality, appearance, feel and sheer driving pleasure but the package comes without the higher price tag you would expect.

The six-speed manual 2.0TSi 230 on test had an on-the-road price tag of £26,580 but extras such as heated front seats, a special grey paint job (which did nothing to improve the look), space-saver spare wheel and a heated winter pack pushed that up a bit to £27,590.

For that money you are getting some vehicle. You get a top speed of 155mph, 0-62mph in just 6.7seconds, average fuel consumption of over 45mpg and CO2 figures of 142g/km.

Key features on all vRS 230 models include 19inch black alloy wheels with 225/35 R19 88Y tyres, black design door mirrors and grille, a black gloss tailpipe,  along with black vRS badging to front and rear – just to prove to you that this really is a Skoda.

Inside there’s a three-spoke sports leather multi-function steering wheel, Bluetooth, the usual  touchscreen satellite navigation,  DAB radio, a driver fatigue sensor, dual zone climate control along with electric and heated front vRS sports seats.

There’s a selection of performance modes and sports suspension which comes in useful when pushing the car through tight bends at speed.

And with all that performance available you need to feel safe so the package includes seven airbags, an automatic post-collision braking system, hill hold, lane assist and a stop/start engine system.

There’s ample room for three in the back and opening the tailgate reveals easily the biggest space in the sector at 590litres – more like a cave than boot.

The current vRS range is the biggest so far and, in addition to the front-wheel-drive model, customers can pick up a four-wheel-drive option in diesel format.

If you want space, looks and that bit of special performance at the right price, the Octavia vRS is right at the top of the option list – but you might just have to pinch yourself as well, to remember you’re in a Skoda.

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