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Skoda Octavia RS Preview

In a nutshell All-new version of Skoda’s performance Octavia.

Practical Motoring Says The Skoda Octavia RS is better in all the areas that count.

THE NEW SKODA OCTAVIA RS is the third-generation model to be sold in Australia, and the fastest production Octavia of all time. The hero car in the Skoda line-up, the Octavia RS is a virtual, but not identical, twin-under-the-skin with the VW Golf GTI.

More efficient engines, a bigger body, new suspension, and enhanced safety features mean the new Octavia RS is even more impressive than before. And, in wagon form, rear-seat-up boot space of 588 litres (up from 568 litres in the Octavia RS sedan) and rear-seat-down space of 1718 litres make it both sporty and practical.

The new Octavia RS goes on-sale in April and will be available in both wagon and sedan forms.

UNDER THE BONNET

The new Octavia RS comes with the choice of two engines: the 2.0-litre turbocharged (TSI) four-cylinder which produces 162kW (up 15kW on its predecessor) of power and 350Nm of torque between 1500-4000rpm (up 70Nm or 25% on its predecessor). It accelerates from 0-100km/h in just 6.8 seconds (0.5 seconds less than before) but, more importantly, can go from 80km/h to 110km/h in six seconds (with manual transmission in fifth gear). This engine averages 6.4L/100km (down 1.3 litres on its predecessor) while CO2 emissions are also down by 32g to 147g/km.

The diesel engine is: the 2.0-litre turbocharged (TDI) diesel four-cylinder engine produces 135kW (which is up 10kW) of power and a petrol-variant-beating 380Nm of torque (up 30Nm) between 1750-3250rpm. With DSG transmission, the Octavia RS TDI will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 8.2 seconds and, in fifth gear will accelerate from 80km/h to 110km/h in less than eight seconds. The diesel Octavia RS averages 5.2L/100km (a 13.2% improvement in fuel consumption compared with its predecessor) and emits 134g/km of CO2.

The petrol-powered Octavia RS is available with the choice of either a six-speed manual (standard) or a six-speed DSG, while the diesel engine is only available with a six-speed DSG. Start-stop and brake energy recuperation systems are standard features of both engines.

ON THE INSIDE

Like the rest of the Octavia range, both the sedan and wagon variant of the Octavia RS offer plenty of room. There’s more interior space in general and increased legroom of 73mm, the boots are also impressively large, at 568 litres for the sedan and 588 litres (with the rear seats up) for the wagon.

Inside the cabin there are a number of useful storage spaces, like a rubbish bin inside the door storage space, a multimedia holder which will hold a range of phones and portable media players, there are sundry other hooks, racks and cup and bottle holders (up to eight in dedicated holders) too. One clever addition is the use of a double-sided floor mat in the boot.

Climb behind the wheel and, in Skoda’s own words: ‘black is beautiful’. The motor trimmers have used black just about everywhere, from the door frame to the roof and the dash. Ambient door handle lighting is a first for the Octavia RS and adds to the premium feel.

The specially-designed RS sport seats (for the front) offer decent support for the driver and passenger, they’re available in either fabric-leather combinations or Alcantara-leather. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is multi-function while the multi-media and heating and air-con controls are functional and easy to access and understand, with just a glance, by the driver.

WHAT KIT DO YOU GET?

The Octavia RS is available in only one trim level. Well equipped, the Octavia RS features an eight-inch touch-screen sat-nav and multi-media system with Bluetooth and audio streaming, cruise control, 18-inch alloys, nine airbags, fatigue detection, light-assist, dual-zone climate control, front and rear power windows, and much more.

Extra-cost options include: electric panoramic sunroof (wagon) and electric sunroof (sedan), Gemini 18-inch or Xtreme 19-inch alloy wheels, Alcantara leather-appointed seat upholstery, automatic boot opening and closing (wagon). Buyers can also add the Tech Pack (pricing is not yet available) which will be available from May 2014, and includes: adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), front Assist with City Emergency Brake, Automatic Parking Assist with acoustic front and rear parking sensors and a rear view camera, Advanced keyless entry including smart start (KESSY with alarm), and premium German ‘Canton’ sound system (10 loudspeakers and digital equaliser).

SAFETY

Boasting a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating, the Octavia RS features multi-collision brake with automatic braking action engaged following an accident, Passenger Protect Assist and Fatigue Detection. Front Assist with emergency braking is also available in the optional Tech Pack. There are also nine airbags, and all of the expected traction and stability control functions.

HOW MUCH?

The new Octavia RS petrol with six-speed manual transmission lists at $36,490 (+ORC), while the petrol-powered DSG variant costs $38,790 (+ORC). The diesel-powered Octavia RS lists from $39,790 (+ORC). The wagon premium is $1350.


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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober