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Octavia pulls no punches.


SKODA'S Octavia vRS vehicles have always been the manufacturer's tour de force models but the latest generation takes power and performance to a new level.

The third generation vRS estate has just gone on sale in Britain and offers not only more space, more safety features and improved economy but definitely more punch.

In diesel form its predecessor was powered by a 2.0-litre, 170bhp engine with a top speed of 140mph and a 0-62 acceleration time of 8.4 seconds.

The newcomer ups the power to 184bhp, the top speed to 143mph and reduces the acceleration time down to 8.2 seconds, and all this in a very civilised, very refined and very practical car that's easy to live with.

It's longer, wider and taller than the MkII but despite its increase in size it looks sleek and ready for action.

The vRS estates are available in both petrol and diesel form but while the petrol powered model has the edge on acceleration the 2.0-litre diesel model has so much torque its mid range performance makes it just as exciting. And with the latest vRS Skoda has produced a performance car that is remarkably quiet. In the past the higher performance diesel engines from the Volkswagen Group - used by Skoda - delivered the power but tended to be noisier and less refined than the lower powered engines so you got the performance but paid the price in terms of noise levels.

The new 184bhp engine gives the best of all worlds, power with civilised motoring.

The vRS comes with a Driving Mode Selector button so you can switch between normal, sport, eco and individual settings to allow you to set the car up to your own driving style.

In sport, for example, you get more instant accelerator response, heavier steering and different engine torque to allow you to take even more advantage of the car's power. In fact for most of the time that I was testing the car I left it in the sport setting because of the sheer gutsy performance and flexibility in third, fourth and fifth gears.

The sports suspension on the vRS gives a firm but compliant ride and ensures excellent road holding and perfectly complements the engine's performance.

Despite its superb performance the diesel vRS is surprisingly frugal. I managed to average just over 50 miles per gallon during a week's motoring but on some long distance journeys that figure got closer to 60mpg.

For most people buying an estate car, even a hot one like the vRS, their main priority is space and practicality.

And this is where this models excels.

The boot area will swallow a hefty 610 litres of luggage with the seats upright and 1740 with the rear seatbacks folded down - an 85 litre increase over the previous generation estate - and the tailgate opening is now 9mm deeper and 9mm wider to make for easier loading.

A useful option is a two layer boot floor which allows you to divide up the lower level for transporting breakable objects more safely. Cleverly the lower section also provides a special storage area for accommodating the retractable luggage cover.

So despite its sporty attributes the vRS is very definitely a practical family car. So if you have children and need plenty of space but still yearn for a sporty drive this could well be the car for you.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Feb 21, 2014
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