I have been looking forward to driving the 4×4 vRS version of the Skoda Octavia for some time. Early editions of the hot Skoda saloon are slowly becoming modern classics, and the engaging drive mixed with modern everyday practicality has appealed to consumers. The new version looks like it’s no exception, and the added appeal in Skoda’s new models of 4×4 will ensure the car can branch out to a very different market. Here is my full Skoda Octavia vRS 4×4 review.
When it was delivered, I was pleased that Skoda had sent me the green version of the car. It’s a striking colour, that’s worth an extra few hundred quid on from the options list, but it won’t be to everyone’s taste. The new Octavia is a good looking car, though, and the new reshaped grill and lights suit the shape. With the added front splitter, and small (not too ostentatious) rear spoiler, it looks the part. This car was shipped with large and rather attractive 18in wheels, with standard sat-nav, xenon headlights and climate control thrown in as part of the package.
The 4×4 version of the Octavia vRS is only available with the diesel engine though, despite being included in both the hatchback and estate versions of the car. There’s no way that this car matches the pace of the petrol version of the vRS, but in many cases there’s an argument to suggest there’s no way it needs. This is a different kind of speed – a low down, torquey, ‘I need to overtake a tractor on a B road’ type of speed. It’s true to say the engine doesn’t mind being revved, but you won’t get a huge amount more out of it…all the power’s in the min-range.
It’s twinned with a gearbox that to my mind was a little more sluggish than it really needs to be, but the diesel’s mid range power meant that in ‘vRS’ mode, the car’s 4×4 really propels the car forward at quite a rate if the changes are manual and timed well. Off the mark, especially if you’re on a slightly slippery surface, the additional traction is very noticeable and a heavy right boot, as you’d expect, isn’t necessarily punished. The tyres grip excellently, too.
In fact, aside from grip and despite the size of the wheels, they do a great job in containing the lumps and bumps in the road, and at normal everyday speeds the vRS 4×4 really is just like any other premium Octavia to drive. It’s quiet, and although road noise is a bit more thunderous on larger wheels, it’s a refined and classic experience that sits well in the range. The vRS leather sports seats are excellent and easily able to be tuned and customised to your liking, too. Added to this, the boot really is enormous (able to fit a bicycle with plenty of room to spare), and good rear leg and headroom really make a difference in this class…where cars of this nature are rarely without something (whether kids or kit!) in the back.
Overall, where this car almost certainly excels is the in long family adventures category, and that’s why it appeals to me. The diesel option is definitely the most sensible, but this works to its advantage in this sector, and although the 4×4 version adds some extra weight and therefore isn’t quite as economical as the straightforward diesel vRS, it certainly deserves its place in the range. A petrol version of the vRS will give you more thills, but this car would think nothing of zooming to the Alps, ski gear and family in the back, and tearing up a mountain road to your chalet. I’m not sure it’s REALLY a vRS in the true sense of the word, but I don’t care, because it is adventurous and still brilliant.