200hp diesel flagship starts at £32k, with standard DSG and optional all-wheel drive
By Matt Bird / Wednesday, January 6, 2021
Many moons ago (way back in 2003, in fact) Skoda pioneered the idea of an affordable diesel performance car with the original Fabia vRS. It was diesel and diesel only, without a petrol equivalent. Deservedly, it became something of a cult hero, with diesel being a feature of the vRS range ever since – and now for the third time in the latest Octavia.
This vRS TDI is the most powerful yet, sharing the Golf GTD's evolution of the 2.0-litre EA2288 for 200hp and 295lb ft. Noteworthy tweaks include a higher compression ratio as well as an aluminium block and aluminium pistons, presumably shaving some weight off the front end. With a standard seven-speed DSG (there's no news on a manual TDI yet, and we don't expect any), the vRS hits 62mph in 7.4 seconds in both hatch and estate form, with top speeds of 154mph and 152mph respectively.
Which is perfectly acceptable, of course, although it's definitely worth noting that, as in the previous version, you can again combine the diesel engine with all-wheel drive for a go-anywhere, do anything family bus (which you can't with the petrol version). In fact, the Skoda now uses a new design of multi-plate clutch for the AWD, said to be lighter than before and more efficient. With four driven wheels, the benchmark sprint time drops to 6.8 seconds – making it modestly quicker than the Golf GTD – with the hatch 4×4 going on to 151mph and the wagon reaching 148.
As for the rest of the package, it's as we've become familiar with (and fond of) in the petrol vRS, with black styling accents, a 15mm lower ride height and unique bumpers to mark it out. Standard equipment for the UK includes the Virtual Cockpit, LED Matrix headlights, Alcantara accents and adaptive cruise control.
The price? From £32,260 for the two-wheel drive hatch, with all-wheel drive adding £1,495 to that at £33,745. As for the estate, it starts at £33,530 for the FWD car, or £34,975 with AWD. For reference, the Ford Focus ST diesel – likely the Octavia's closest rival – costs £30,250 as a hatch and £31,650 as a wagon, though is manual only. The Golf GTD kicks off at £32,790. Octavia orders are being taken now, with deliveries due in the next few weeks.
- 2021 Skoda Octavia IV vRS | UK Review
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