Skoda's top hot

hatch

Skoda Octavia vRS 245, 2017, front, action
Skoda Octavia vRS 245, 2017, rear, action
Skoda Octavia vRS 245, 2017, interior
Skoda Octavia vRS 245, 2017, front
Skoda Octavia vRS Estate, interior

ONE of the big problems with most out and out sporting cars is that the quality of ride falls well below other models in the range.

Such is true of many upper executive cars and also of smaller hot hatches derived from family cars.

But one that does a very good job of beating the discomfort gremlins is the latest superb Skoda Octavia vRS - as long as you leave it in comfort or eco modes.

It comes with a number of driver adjustable modes under a VRS button, including Eco, Comfort and Sport, which change the car's driving dynamics.

But Sport firms up the suspension to the point where it makes the ride too uncomfortable over poor surfaces.

It also tightens the steering and gives a little more response from the engine, together with a new rorty engine note that's quite pleasing, but sounds like its manufactured artificially using the car's sound system.

In Eco or Comfort modes, the ride is much better, and there is virtually no loss of dynamic ability, so that the car still changes direction like a greyhound and clings to the road like a racer.

The steering is almost as sharp and gives constant feedback to the driver on the road surface.

But of course, the Octavia is far better than its performance, because it's such a consummate family car.

It's hard to believe that the floorpan is the same as the VW Golf because it is so much bigger inside, and also has a massively larger boot.

There is huge legroom front and rear and I think it must have the largest interior of any car in the class - as it has ever since it was first launched.

Put the back seats down and it's big enough to easily get a bike in with space all round it.

There is more useable space than any other five seat car - including most people carriers - on the market.

The engine is the same as that used in the Golf GTi - a 2.0-litre turbo with no less than 245bhp, and enough grunt to scare a grizzly bear.

This puts its power through the front wheels via a sweet changing six-speed gearbox with the added ease of a light, clutch.

The high level of grip means you can get you foot down much sooner out of corners and it pulls like an express train, allowing swift and safe overtaking.

This engine is gorgeous. Not only will it rev willingly and tunefully towards the red line, but it also pulls happily from 1,200 revs in high gears uphill without a murmur of complaint.

Inside, there is a leather covered multi-function steering wheel and beautifully hip-hugging suede seats with all the adjustment anyone could need.

The VW Group instrument binnacle is, as ever, brilliant and other kit includes climate, stability control, alarm, huge alloy wheels with sprayed on tyres, parking sensors and a rearview camera.

It also comes with sunroof, cruise control, loads of airbags, sat nav, lane departure warning and a number of other electronic safety devices.

FAST FACTS

Price: £28,100

Mechanical: 245bhp, 1,984cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 155mph

0-62mph: 6.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 42.8

Insurance Group:29

C02 emissions: 150g/km

Bik rating:31%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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