GREAT to look at, spacious and economical the Skoda vRS estate has got the lot.
This fourth generation flagship model also offers buyers more power and technology as well as a choice of engines.
Almost 20 per cent of UK buyers opt for the sporty vRS badge and the Czech manufacturer has hit the target again with this newcomer.
The new five-door estate is even more handsome than its predecessor with unique front and rear bumper designs and a large double-slat radiator grille, lower air diffuser, distinctive air curtains above the front fog lights, plus black door mirrors, window frames and roof rails.
All these combine to give the car a really sporting look, while LED matrix headlights provide excellent illumination at night and you also get chrome exhaust pipes, vRS badges and 19-inch alloys with red brake calipers and puddle lights to complete the package.
Move inside and the classy cabin does not disappoint. There are no hard plastics to waste things and the dash is trimmed in Alcantara with carbon-fibre like trim below and on the doors.
Firm comfortable seats and the three-spoke sports steering wheel have red vRS badging and there is also rear privacy glass.
The kit list is also substantial with a Columbus sat nav system with 10-inch touchscreen, SmartLink for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink phone connectivity, DAB radio, heated seats, dual-zone air conditioning, a virtual cockpit with 10.25-inch display and ambient lighting. Many premium brands would be happy to match this level of quality.
The Octavia Estate vRS diesel also delivers on performance and driving dynamics and its sports suspension does not harm the ride even although it sits some 15mm lower than the standard car.
All-round visibility means it is good in towns and easy to park but it is also a great motorway cruiser and ideal for long journeys. Paddles can be used to change the gears if you get bored with the automatic transmission and there is also a choice of driving modes called Eco, Normal, Sport and Individual that alter the car's handling characteristics.
Five can travel in comfort in the roomy cabin which is well insulated and very quiet.
As the car is slightly larger than before there is also more room for luggage as well as the passengers with a massive 640 litre boot which can be increased to 1,740 litres with the rear seats collapsed and reached via a powered tailgate.
In addition, there are numerous storage compartments scattered throughout the cabin, including a central cubby box, door bins, a glovebox, sunglasses holder, a secret compartment beside the driver's right knee, front and rear cup holders, door seat back pockets with a separate area to store mobile phones and the traditional Skoda Clever touches such like an umbrella in the driver's door and ice scraper in the fuel cap cover.
The vRS boasts all the latest safety kit and driver assist systems and comes with the maximum five stars Euro NCAP safety rating.
I sampled the Octavia Estate vRS powered by a 200PS 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine mated to a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission.
It delivered its power really smoothly and tackled the sprint to 62mph in just 7.4 seconds and is capable of going on to 152mph. It is also superbly economical with a combined WLTP figure of 55.9mpg.