Skoda Octavia vRS

2.0 TDI Estate 4x4

Skoda Octavia vRS Estate, 2021, nose
Skoda Octavia vRS Estate, 2021, side
Skoda Octavia vRS Estate, 2021, rear
Skoda Octavia vRS Estate, 2021, interior
Skoda Octavia vRS Estate, 2021, rear seats
Skoda Octavia vRS Estate, 2021, boot

I SPENT time recently driving a spanking new car which possesses many of the elements of a bygone generation.

Instead of being behind the leather-bound wheel of fashionable SUV, I was steering a traditional, old-school estate car.

And what's more it was powered by a diesel engine rather than electricity.

So what was this time-warp experience like? Quite simply it was excellent - apart from the shock of the cost of diesel at the pumps.

The car in question was the evergreen Skoda Octavia Estate in sporty vRS guise, a happy blend of huge space and practicality melded with a sparky performance.

The Octavia hatch and estate has wooed families for decades thanks to their no-nonsense approach to transport - smart looking, cavernously roomy and boasting good economy and running charges. What's more, by sharing much of the VW Group's running gear, engines and platforms, it has dynamics decent enough to woo keen drivers.

The vRS version of the range is really the icing on the cake in that it has near hot-hatch performance yet good economy that makes it a tempting proposition for family motorists watching the pennies.

It uses the familiar 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine seen across the range of VW-Audi, this knocking out 197bhp which is sufficient to endow it with a sub-eight second time to 62mph - pretty nippy, in other words. Our review car was the more expensive 4x4 version, allowing greater poor weather security.

The unit isn't the most refined in the world and emits a rather gruff tone, but no criticism of its ability to propel the large estate body, particularly impressive is the mid range torque, allowing swift overtaking in that all-important 50-70mph range.

The engine quietens down at cruising speeds but there's a degree of road noise transmitted from the tyres over some surfaces.

The diesel vRS comes with seven speed automatic gearbox which suits the car's character admirably. Changes are smooth and almost undetectable and there are steering wheel paddles if you want to take things into your own hands.

With four-wheel-drive-drive and fat low profile rubber, cornering is sure and safe and produces only limited body roll. The ride is on the stiff side of firm which will appeal to press-on drivers and perhaps less so to families.

The rear boot is enormous, being capable of carrying no less than 640litres of cargo with both rows of seats in place. It also has hooks and lashing points to make sure everything is securely anchored down. Legroom both front and back is generous, as is the headroom. Plenty of storage bins and flat surface for family picnics.

The facia design now echoes that of the latest Golf in that it is largely digitalised, minimalist and largely button-free. This has made some operations harder to perform on the move, particularly when travelling over uneven surfaces.

The seats, which hug you neatly, are trimmed with red as a nod to the VRS's sporty nature and there's red mood lighting to continue the theme.

FAST FACTS

Skoda Octavia vRS 2.0 TDI Estate 4x4

Price: £37,970

Mechanical: 2.0-litre, 197bhp, 4 cyl diesel engine driving 4-wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 149mph

0-62mph: 7.1sec

Combined MPG: 50.4

Insurance Group: 25

C02 emissions: 147g/km

Bik rating: 34%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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