2017 Skoda Octavia RS is exactly what the doctor ordered as it is great fun to drive and offers lot of practicality along side and this time it is good value too
No manufacturer nowadays makes bad cars. The perfection levels are going higher, customization is coming in and quality and reliability is climbing the charts in every aspect. Be it surveys, customer opinions and critics analyzing, cars are getting better. However, there is something more that is getting better and that is performance and efficiency balance. Back then when the original Octavia came in the market, the diesel power engine was already enough performance for us, it still is. However, as roads get better and demands rise, the manufacturer has to offer something.
We did get the Octavia VRS but it wasn’t something exactly full blown performance oriented car. It was a petrol 1.8 TSi with a body kit. Time and again we got the same. However, this time we FINALLY get the European spec RS230 variant. Something Skoda is calling it in India. The Octavia has a proper and much required and asked 2.0 TFSi engine and makes substantial amount of power over its previous version we have seen and even the petrol variant that is on sale right now. We have road tested the normal petrol and diesel variant and this time, we have the VRS variant. We will stick to the changes seen in the car.
Design wise, there isn’t any chance except for bright and funky colors on offer. Blue, Red, White and this light grey that we had on test grabbed serious amount of attention for all reasons. Our team member said that they manufacturer had forgotten to apply color after applying primer. Because that how it looks at first glance, a car going to the workshop for color job. There are badges on the front grille and rear bumper. Red brake calipers are seen on all four wheels.
Interior gets all black treatment with red stitching all around. Additional power seat for the passenger, sunroof, sporty pedal cover, USB connection (finally), parallel park assist, bucket sport seats are on offer. Alcantra upholstery, leather package all around are on offer. The car has a flat bottom sporty steering which looks great and the overall interior layout remains same as before.
The extremely well functional touch screen is best in the segment in terms of feel, performance and even looks very regal in a way. Segment best space in the front, back and 600 litre boot space with hatchback opening makes it a practical car for everyday duties for your family and daily practicality is at its peak thanks to convenience in every way. You also get very sporty cushions which have a large VRS badge which are of good use to passengers, if the driver gets enthusiastic while driving.
The engine and gearbox are the major highlights this time. We get the full blown 2.0 TFSi motor which makes 230 PS of power and diesel like 350 Nm of torque. Matched to a 6-speed gearbox, the power is sent to the front wheels. The car sits lower by 15mm, with revised stiffer suspension and a XDS+ limited-slip differential. Put into D mode there is bit of hesitation from gearbox off the line, however, once it does, it shifts very rapidly when it comes to downshifts and upshifts.
Rarely on the road you would even require S mode if you are driving faster than normal. Switch to S mode if you are really gunning it then, it rewards. There is quite a lot of turbo lag which the S mode solves as it keeps the engine on boil and keeps the engine in the power band. Slow speeds with turbo lag and D mode can results in jerky behavior, but only rarely, if you manage to confuse the engine/turbo/gearbox combo.
Launch it off the line and there is copious amount of wheel spin in first gear till 5000 RPM, the moment it shifts into second, the wheels chrip quite a lot and loudly and then as soon as it reaches third gear, the massive torque and taller gearing (post 3’rd gear) takes charge and propels this car into the horizon. You have to be extra careful and be attentive as the speeds build up very in a very linear manner with serious amount of thrust pending at the top-end. Top speed is in access of 220 km/hr. That is the number we saw and it had enough poke to go ahead too.
NVH levels aren’t 5/5 like the 1.8 TSi, there is a bit of noise at lower rev, but something that is symphony rather than amiss. The motor is definitely more sonorous and is standard affair with all high powered VW engines. The roughness of the soundtrack along with pop and bangs at redline while shifting up is clearly a major highlight for people on the outside and inside. We got exactly 8.5 km/l in our testing, which could get a bit better if you can forget you have a bomb of an engine under the hood, which can blast you away into the horizon without any effort and put a smile on your face as well.
Ride and handling
Skoda says this is the European spec version and we almost agree. However, there is a bit of fine tuning as it has good ride quality at low to medium speeds. The suspension does transfer the big thuds if it goes into a large pot hole. However, suspension is still mature enough and provides superb highway stability. Body roll is evident but at very high speeds and is well contained. Car runs on 17-inch wheels and is very perceptible to tyre pressure as it does change the dynamics a bit.
The steering, it is the chink in the armor. Not feedback rich and doesn’t get heavy enough to please the enthusiast. However, it is very direct and the lock to lock ratio makes it easy to chuck into corners as it turns into quite fast and the same front-end makes negotiating 3-point turns very easy. Steering is light which makes it a good car for city duties as well. The brakes have been revised as well for more stopping power with bigger discs. Pedal bite is good and with enough stopping power to bring it to an hault.
2017 Skoda Octavia RS India Review, Verdict
Skoda has taken a risk by offering this car at this price tag. Something that has paid off as well. All 250 cars are sold to 2018 and next year is when the bookings begin. The Octavia already is a legendary name and with every generation it retains the benchmark tag for all its competitor as it scores really high on everything. Today, it scores full marks on the high-performance exam.
The 2.0 TFSi motor is welcome and it does bring a lot to the table. With a lot of practicality on offer when it comes to space, comfort and ease of use, the RS just becomes irresistible. It is good to see the legend back and we wish it finds more home and the next time it comes, it should come with the fuel that makes it even more undeniable for every enthusiast to get one too.
Octavia RS India Review