Octavia vRS 245 tops the hot hatches
The UK motoring press is unanimous in its approval of the new Octavia vRS 245. Three overwhelmingly positive pieces published in the mainstream and motoring press over the weekend coincide with the sixth anniversary of the brand’s world speed record breaking triumph.
In 2011, ŠKODA UK broke the world record for fastest 2.0 litre supercharged production car on the salt flats at Bonneville, USA. Six years later, the Octavia vRS is still breaking barriers, with this weekend’s rave reviews shattering misconceptions, turning heads and capturing hearts.
“If ŠKODA keeps making cars as brilliant as this new hot hatch, in the end we’ll all be driving one”
Chris Evans, Mail on Sunday
The 245ps under the bonnet of the latest vRS immediately made its presence felt with self-confessed ‘ŠKODA nut’ Evans, as his first dab at the accelerator sent a shower of gravel across his driveway and his heart racing. From his review, it’s safe to say the former Top Gear presenter has fallen in love with the brand all over again.
Evans compares the different driving experiences offered by the new vRS and his beloved Superb Sportline, which “may have more horsepower, but it has to be shared with all four wheels, whereas this mischievous madam sees all her 245hp going exclusively, and instantaneously, to the front axle” with spectacular results.
He then compares the vRS against its competitors: “(In) the ruthless dog-eat-dog world where it must fend off the likes of the Golf GTI, Ford Focus ST and SEAT Cupra 300, the vRS emerges head held high plus she’s bigger all round and, with the exception of the (much less practical) Golf GTI, way more attractive. Which is why I’m still backing my girl.”
“A power boost has put ŠKODA’s Octavia vRS hot hatch in the sights of the Ford Focus ST, but which is better?”
Auto Express group test
Evans’ opinion is borne out by Auto Express, who pit the fastest Octavia yet against the big dog in the hot hatch sector – the formidable Ford Focus ST. The magazine closely compares the two models in a rigorous head-to-head, considering exterior and interior aesthetic and styling, value for money, and above all, performance.
The all-round strengths of the Octavia see off the ST with the magazine praising its quality, space, and concluding that the vRS 245 is “fast, fun and even better dynamically thanks to its new diff.”
“Past vRS estates had potential – this one actually achieves it.”
Matt Saunders, Chief Tester, Autocar
“If you’re fond of an underdog, it’s rather hard not to hold a candle for ŠKODA’s vRS brand,“ says the Autocar review. A true petrolhead’s publication, the magazine puts the 245 under the microscope, initially suggesting that the vRS range ‘shouldn’t exist at all’ given the popular perception which confines the brand to practicality and function while ‘SEAT deals with the low-priced sporty stuff and Volkswagen peddles the more prestigious GTI and R badges.’
Of the reviews we’ve looked at, Autocar’s is perhaps the most significant – its team of reviewers really get under the skin of our fastest production vRS to date, digging deep into its design, styling, performance and running costs.
Having begun the article playing on the misconception that ŠKODA has no right to build sportier cars, Autocar’s verdict is all the more satisfying: ‘’a car that can claim to do practically everything of consequence convincingly – praise enough to land the most powerful Octavia on a very short list of genuine all-rounders. The vRS 245 jumps to the top of our top five hot hatch estates ahead of the Ford Focus ST, Seat Leon Cupra 300, Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer and Renault Megane GT Sport Tourer.’
This most powerful of Octavias is an emphatic statement of intent from the brand in its transition to becoming a truly aspirational marque. The vRS range is an established brand within the brand, with devoted followers whose enthusiasm for the cars has driven it into its fifteenth year. Six years ago at Bonneville we broke a world record and now, with the Octavia vRS 245, we’ve broken another barrier – we’re the top dog in the hot hatch segment: powerfully and uncompromisingly ŠKODA.