What GTI is to Golf, RS is to Octavia. A hot version of the incredibly practical Skoda Octavia brings much appreciated entertainment and performance to the already excellent Czech saloon.
The Octavia RS comes with a choice of one diesel engine and one petrol option. The diesel is a turbo charged 2.0 four cylinder engine with 184bhp mated to a 6-speed manual or optional DSG semi-automatic transmission. The Petrol option is a more potent turbo charged 2.0 litre petrol four cylinder with 220bhp with the same transmissions. The latter will get you from 0-100kmh in just 6.8 seconds making it a true hot hatch. There is also a newer RS230 model with 230bhp making it in just 6.5 seconds. Both the diesel and petrol are also available in Combi (estate) guise.
Overall the Octavia RS saloon has quite a firm ride, and while you may feel general road imperfections more than in the standard Octavia, the RS is still a great long distance cruiser. The firmness makes the RS reassuringly surefooted in the bends and the steering is perfectly weighted too. It does feel quite like the Golf GTI behind the wheel but not quite as engaging as the Golf’s drive. It gets the power down well and body lean is barely evident in the corners. The RS230 gets a clever differential fitted to it improving acceleration and performance in and out of the corners.
The Octavia RS gets its own unique specification that features cosseting sports seats embossed with the RS logo, a leather RS gear knob and leather multi-function leather flat bottomed sports steering wheel. You also get a more aggressive exterior package that includes revised front and rear bumpers with LED lights, unique 18-inch alloy wheels, contrast coloured gloss black wing mirrors and a rear boot spoiler. The larger wheels do add some additional road noise to the RS’s interior, but it’s an acceptable payoff for the appearance and better grip. RS230 gets 19-inch wheels as standard.
The latest Skoda Octavia interior quality is nothing short of excellent and the same can be said for the RS on which it is based. The dashboard is constructed from quality soft-touch materials with contrast gloss or carbon style inserts found on the centre console and door cards. It is a very neat finish with some niche styling cues. The design may lack some of the flair of a Golf GTI’s cabin, but you have to pay considerably more for that. The driving position is nigh on perfect and the standard half leather and Alcantara seats are both supportive and comfortable.
The standard Octavia on which the RS is based achieved a full five star safety rating in Euro NCAP crash testing. It also gets a very impressive level of standard safety technology that includes bigger brakes and stopping power for the RS, electronic stability control, front assistant and automatic braking, lane assist, multi-collision brake, driver activity assistant and a full set of seven airbags.
You will be happy to know that the hot RS version of the Octavia does not compromise any of its practicality. It’s still big on interior space with rear passengers benefiting from excellent leg and headroom beating its Volkswagen Golf GTI and SEAT Leon Cupra cousins. There is good storage throughout the cabin too with a large glovebox, central cubby under the armrest and good sized door pockets. The boot is where the Octavia excels giving 590 litres of space as standard in the saloon. The rear seats can also be folded forward to create a cavernous 1580 litres of space.