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Skoda Octavia RS Car Review

Author: NRMA MotoringDate: 1 February 2008

Last sold in Australia over 25 years ago, Skoda relaunched itself at the Sydney International Motor Show in late 2007.

The current Skoda bears no resemblance to those sold here previously as the company has been owned by the Volkswagen group since 2000. It is now one of the fastest growing brands in Europe, sold in over 90 countries worldwide.

The Skoda range includes the Roomster and Octavia.

Octavia is available as a sedan or wagon in three variants - Ambiente, Elegance and RS. There are five engine and four transmission combinations. Here we've tested the 2.0 litre turbo FSI RS wagon.

Value for money

Pricing

At $39,990 the Octavia RS wagon is the top of the range. The RS sedan costs $37,990. Both are only available with a 2.0 litre turbocharged FSI 147kW engine and six-speed gearbox.

Standard features

The standard features list is impressive and includes climate control two-zone airconditioning, cooled glove box, multi function on-board trip computer, soft touch rear door electric remote opening, heated power mirrors, power front and rear windows, heated front seats, cruise control, rear park distance control, central locking, inside rear vision mirror with automatic dimming and rain sensor, and a top of the line radio pack with six-stack CD changer and MP3 player with 8 speakers.

Design & function

Space & practicality

Interior space is excellent with ample storage pockets throughout, including roof sunglass holder, upper dash pocket with lid, arm rest box with 12V audio socket, under passenger seat storage compartment, large front door side pockets with 1 litre drink bottle holders, rear doors side pockets and chilled glove box. The RS even has small storage pockets in the sides of the sports seats.

Skoda has also added little extras such as document and card holders in the glove box lid and a parking ticket holder on the driver's front windscreen attached to the "A" pillar. The Octavia wagon is also well equipped - its massive rear cargo area has a low floor that still manages to conceal a full size spare tyre.

Comfort

Up front the fully adjustable sports seats are well padded. Finding a comfortable driving position was easy but, as with many modern vehicles, the centre rear seat back was hard and uncomfortable.

The Octavia has a split fold 1/3 and 2/3 rear seat enabling the centre rear seat hatch to fold down and carry long objects such as skis while still being able to comfortably seat large passengers. However anyone sitting in the centre will have a less than comfortable ride.

Ergonomics

The Octavia has a clean, sharp and well appointed dash with controls and functions mounted within easy reach and clear visibility of the driver.
The radio, airconditioning, cruise control and on-board trip computer are all easy to see and operate. The only concern is the speedo markings - the graduations of 50, 70, 90 and 110 can be hard to read.

Otherwise everything is of a good standard with quality plastic mouldings and trim used throughout the cabin.

Safety

This is an area where the Skoda shines. The safety package on the RS includes Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Traction Control System (TCS), Brake Assist (BA) and Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD). It also has active front seat head restraints, driver and passenger front airbags, side airbags, head curtain airbags and tyre pressure monitoring (TPM).

The Skoda Octavia Ambiente (without side curtain airbags and seat belt reminders) was tested by EuroNCAP in 2007 and scored a 4 star occupant protection rating.

The Australian version will be eligible for a pole test as it has side head protecting airbags but to date Skoda has elected not to conduct this test.

Build quality & finish

The build quality and finish, both inside and out, is impressive. Skoda's choice of quality plastics and trim materials makes for a rattle and squeak-free environment and a comfortable driving experience.

The paint finish was also good. Our test vehicle was "Race Blue Metallic" which, when combined with the RS styling package, made it stand-out in the crowd.

Security

At the time of testing the security system in the Octavia had not been evaluated. The RS is fitted with an alarm with internal monitoring and a siren with back up power. The Octavia also has remote control central door and tail gate locking and fuel flap locking.

On the road

Fuel

The 2.0 litre 147kW engine achieved an average fuel consumption figure of 9.52 litres per 100km during our test. 8.2 l/100km was recorded on the highway and 10.8 l/100km in the city. The only down side is it requires 95 RON fuel, which may be a cost concern for some potential buyers.

Performance

The turbocharged, intercooled, four cylinder, 2.0 litre, petrol engine features direct injection technology and delivers 147kW of power between 5100 and 5700rpm and 280Nm of torque between 1800 and 5000rpm. The 2.0 TFSI engine is matched with a six-speed manual transmission that is easy to use with a close, sporty gear shift. The gear ratios are nicely matched to the engine characteristics and the clutch action is light and user friendly. The engine is smooth and achieves excellent performance throughout the rev range.

Ride, handling & steering

The Octavia RS is the performance flagship in the Skoda range and is keen to show off its credentials with its well-tuned steering and suspension package.

The front has MacPherson struts with lower triangular links and torsion bars. The rear is equipped with a multi-element axle with one longitudinal and three transverse links and torsion stabilisers.

The Octavia has direct, electro-mechanical rack and pinion power steering giving it a firm but direct feel on the road. During track testing the RS performed well in all situations including poor, rain-damaged, unsealed roads. The only concern was its harsh ride at slow speed over speed humps and into driveways - a small price to pay for sporty handling.

Braking

Four-wheel disc brakes are standard across the range and with Anti-lock Brakes, Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Pressure Distribution the RS achieved an average braking distance of 23.4 metres at 80km/h. Braking performance on the track and around the mountains was excellent with no brake fade evident during testing.

Smoothness & quietness

Engine noise was acceptable with only the whistle of the turbocharger on acceleration and the crisp note of the rear sports exhaust evident.

The cabin was well insulated with only slight wind noise from the front "A" pillar when on the freeway. Tyre noise was also a concern but is to be expected with low profile 225/40 R18 tyres.

Summary

The Skoda Octavia impresses with its level of safety, handling, performance and comfort. In the sports car range it has the unique advantage of being available in both sedan and wagon. This turbocharged Czech rocket is turning heads wherever it lands and feedback to this point has been mostly positive.

Test vehicle supplied by Skoda Australia.

Quick Facts

Make Skoda
Model Octavia RS
Category Medium
Year 2008
Body type Station Wagon
Price of vehicle tested $39,990
Pluses

Power/Performance
Handling
Body style
Standard safety features

Minuses

Small sun roof
Hard centre rear seat back
Wind noise from "A" pillars

Country of manufacture Czech Republic
Warranty 3 years/unlimited km
Models Available

Ambiente
Elegance
RS

Prices

RS sedan: $37,990
RS wagon: $39,990

Specifications

Engine

 
Number of cylinders 4
Engine size 1.984 L
Induction Electronically controlled direct
Fuel PULP
Claimed max power (kW) 147 kW @ 5100-6000 rpm
Claimed max torque (Nm) 280 Nm @ 1800/5000 rpm

Transmission

 
Type Manual

Wheels

 
Wheel type Alloy
Wheel size 7.5J x 18" "

Tyres

 
Spare tyre type Full size steel

Steering

 
Type Electro mechanical rack & pinion
Turns to lock 3.9 m

Dimensions

 
Mass 1400 kg
Length 4578 mm
Width (including mirrors) 1970 mm
Height 1417 mm
Seating capacity 5
Fuel capacity 55 litres

Towing

 
Max towed mass (trailer plus load) 650 kg

NRMA Theft Rating

 

Acceleration - Test results

 
50 - 80km/h 3.65 secs
60 - 100km/h 4.75 secs
0 - 80km/h 5.92 secs
0 - 100km/h 8.51 secs

Fuel Consumption

 
Best recorded during testing 8.28 L/100km
Worst recorded during testing 10.8 L/100km
Average on test 9.52 L/100km

Braking

 
Distance to stop (from 80km/h) 23.43 metres

Noise

 
Interior noise at constant 80km/h 71.5 dB(A) dB(A)

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