What is it?
This is a fantastic Q-car. Understated in the extreme, people will assume you're a copper in an unmarked police car, which is no bad thing.
The diesel vRS has exactly the same engine that appears in the Seat Leon FR, a 2.0-litre lump with 181bhp and 280lb ft, which gives it enough motivation to get from 0-62mph in a respectable 8.1 seconds. The latter isn't spectacular - most regular hot hatches these days manage around six seconds - but the high torque output rescues the vRSd and makes it feel much quicker than the numbers suggest.
So it's not frenetic, but it is fast. The same slightly laid-back feeling applies to the chassis, despite being 15mm lower than the normal Octavia and running on stiffer springs with a thicker anti-roll bar. It's firmer, yes, but not uncomfortable, mainly because it's well damped and absorbs bumps with an easy grace.
On the inside
Brilliantly practical - which is presumably why the cops love ‘em. The boot holds 590-litres seats up - which believe us is plenty, and there’s room for five with change.
The petrol vRS emits 142g/km and returns mid 40s mpg, while the diesel emits 119g/km (without the DSG 'box, which adds another 10g) but returns a claimed 61.4mpg (manual).