Skoda Octavia 2.0 TSI vRS 5dr DSG
Clearly, you can see there’s a bit more heft to the Octavia than the Golf, and thus the fine dynamics of the Mark VII are a tad diluted. The steering is light and accurate enough, with sufficient weight to satisfy small-to-medium sized helmsmiths, but those of a more apex-splitting persuasion will require something less docile. It bobs about on its springs a bit too, though there’s enough chassis wizardry in this MQB platform to keep you entertained, just as long as this entertainment doesn’t start with ‘N’ and end in ‘ürburgring’.
The upside of the slightly podgy suspension though, is an entirely placid ride and great motorway refinement. Cross-continent trips in one of these would be a painless experience, just so long as you spec something bigger than the 1.2-litre TSI petrol engine. It struggles a tad, and with a bit of weight on board you get the feeling you’d have to stir the gearbox regularly. Our advice would be to go diesel, and to go big. Both 1.6 and 2.0-litre TDIs are cracking motors.
What’s that? You don’t trust diesel not to coat the lungs of urban urchins with a tarry paste? In that case, for short trips only, may we present the 113bhp 1.0-litre TSI motor. Again, with downsizing falling out of fashion this engine may too be an endangered species, but it’s so lightweight in the Octavia’s nose, it can be moderately good fun to hurl around. Still a bit inappropriate in a – how can we put this – airport taxi vehicle, but it’s a hidden gem that only loses out to diesels as a cost proposition over long mileages.
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