WITH the SKODA Octavia RS, the palpable sense of engagement kicks in as soon as you power up and hit the accelerator.
The growling of the turbocharged 2-litre engine is evident in the cabin and serves as an appropriate soundtrack as the front-wheel-driven picks up speed smoothly. It appears swifter than the 0-100kmh of 6.7 seconds suggests.
That’ll be hard to emulate in an electric vehicle.
The handling is sharp as it powers through the gears smoothly, the paddle shifters responding smartly, even if you have to peer at the tiny indicator on the digital display to check which gear you’re in. Most of the time it’s likely to be in drive, but on the odd occasion you’d like to get a bit more pep, it’s there when you need it.
And all this will be achieved while carefully measuring out the offerings of the 50-litre fuel tank. The fuel consumption of 6.5L/100kmh is worth noting, given the current sky-high price of petrol.
The Octavia RS retails for *$208,000 which may seem high, but given that it can knock out 180kW and has good aerodynamics for improved performance and greater efficiency, it may work out to be a worthwhile deal compared with the price points of other cars in the same category.
Since joining the Volkswagen Group in the early 1990s, the Czech brand’s reputation has been on the rise. The positive effect has been global and with cars like the Octavia RS’s well-masked racing desire, it teases out the fun from the seemingly sedate.
The sporty sedan looks the part in the right colour. In the case of the test drive, a bright red with similar hues on the Alcantara seats and the display panel. But if you wanted something a little less loud and a little more executive, there are more muted colours.
The Octavia RS is packed with new technology which keeps you in lane, alerts you to potential issues, has space-saving, shift-by-wire technology which is managed by a stylish shifter rather than the usual gear stick, and has parking assist. It also has a virtual pedal to pop the boot lid.
The interior of the Octavia RS with its carbon fibre touches and sporty black upholstery is comfortable and contemporary. Electric seats get you into a good position and the multifunction leather steering offers relevant features that you would need to access, like the music controls, telephone and your displays. A head up display would have been nice to have.
Key controls for the car’s set up are on the touchscreen, which would have been better placed facing the driver, for easy access.
While many functions can be set before the journey, there are times you’ll need to access it; for instance, if you want to deactivate the auto start/stop feature, which is inconveniently not a physical button.
Such little quirks won’t detract too much from the enjoyable drive offered by the Octavia RS.
SKODA OCTAVIA RS RATING
*Please reconfirm price with dealer.
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