Skoda, the Czechoslovakian fourth tentacle of the Volkswagen family of manufacturers, has spent nearly two decades methodically chipping away at any notions of shaky reliability. Skoda’s efforts have apparently paid off with not only a growing following in the West and particularly in Britain, but widespread critical praise with the automotive press. All of this progress has resulted in the development and production of a sporty new version of the Octavia sedan; the vRS.
After floundering a bit in the past to simply reinvent image misconceptions with consumers, Skoda’s confidence in producing the sporty Octavia vRS is a sign that the Czech company has finally found a solid foothold in the European market and is ready to take a larger bite out of their European competition. One of the appeals to the Skoda line is a wide variety of options available to customers including a variety of new powerplants. This is in part thanks to a large monetary investment in technology by VW that has allowed the vRS to deliver performance that if not truly sports car-like, is definitely spirited. In fact, most critics give the nod towards the vRS over the VW GTi in terms of driving satisfaction. The kudos begin with the 200 horsepower engine that drives the front wheels of the vRS and is the most powerful ever to appear in a Skoda. This efficient 4-cylinder is capable of a 0 to 62mph time in a respectable 7.3 seconds and has a top speed of 149mph. Skoda claims that it produces enormous torque (more than a Porsche Cayman S) and is mated to a six-speed transmission and utilizes a specially-tuned chassis and suspension set up to ensure that handling is up to the rigors. Despite the performance edge to the vRS, Skoda has kept fuel efficiency at a combined 35mpg. 18-inch wheels, twin exhaust and red brake calipers are the only mild indications of this car’s driving dynamics. Upgrades to the Octavia’s interior include, leather, sport seats, dual climate control and a laundry list of safety and child seat components.
Not that anyone needs reminding of the dollars relative weakness in comparison to the Euro, but pricing for the vRS is slightly more than 17,000 pounds or $33,095. Even so, the vRS is a solid option in the sport sedan segment.