Skoda Octavia RS 245 review New Zealand
As I have stated on numerous occasions, the Skoda Octavia offers a welcome respite to the automotive world’s ever-increasing need to drive SUV’s. It blends saloon car good looks and handling with vast luggage space at (what some people would deem old school) knee level height. However, our insatiable desire for more speed and performance has prompted the Czech car maker to add an RS to the range and then trump it (not the Donald type) with an RS 245. We took to the mean streets of Auckland with the grin-inducing latter.
With the likes of its strongly channeled bonnet lines and quad front lamps, Octavia’s stoic design lends itself well to being sportified and the RS 245 has seized this opportunity boots an’ all. Aside from the VRS badging, the RS 245 has LED head and fog lights, the signature grille has been gloss blacked (along with the door mirrors and roof rails), the rear windows have been ‘sunset’ tinted, the exhaust pipe tips have been glossy black finished and the wheels have been increased to 19” and ‘terrifyingly’ include an Xtreme anthracite version that would make any kerb salivate (I opted to parking in the middle of the road, or used the self-park assist just to be safe).
The cockpit has received just as much attention. With Alcantara leather interior and RS sports seats. D-shape sports leather wheel and a Canton 10 speaker sound system, this, of course, is over and above its already well equipped and technologically advanced ‘simply cleverness’.
Time to get to the business end. Under the bonnet is a 2L TSI engine that directs (via a 7-speed DSG gearbox), 180kW and 370Nm to the wagon’s front wheel drive system. I’ll let those numbers settle for a while as I throw in a 0-100kph time of 6.7seconds and an efficiency of 6.4L/100k’s. To me, having that much power bearing down on two front wheels would equal a long time at junctions losing tyre tread as the wheel squeal, but this is simply not the case. Even in the wet, the RS 245’s traction control system engages with a bit of a bang (sorry about that Skoda NZ, but purely for research purposes) and along with an orange traction light flashing in sharp looking instrument cluster, the only squeals heard are the one of delight that burst forth from your wide smile. (I subsequently found out that the RS 245 possesses an active Electronic Diff Lock for the front Axle). From there it really is ‘game on’.
As the rev needle heads rapidly clockwise the 2L engine sends a reassuringly warm note through the entire cabin, it actually sounds like a V6. (Alright so this is enhanced by the Performance Sound Generator that comes with the RS mode selector but still, it’s cool).
Heading out to the hills meant that I could give the RS 245’s chassis and steering a bit of a going over. There are a few roads that I am growing accustomed to guiding vehicles around and the Skoda seemed to enjoy them too. The wagon comes across and light and responsive and overall very grippy. The gear selection is seldom caught out (I think it’s not built for some of my poor driving performance displays), however, there is paddle shift at your disposal should you require.
Taking the Skoda Octavia RS 245 wagon up to 180kW is an idea tantamount to genius. It allows owners the option to be both civil in their daily routines and yet release the hounds when the need for undiluted fun overcomes them. Directing that much power to a front wheel drive was a bit of an eyebrow raiser yet (through smart tech and mechanics) Skoda have pulled it off. The RS 245 does emit plenty of squeals but they appear to be restricted to just ones of delight!
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