Hot hatchbacks are brilliant at providing thrills alongside decent space and practicality, but few place as much emphasis on the latter as the Skoda Octavia vRS. The recipe is simple: take one cavernous Skoda Octavia, fit it with the range’s most powerful engines, adjust its suspension to cope with the extra speed and hey presto, the sporty vRS is born.
Unusually for the class, you get a choice of petrol or diesel engines in the vRS. If you’re a sensible sort, the 2.0 TDI produces a respectable 181bhp and – assuming you avoid the four-wheel drive option – CO2 emissions of just 116g/km.
But if you prefer your hot hatches to be a bit spicier than the Korma at your local takeaway, there’s always the 2.0 TSI petrol. Power jumps to a more muscular 242bhp, knocking at least a second off the diesel’s 0-62mph time. Even so, no vRS is Jalfrezi hot compared to the current crop of circa 300bhp competitors.
Indeed, the Octavia vRS is up against some seriously talented opposition, all tuned-up versions of standard family hatchbacks. For a start, there’s our current favourite, the Honda Civic Type-R, the ridiculously agile Renaultsport Megane RS and also the bargain of the bunch, the Hyundai i30N.
However, it’s worth us pointing out that the Octavia vRS isn’t just a hot hatchback, it’s a hot estate, too. Both the petrol and diesel models are available with a more capacious behind should you want to be as sensible as humanly possible.
But is its performance up to scratch, and can it mix it with the best? Read on to find out how the vRS compares. And if you are in the market for a vRS or any other new hot hatch, have a nose at our New Car Buying section for huge savings on this and its rivals.