Skoda Octavia RS Comprehensive Test
- Published On: 25 October 2017
- 5 min read
Skoda has finally gone ahead and plonked the Euro-spec powertrain in the latest RS Octavia model.
Skoda provided affordable performance cars in India even before the demand existed. The first-gen Octavia RS was one of the first affordable performance cars available in India and Skoda continued to offer RS variants in the two generations after that. The RS models of the past consisted of sporty visual tweaks, reworked suspension, better brakes, sporty wheels and different colour options.
The earlier RS variants could not be had with the more powerful Euro-spec engines. However, this time around the car features a Euro-spec 2-litre turbocharged engine with big horsepower numbers. The motor pushes 230hp and 350Nm and is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox.
Handling duties on the new RS are carried out by independent units all-around similar to the regular Octavia, though the RS has been stiffly set-up. The car is also lower by 15mm when compared to the regular Octavia in India, but rides 15mm higher when compared to the European RS model. The other major difference is that the Indian RS gets 17-inch wheels while the European model can be had with 20-inch wheels. Wrapped around the wheels are Michelin Pilot Sports, with the Z rating. The ‘Z’ implies they can handle speeds upward of 240kph.
On the outside
All exterior changes from the 2017 Octavia have made their way to the RS. The RS does feature a few tweaks to these changes as well, like the blacked-out headlight that makes the headlight look like a part of the grille. Other changes include an aggressive front and rear bumper, the dual exhausts and the boot-lid spoiler. Since the car is based on the top-spec model of the Octavia, it features keyless entry, a sunroof, adaptive LED headlamps, eight airbags, park-assist and a touchscreen infotainment system.
Since it’s based on a practical sedan, you get useful bits like the huge 590-litre boot that can be further extended. The colour scheme on the RS model is all black, and there’s alcantara used on the inside as well. The car also gets a flat-bottom RS steering wheel. When compared to the European model, the car loses out on adjustable dampers and drive modes. The high cost was the reason it isn’t seen on the Indian car.
How does it drive?
When being driven in the regular ‘D’ mode the car feels dull and hesitates while shifting down a gear. This mode is best for the daily grind where efficiency is the main priority. Once you shift the car to ‘S’, the car comes alive. The engine now has a strong mid-range. The exhaust also lets out lovely noises in the ‘S’ mode, furthermore it also makes1 a nice burble noise on the overrun. The RS pulls surprisingly well; it managed to do 100kph in just 6.6sec. In this ‘S’ mode the car shifts way quicker and revs all the way up to 6,000rpm. Interestingly, in the ‘M’ mode the car can be revved all the way upto 6,700rpm, however, it will automatically upshift once you reach there.
The performance sedan also has a smart limited-slip differential. This system allows the outside wheel to spin faster in a corner and brakes the inside wheel for a more aggressive approach. Interestingly, it does a good job at hiding the understeer that would be typically seen in a front-wheel drive car with 350Nm. The grippy Michelin tyres work together with the limited-slip differential to help the car cling on to the tarmac. The car also makes all the right noises when being driven hard. Skoda has gone ahead and made the steering a bit heavier and it feels great. The car gave fuel economy figures of 7.22kpl in the city and 13.10kpl on the highway with non-aggressive driving. One can expect the figure to drop lower than that with hard driving.
Should I buy one?
The Skoda Octavia RS is priced at ₹25.48 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). And that’s not something everyone could call affordable. However, the car does offer strong performance from its 230hp engine. In addition to that it features decent levels of comfort and practicality. The Skoda Octavia RS is one of the best everyday performance cars we’ve ever had on Indian soil.