The Skoda Octavia Combi RS TSI at a glance
A “C” ombi just in case
First baby, then drama. What hard times these were. Before, in the 1990s. When you are happy about the offspring, go through the nights with your daughter or son and learn by heart the assortment on the baby food shelf of the local drugstore.
The ideal world often ended with the thought of one’s own car. The “hot hatch”, which was mostly front-wheel drive on the threshold between driving fun and “I can afford it”, has to give way to a larger car. Because behind the sports seats for the driver and front passenger, not only does a child seat have to go with them, but there is also space for prams and other things in the trunk.
In 2001 came the cautious, in 2002 the final redemption. Skoda crowned the Octavia series, which was already highly regarded at the time, first as a hatchback, then also as a Combi (which the Czechs traditionally write with a “C”) as an RS.
There are three motors to choose from
Over the years, the sporty top model of the Octavia series has not only become a friend of heads of family, but also a favorite of many company car drivers. Generous space for passengers and luggage, paired with sporty driving performance and a matching appearance. Not much can go wrong when you pull up to the toddler group or the business meeting.
Supply and demand drive each other. According to this market law, Skoda first brought the gasoline engine and then the diesel drive in the Octavia RS. The fourth generation is now also in the starting block as a sports version. Newly fashioned as the RS iV with plug-in hybrid drive, as a TDI diesel and still as a classic gasoline engine.
The competition watched the goings-on in the Skoda dealerships with interest, and among other things produced the Ford Focus ST as a tournament. Even within the group there is an adversary in the form of the new Cupra Leon Sportstourer, which will in future also be offered with engines from 245 hp.
Turbo petrol engine from the VW Golf GTI
Meanwhile, the Octavia RS’s performance seems familiar, as it is in the current data sheet of the forefather of the sporty compact class. Yes, right – the VW Golf GTI is meant. After the strategists in Wolfsburg were still unable to decide whether to offer it in a combination dress, the Skoda Octavia RS was once again arriving as the “GTI for adults”.
The two-liter four-cylinder, known internally as EA888, drives the front wheels in the Skoda Octavia RS with 180 kW / 245 PS (combined fuel consumption: 6.5–6.6 l / 100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 149–151 g / km²). In the test car, its 370 Newton meters of torque are managed by the familiar 7-speed DSG; alternatively, a 6-speed manual transmission is also available.
A small gear knob instead of the selector lever in the center console is the obvious sign of the “shift-by-wire” technology. Commands to engage a speed step are no longer transmitted mechanically, but electronically. But the engineers and developers have also worked on other areas. The often criticized jerking of the double coupler when starting has been significantly reduced.
Fast and safe
Once in motion, the Octavia RS behaves as you would like your daughter and son to do when they were young. He proceeds purposefully and briskly, but saves himself antics. In addition to a modern armada of assistance systems for active and passive safety, this is also ensured by the electronically controlled transverse differential lock on the front axle. It is standard in the Skoda Octavia RS.
The front tires hardly lose traction when accelerating quickly, at least on a dry road. Only when suddenly accelerating at the apex of a tight curve do the limits of the drive layout become apparent – but negligible in everyday life.
Rather, it depends on good manners. The Skoda Octavia masters this, and the RS is no exception. On country roads and the autobahn, it shines with good straight-line stability, the wind noise is kept within tight limits.
The additional investment in adaptive dampers, called DCC in the Volkswagen group, is recommended. In addition to the preconfigured driving modes, you can also put together an individual setup. If the digital controller for the damper adjustment on the touchscreen is pushed all the way to the left in the comfort corner, the Octavia RS is relaxed about bumps. Unnecessary rigor in the sporty tuning does not really suit the spacious station wagon, so dynamically inclined RS drivers choose a golden mean between “sport” and “normal”.
Artificial engine sound with a nerve factor
If you’re already flipping through the settings, you can also take care of the engine sound directly. The RS developers apparently did not trust the four-cylinder engine used throughout the group from small cars to large SUVs to have its own voice over the exhaust system.
To do this, they rely on the engine sound artificially generated by the sound system, which at the maximum level can even be carried away into a fake V8-Bollern. A rather embarrassing idea that does not fit the otherwise well-designed Skoda.
The RS also brings details such as the ice scraper in the tank lid, an umbrella stowed in the door compartment and even a fluffy blanket with fold-out side rests for the rear headrests. The offspring can (not only) nod off relaxed when they have long outgrown the age of a child seat.
Octavia with better service
Further ahead you can see digital instruments behind the three-spoke sports steering wheel and I also have to deal with the sometimes overly digital controls in the Octavia. After all: the slider under the ten-inch touchscreen, which is not illuminated at night, only has to be used for the audio volume in the Czech Republic.
Seat heating and air conditioning functions can be controlled directly via the display, and a wide button bar in the center console makes it easier to control important menu items. Only a small difference to Leon and Golf, but which is a significant relief in handling.
8.8 liters test consumption
At the end of the test day, the on-board computer shows a consumption of 8.8 liters per 100 kilometers, driven in with fast sections of the motorway and overland traffic. Here, too, the Skoda Octavia RS keeps it balanced. He cannot and does not want to be an ascetic, but has his thirst under control.
The Skoda Octavia RS has shown its family talent and sportsmanship. The only thing left is the price list. As a Combi with DSG, it starts at 39,225 euros according to the price list. This is not cheap, even if a pretty good standard equipment, including: strong sports seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, DAB +, inductive charging cradle for the smartphone, steering wheel heating and keyless access is already included in the back of the head.
A VW Golf GTI is a good 2,600 euros cheaper. But it has five centimeters less wheelbase and therefore less space in the rear, and a significantly smaller trunk. If you throw that into the balance, you certainly risk a look at the Cupra Formentor Sport Tourer. The Spaniard shares the larger wheelbase with the Octavia and is just below its Bohemian brother (640 liters) in terms of loading volume with 620 liters. There is not yet a price for the Leon with 245 hp petrol engine, but as a plug-in hybrid it is significantly less than 3,864 euros cheaper than the corresponding Octavia iV.
The fourth generation of the Skoda Octavia also looks good. This also applies to the RS, which once again has the right amount of dynamism. With 245 hp and a crisp setup, it can put a grin on the driver’s face when necessary. He likes to leave drama to others – baby or not. (Text and image: Bernd Conrad)