The Swiss army knife car!

Skoda RS Experience, Act 1: Test of the Octavia RS TSI

Rs. Two letters that particularly resonate with Skoda. This label appeared in 1974 on the Czech brand, along with the 180 and 200 RS rally prototypes. But we have to wait until 2000 to see this logo attached to a production Skoda, in this case the first generation Octavia. Today, the Skoda RS range includes the Octavia, the Kodiaq and the recent Enyaq Coupé. The manufacturer invited us to the Czech Republic, to participate in the Skoda RS Experience. On the program: testing the RS range (contemporary but “historic” models), and a spectacular co-drive in the new Fabia RS Rally2. For this first act, I’ve put you in one of the most versatile cars in current production: the Skoda Octavia RS 2.0 TSI 245. As a bonus, I even managed to get behind the wheel of its second-generation predecessor.

The Skoda RS Experience program, in two pictures: Skoda RS, and a rally beast in the background!

A sports outfit for the Skoda Octavia RS

It is known: sport is first and foremost a question of clothing. Skoda understood this very well: rather carefully in the “classic” configuration, the Octavia is decorated with attractive sports qualities in the RS version, without dissolving into joy for all that.

We note in particular the specific, perforated shields, the larger wheels (18 inch minimum), the elements painted in gloss black (grill, mirrors, spoiler, etc.), or the red deflector at the rear apron

Various emblems/badges also receive this “all black” treatment.

Well OK, the Mamba Green color of my test model may not suit everyone, but let’s recognize at least two merits: it’s free, and it won’t leave anyone indifferent!

A quality finish that impresses

I pushed open an open door (or even two): today’s Skodas are no longer identical to the brand’s products of the 80s/early 90s. you are convinced of it.

Abandoning the “truncated” design of previous generations, this Octavia 4 benefits from a modern and decidedly airy dashboard. Additionally, build quality is impressive, with flattering materials (“heart-shaped plastic” on the dashboard surface, “microfiber suede” dashboard cover and storm doors), and assemblies which shows seriousness.

The dynamic vocation of the model is obligatory, there are some elements specific to this RS version, such as the flat three-spoke sports steering wheel with perforated leather, full sports seats with covers combining suede and imitation leather, or even inserts in “true -false” carbon (which looks very nice).

Storm doors even have the luxury of carpeting the door jambs! Only the door butts are slightly suggestive, with their grain a little less flattering (but I nitpick). And in any case, you have to appreciate the dark colors of this interior, because they are the only ones available in the Octavia RS!

Skoda obliged, the space on board is a reference, with rear seats worthy of a limousine, and a trunk that offers a very, very large volume: 600 liters.

Driving Skoda Octavia 4 RS TSI 245

We are well, very well settled aboard the Octavia RS. The driving position is great, and apart from the GPS mapping (which is a bit outdated), the interface is smooth and quite easy to use, despite missing a good portion of the physical controls.

Thanks to its different driving modes, the car adapts very well to “good father” driving, showing itself to be very civilized, and more relaxed. Above all, the noise level is well contained (especially on the highway), and the mechanical/gearbox tandem works well.

Mechanics, let’s talk about it. “My” Octavia RS is powered by a 245 hp “full thermal” 2.0 TSI, which is necessarily associated (in the French market in any case) with the DSG7 box. Enough to cover 0 to 100 in 6.7 seconds, and reach 250 km / h at the peak. This 2.0 TSI is the only engine associated with the RS finish, the versions powered by the 200 hp 2.0 TDI (an engine I just finished testing in the RS Combi version) or the 1.4 PHEV (RS iV) no longer which is available in the French configurator.

Dynamic behavior, and good grip

It is clear that by increasing speed the RS coat of arms takes on its full meaning. The Octavia RS then offers a dynamic and sharp behavior, with its stable controls (progressive direction is delivered as standard). Lowered by 15 minutes thanks to the sports suspension, the Octavia RS is even more versatile with the optional DCC adaptive chassis (charged at 930 Euros). Ultimately, the car corners almost flat, and the downforce changes are better for it.

In the sportiest driving modes, the sound of the 2.0 TSI is supported by the car’s speakers (via the “Dynamic Sound Boost” system), sometimes a bit too much. Apart from this detail, this 2.0 TSI is dazzlingly pleasant: overflowing with vitality, “full” everywhere, it already offers good grip. Quite simply, one of the best four cylinders on the market.

Simple traction is obligatory, sometimes the motricity can be broken in “oily-wet” conditions (the test was done in mid-autumn, with some parts covered with dead leaves), without it becoming really punishable. The increase in torque on the steering wheel is also discreet, and the impression of the stiffness of the whole is impressive. Despite its size as a family sedan, this Octavia RS is efficient and (very) fun to drive at speed, although we wouldn’t qualify it as a radical sports car (that’s fine, Skoda makes no such claim).

Ultimately, its versatility has no real equal on the market: few cars offer the same space/comfort/versatility/dynamism equation. Sold from 45,270 Euros, this Octavia RS 2.0 TSI 245 DSG7 is a true Swiss army knife!

At the wheel of the predecessor: the Octavia 2 RS

When I was offered a trial run on the second-generation Octavia RS (Phase 2), I did not hesitate for long: opportunities to test the manufacturer’s old productions are very rare. Made available by a private owner, my copy of the day was (also) equipped with the 2.0 TSI, and received a very rare “Yellow Sprint” color, almost as flashy as the Green Mamba. The platform used is the VW Golf 6, and the power is established at 200 hp “all batteries”. Aesthetically speaking, it lacks a bit of flavor, but it doesn’t age well. We feel that the designers of Skoda were ashamed of that time: the protruding edges and other geometric shapes of its descendant are still far, but it is still far from being unpleasant to look at.

You will undoubtedly notice: this copy has received some changes, such as elements repainted in black (especially on the roof), rims, or dark-colored windows. The exhaust is not original, and I also admit that there are doubts about the “original” part of the rims.

A strict interior, but not changed

The interior furniture is clearly aged, and as warm as a prison door, but for the rest, the build quality is impressive, especially for our test car, which really hasn’t done its 150,000 km . Obviously, the small screen of the Amundsen system seems very old now compared to its large touch screen descendant, but it still works, and it now offers Bluetooth.

150,000 km, and all its teeth

The DSG6 box hasn’t really aged (apart from its big lever), and it still offers great responsiveness, especially when using the paddles on the steering wheel. The sport mode of the box is still contemporary in its approach. I admit I was struck by the good health of the 2.0 TSI. Despite its power deficit (200 hp, compared to 245 for the current Octavia RS), you will not feel any noticeable difference when accelerating (0 to 100 is given in 7.1 sec), and it is still characterized by good its availability. The engine revs without running out of steam, and the turbo charges like day one. A real joy!

The icing on the cake, the steering offers a more “organic” feel than its predecessor, despite the lack of a driving mode. The damping is clearly firm, but it serves a very stiff chassis, and which still makes for a muscular drive. True, we manage to remove motricity from tight turns, but for everything else, this Octavia 2 RS can go back to more recent cars than this!

Conclusion: A good pedigree, and an outstanding versatility

Beautiful, superbly built and enjoying superb spaciousness, the Skoda Octavia 4 RS 2.0 TSI 245 is for me one of the most complete cars in current car production. It can do it all, or almost: it’s not content to accommodate the whole family with comfort and safety, it offers a very good level of performance, and really good road holding when the speed increases. Sure, some are sportier (that’s good: it wants to be more dynamic than actually sporty), but few cars tick so many boxes.

My Skoda experience is not over yet: I now have to tell you about my journey in the new Fabia RS Rally2, accompanied by the legendary Kris Meeke, without forgetting a nice wink from its famous predecessor. .. An attractive program, which came (very) quickly to the Blog!

To be continued…

Skoda Octavia 4 RS 2.0 TSI 245

Skoda Octavia 4 RS 2.0 TSI 245

we love

  • The sporty line but without excess (Vert Mamba apart)
  • The interior, very well presented, and just as well built
  • Reference habitability
  • The 2.0 TSI 245, overflows with pleasure, and is endowed with good grip
  • Dynamic and pleasant road behavior

We love less

  • GPS is quite old
  • Traction not perfect (wet pavement)
  • The speakers sound a bit loud

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