With its strong lines, and a slightly odd name, Octavia provides a more spacious alternative to a hot hatch in the Skoda Octavia RS 245.
This is the hottest offering in the Octavia range and has the same 180kW engine found in the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
Despite being on sale here for several years, Skoda continues to a brand that only a few know about. Perhaps that is a plus for the canny buyers who want a exclusivity without trading an arm for it.
There are only 4 colours available; red and grey in standard paint, and black and white in metallic. These are matched with a smart set of grey 19”, five-hole alloy wheels.
Clever LED lighting gives a slightly unassuming car a bit of much-desired menace.
A wagon offers extra space over a hatch but for some reason doesn’t carry the same gravitas in Australia that it does in Europe. It’s seen here as a bit of a mum’s taxi.
That may be so, but the Skoda Octavia RS 245 is for the mum with attitude.
The chunky looks lend itself to SUV convenience without the bulk that comes with it.
The interior is clever, and classy with a design that is crisp and clean. Soft touch plastic surfaces have a quality feel to them.
The seats are not only supportive and comfortable, but adjust exactly to a good driving position. The steering wheel adjusts for rake and reach.
You’re not short of cubby holes either.
The glove box is air conditioned, and the centre console has a spot for a mobile. There is wireless charging too.
As well as a spot for your umbrella under the passenger’s seat, there is a bin in the door that Skoda says is for rubbish. There are bottle holders also in the doors, and a sunglasses holder overhead.
I liked the retainer on the windscreen for carpark tickets, clever.
One of the coolest features would have to be the LED torch that is always charged. It lives in a cubby hole in the cargo hold. It isn’t unique exactly, but it is very welcome.
While we are in the back, I have to mention the double sided rear mat. Carpet on one side, and cleanable non-slip rubber on the other. Perfect for damp sports gear.
Headroom is plentiful and rear legroom is good with four adults fitting easily.
There is a tablet holder on the rear of the front seat too. Never again will you hear “are we there yet”.
To keep an eye on what’s going on in the back seat, there is an accessory that fits above the standard rear view mirror and allows Big Brother in the front seat to see all.
You can extend internal space by using roof boxes too. There are also some nifty boot systems for some models which keep things nice and tidy back there. It is the automotive equivalent of landscaping.
The entertainment system sounds brilliant and is easy to use. A high-resolution screen responds quickly, and the menu lacks any of the self-obsessed fussiness of some of the other Europeans.
Apple CarPlay is included and makes the brands which don’t have it seem rather “last week”.
- Wireless phone charging
- Apple CarPlay
- Front emergency braking
- Cross traffic alert and braking
- Cargo net
- Clever storage
- LED headlights with adaptive 15° turning ability
- Parking Sensors
- Semi-automated parking
- Auto lights and wipers
- Lane assist (includes active steering and audible warnings)
- Active blind spot assist
- 5 year unlimited km warranty
While some of these attributes can be considered safety features, no one can argue the RS 245 isn’t a clever car.
Drive and Engine
The RS 245 scores an extra cog on the DSG which is a seven-speed box. At low speeds the DSG can be a bit “grabby”, and although it makes gear changes pretty snappy, I’d prefer a regular auto.
A six-speed manual can be had, and for fewer shekels too.
The handling is simply superb. Drive modes allow you to select whatever combination of throttle, chassis, gear, and steering settings you like best. The sportier the settings, the raspier the engine seems to sound.
Even the harshest of sporty settings feels elegant. There is none of that socially unacceptable wobbling of your bits in juttery corners.
Sure other hot hatches in the segment drive all wheels verses the Octavia’s Front Wheel set up, but the clever Limited Slip Diff sorts out any wayward behavior.
The 2018 Skoda Octavia range is covered by a full five-star ANCAP safety rating, while the RS 245 boasts standard safety gear that includes:
- Seven airbags: front, side, side curtain, driver’s knee
- Active Blind Spot assist with warning light and steering assist
- Passenger Protect Assist
- Fatigue detection
- Multi collision braking (prevents secondary accident by stopping and applying the brake)
- Prefill Braking (pre-fills hydraulics with fluid in anticipation of heavy braking)
Many of these features were previously only found in high-end models.
Passenger protection assist will tighten seat belts and close the windows and sunroof to give the airbags the best chance of protecting passengers.
- Superb handling and ride (as good as Golf GTI thanks to drive mode selection)
- Great tech (some of the tech mentioned is optional via “packs”)
- Spritely performance
Not So Good Bits
- Not quite daring enough looks-wise
- Prefer a normal auto to a DSG
- Brand awareness not what it could be
The 2018 Skoda Octavia RS 245 is a peach.
It drives like a Volkswagen Golf GTI but costs less. It has more room, and somehow feels more practical.
Drive and handling have an unexpected finesse and it looks more expensive than it actually is too.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Skoda Octavia RS 245
- Engine: 2.0 litre turbo-petrol producing 180kW/370Nm
- Transmission: Seven-speed DSG auto or six-speed manual
- Safety: Five stars
- Warranty: Five years
- Origin: Czech Republic
- Price: from $46,490