If you want to find out about the regular, fourth-generation Škoda Octavia iV, head over to our previous news article as here we'll focus on the performance-orientated vRS option.
The Octavia is an important car for Škoda as by far and away the brand's best selling model globally. Both here in the UK and in mainland Europe the vRS version has been one of the most lauded Q cars since its launch in 2001 and accounts for around one-in-four Octavia sales. It has a strong cult following with many people who owned the Mk1 back in the day having since owned a Mk2 and Mk3 as each subsequent era of car became more sophisticated, yet maintained that fun element.
Škoda's fourth-generation Octavia vRS is available in regular petrol-only form, but with the iV PHEV joining the ranks, will the 'green' performance option be worthy of the vRS label?
It's in the powertrain department that Škoda has strayed farthest from its ICE-powered winning formula – which has previously included both petrol and diesel. Whilst we'd love to report that in true old-school tuner style the 1.4-litre TSI turbo petrol engine under the bonnet of the vRS gets a chubbier turbo than the regular Octavia iV, the truth is that the engine and electric motor are exactly the same. The only difference is in the software that controls them.
This means that the petrol motor produces 148bhp and is helped along by a 114bhp electric motor, but whilst the regular Škoda Octavia iV is limited to 201bhp, adjustments in the powertrain software release an extra 40bhp in the vRS. Alongside the 241bhp is a healthy 295lb-ft of twist which is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed DSG transmission, enabling the car to hit 62mph in 7.3 seconds and reach 140mph. Interestingly, the PHEV trumps the regular vRS between 50 and 70mph by 2.2 seconds despite lugging around something like 250kg of additional mass.
Much of that mass comes from the 13kWh battery which enables the vRS iV to travel up to 37 miles on electric power alone at speeds of up to 87mph. Adjustable regenerative braking helps claw back power on the move, too. The Škoda's official emissions come in at just 30g/km with efficiency up to 188mpg. Charging to 80 per cent from a 3.6kW homewall box takes two and a half hours, or an hour longer for the full 100 per cent.
As you'd expect, the vRS gets some more aggressive styling details. The grille, air curtains, diffuser on the vRS-specific front apron, aeroflaps, diffuser on the rear apron and window frames all come in black. Active aero louvres on the grille aid efficiency by reducing warm-up times and aiding cooling. The hatch is fitted with a black rear spoiler and the estate gets a body-coloured roof spoiler. LED headlights are standard as are black 18 inch alloy wheels with 19 inch wheel a cost option. Brake calipers come in the vRS red finish.
The interior of the Octavia vRS iV is predominantly black and is differentiated from standard Octavia models with the inclusion of the vRS logo on the steering wheel and seats and Alcantara-covered dash. A 10.25 inch digital cockpit with head-up display is standard on the vRS and includes an additional Sport layout.
A standard touchscreen is available from 8.25 to 10 inches in size and integrates with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Thanks to an eSIM the car is always connected and can take commands through Laura, a digital assistant. Apps enable music, TV and other online streaming services, and there are several levels of navigation available depending on how much you want to spend. Up to five USB ports can be used for device connection and charging.
Whilst the Octavia vRS iV remains hugely practical with 490 litres of boot space, this is 150 litres less compared to the conventional car (in estate configuration) thanks to intrusion from the battery.
Update 22.10.20: If you're swayed towards the Škoda Octavia vRS iV it'll be available to order from November 3. Prices for the hatch start at £35,020, whilst the estate will start at £36,220 on the road.