Skoda Octavia RS 162TSI wagon 2016 review
The 162TSI continues as the entry version the Octavia RS wagon line-up, and lists at $39,590 or $42,690 drive away.
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Tim Robson road tests and reviews the 2016 Skoda Octavia RS 230 sedan and wagon at its Australian launch.
While it’s not quite at the stage of secret handshakes and initiation rituals quite yet, the cult of Skoda is definitely a growing trend.
The brand is a tiny part of the larger Volkswagen Group that quietly goes about making some really interesting cars that – unfortunately – don’t always grab the attention of the car buying public.
That’s quite all right with the people who do buy them, though.
In an increasingly cookie-cutter business, finding a car that suits a discerning taste but comes in at an affordable price is getting tough, but the Octavia RS is one such car. It offers a compelling blend of performance and practicality, underneath a badge that’s not seen in every car park.
Now, it’s possible to take that relative exclusivity and ramp it up a few notches, with the release of a very limited version of the Octavia RS.
|Skoda Octavia 2016: RS 230|
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
The RS 230 differs visually from its RS donor thanks to a piano black treatment of its grille, mirror caps, real faux diffuser, rear spoiler and roof.
A set of RS 230-specific 19-inch rims, known as the Xtreme, complete the exterior changes to the RS 230, which already sports a full bodykit and black-hooded twin exhausts as standard.
The RS rides 13mm lower than the standard Octavia on its MacPherson strut front/five-link rear suspension system.
Bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights come standard, along with LED taillights that also act as rear daytime lamps.
The Octavia RS 230 hasn’t forgone practicality in the name of performance, with large load spaces in the sedan and the wagon, big loading apertures and smart additions to make everyday life a bit easier.
It is a bit surprising to see cargo retention systems all moved over to the options list, although a small plastic divider, bag hooks and tie-downs still add a lot of functionality.
Seat-back flippers are a welcome addition, though.
The mostly-leather driver and passenger seats are both supportive and comfortable, and are mounted low to the floor. The flat-bottomed three-spoke wheel is a familiar fitment to VW products, as is the large colour capacitive multimedia touchscreen.
The rear 60/40 split/fold row can take three with sufficient leg room, while the Octavia wagon’s roofline doesn’t encroach on rear head room for taller rear-seaters.
The sedan is a little more cramped, thanks to the dropped roofline.
That rear space in the wagon can take a huge 588 litres of load with the seats up – putting it ahead of everything else in the category – and 1718 litres with both seats down.
The rear boot space in the sedan can take a whopping 568 litres of load with the seats up – just 20 litres less than the wagon – and 1558 litres with both seats down. That sloped roof does limit certain load shapes, but it’s still an astonishing amount of easily accessible load space.
There are eight cupholders in the RS 230, but only the front door pockets can take decently sized bottles. Hot tip –insulated cups with bases that taper in are the best fit for the Skoda’s oddly small cupholders.
There’s also a pair of ISOFIX baby seat mounts in the back row of each body style.
The Octavia RS 230 is a slightly tickled-up version of the RS, and just 70 examples will come to Australia. The company is trying to get more, but it looks like once this lot is gone, it’s gone.
It gets seven extra kilowatts (bumping it to 169kW), an electronic limited slip diff and revised exhaust along with a smattering of black trim pieces and larger 19-inch rims, and will be available in both sedan ($41,490 plus on-road costs) and wagon ($43,190) body styles.
This is almost exactly the same price as the six-speed manual RS, which already makes up between 10 and 20 per cent of Octavia RS sales.
The RS 230 comes with AEB and adaptive cruise control as standard, as well as Android Auto and Apple Car Play connectivity, auto lights and wipers, specially trimmed leather/fabric sports seats, a reversing camera, RS mode button and a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel.
There’s also a lap timer built into the instrument binnacle display.
The balance of the car is right on target for its RS badge.
Small door pocket garage bins and a luggage cover for the wagon are included, as well.
The content package of the RS 230 absorbs a handful of the optional packs offered by Skoda on the RS, including the $1700 Comfort Pack, the $500 Black Pack and the $500 19-inch rim option.
An optional $1700 Tech Pack nets keyless entry, lane departure assist, an auto parking assistant with front and rear sensors and a 10-speaker premium stereo.
There’s also the option of a glass sunroof at $1700, along with a $490 automatic tailgate for the wagon.
VW’s EA888 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine is mounted up front, and is rated to 169kW at 6200rpm and 350Nm of torque that performs best between 1500 and 4600rpm.
This is seven kilowatts better than the stock RS, and mirrors the difference between the VW Golf GTI and GTI Performance.
While the torque value of 350Nm remains the same, it’s delivered over a slightly wider spread from 1500 to 4600rpm, which is 200rpm higher than the stock RS.
The wagon is a one tenth of a second slower to 100km/h than the sedan at 6.7sec.
A well-spaced six-speed manual is offered as the only gearbox. Skoda Australia blames our assignation as a hot-climate market for the omission of the six-speed DSG gearbox.
The front-wheel-drive RS 230 scores an upgraded electro-hydraulic limited slip diff that’s again the same as the unit in the GTI Performance.
An RS mode button allows a driver to loosen the stability control and sharpen both throttle and gearbox inputs, too.
Its combined fuel figure is rated at 6.3 litres per 100km, while our very limited drive was affected by track laps and pushed out to 9.5L/100km, even after 60km of highway.
CO2 emissions are quoted at 154 grams per kilometre.
The 1458kg manual-only RS 230 prefers 98RON fuel, and runs a 50-litre fuel tank.
On the road, the RS 230 really is an entertaining, accomplished car, no matter the price.
Its trade-off between a comfortable ride and razor-sharp handling is almost perfect, its steering set-up is brilliant thanks to its mechanical variable-ratio rack and that more talented front diff, and it's refined, quiet and easy to drive.
Braking is good, with large front rotors and sliding calipers giving the RS a firm, meaty pedal feel. An upgrade of brake pads should you want to visit a track would be advisable, though.
The front tyres can chirp and scrabble if you’re too hard on the noise pedal, but the balance of the car is right on target for its RS badge – and that hint of untidiness really adds to the spirit of the car, in a way.
It’s firmly sprung and damped, but not unduly so, and its roll stability is excellent. It’s lively and entertaining, and a little unruly if you want it to be, and that’s part of the RS’s appeal.
3 years / unlimited km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
The RS 230 is very well equipped out of the box, with nine airbags, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and a reversing camera. ANCAP rates it at five out of five.
A six-year fixed price service plan is available for the Octavia RS 230, totaling $2841 over the six years. Brake fluid and pollen filters aren’t included in the annual service.
Skoda offers a three-year, unlimited kilometre warranty as standard, with options to purchase an additional two years of cover. There is also a guaranteed buy-back scheme available.
Of course, the manual-only status of the RS 230 will naturally limit its appeal. This, of course, will suit that cross-section of buyers looking to stay off the beaten path just fine, and the additional specification of the RS 230 simply underlines the Octavia RS’s underdog status as one of the smartest everyday performance car buys of the decade.
|110 TDI Style||2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP||$16,200 – 22,550||2016 Skoda Octavia 2016 110 TDI Style Pricing and Specs|
|110 TSI Ambition||1.4L, PULP, 6 SP MAN||$11,990 – 19,950||2016 Skoda Octavia 2016 110 TSI Ambition Pricing and Specs|
|110 TSI Ambition Plus||1.4L, PULP, 6 SP MAN||$9,900 – 14,960||2016 Skoda Octavia 2016 110 TSI Ambition Plus Pricing and Specs|
|110 TSI Style||1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$13,600 – 19,690||2016 Skoda Octavia 2016 110 TSI Style Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||8|
|Engine & trans||9|