Skoda Octavia vRS - best hot hatchbacks
Golf GTI running gear in a bigger, more restrained body? The Skoda Octavia vRs is all about subtle speed
Here's proof that a hot hatch can appeal to the head as well as the heart. With its spacious interior, vast boot and value-for-money price, the Octavia vRS is as sensible as any Skoda. Equipped with the same honed mechanicals as the VW Golf GTI, it has agile handling and a punchy turbocharged petrol engine, while the 2.0 TDI diesel version combines 143mph performance with 61.4mpg fuel returns.
The big selling point will be the huge 590-litre boot, compared to just 380 litres in the VW Group sister cars, but the 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines are just as good to drive in the vRS as they are in those models. The petrol is the one to go for if you want better performance, as it has lots of torque and strong acceleration, but the diesel is smooth and will be cheaper to run.
If the huge boot isn't good enough for you, the Skoda Octavia vRS is also available as an estate - with over 600 litres of load space as well as extra legroom. You can also fold the seats down for 1,655 litres of space, for when carrying luggage becomes a priority.
It's beginning to sound like a boring family car, but the Skoda Octavia vRS is also a fun-to-drive and fast hot hatch - and that's what makes it such a good car. Special brakes put more pressure on the inside front and rear wheels to help sharpen cornering, and it really helps the car to feel more dynamic.
The engine noise is fun, with extra synthesised noise in the cabin playing its part in the driving experience, and the grippy tyres mean you can corner with confidence. The biggest alloy wheels don't help with road noise, but these 19-inch alloys are options, so don't spec them if it bothers you.