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New 2017 Skoda Octavia vRS facelift: Prices and specs revealed

More powerful and sharper-looking Octavia vRS on sale with petrol and diesel options, while range topping 242bhp model will debut at Geneva

As with the rest of the Skoda Octavia range, 2017 has brought a mid-life refresh to the hot Octavia vRS hatch and estate. UK prices for the updated Ford Focus ST have been released, and order books are now open. 

The most evident changes to the exterior design can be found at the front. The 'split' headlights, additional creases on the bonnet, angular grille and wider air intakes are part of giving the Octavia the new-look family face that first debuted on the Kodiaq, while optional adaptive full-LED tech also features.

The changes at the rear are limited to some new LED tail-lamps and a revised diffuser design. Skoda's CEO Bernhard Maier, who was present at the reveal, claimed "this is the most time and effort Skoda has dedicated to a makeover". The Octavia remains the Czech brand's biggest seller despite newer models like the Superb and Kodiaq, with over 400,000 units shifted in 2016.

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Tell-tale vRS design cues for the hot model include 18 or (optional) 19-inch alloy wheels, a 15mm lower ride height and a rear track that's 30mm wider than the previous car's. Inside, the biggest change is the adoption of the brand's latest "Columbus" 9.2-inch navigation and infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity technology. The Bolero and Amundsen systems on lesser models have also been upgraded, while new optional equipment includes a heated steering wheel.

Skoda has introduced some extra 'Simply Clever' touches across the 2017 Octavia range, including a torch integrated into the rear boot trim, cupholders that grab hold of the bottle to allow you to open it with one hand, and the option of an electric bootlid. Half leather trim is standard fitment on the vRS, with Alcantara optional.

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A new 'Comfort Package' can be specced, with a programmeable key that allows various infotainment, seat adjustment and climate control settings to be set and memorized for multiple users. New driver assist tech includes blind-spot protection, rear cross-traffic alert, trailer assist and predictive pedestrian protection.

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The familiar 2.0 TSI turbo petrol engine features, but power jumps up by 10bhp to 227bhp - previously only the vRS 230 offered that. It makes both hatch and estate models a tenth of a second faster from 0-62mph, doing the dash in 6.7 seconds. Despite it only being a small power boost, Maier claimed "I can tell you honestly, when you are sat in the car you will notice the difference in power".

Prices for the 227bhp Octavia vRS hatch start from £25,130 for the car with a manual gearbox - the DSG gearbox is a £1,390 premium. In estate form, it's priced from £26,330. Later on in the year, another petrol option will arrive in the form of the range topping 242bhp vRS 245. No prices have been revealed just yet, though we'll hear more at the Geneva Motor Show next week. 

A diesel vRS model will be available too, using a 2.0-litre TDI engine with 181bhp. This model is priced from £25,160, while all-wheel-drive versions with DSG gearboxes start at £28,130.

As well as the wider track aimed at improving handling, all Octavia vRS' are available with Dynamic Chassis Control offering Sport, Normal and Comfort modes for the suspension and controls. The XDS+ electronic front differential still features, too, as does an optional engine sound generator.

What do you think of the 2017 Skoda Octavia vRS? Let us know in the comments section below...

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