I, probably like most, did not pay any attention to Skoda cars until recent years. I was really shown what a Skoda could be when I saw our very own Rob Clubley’s 2004 Skoda Octavia RS MkI Wagon and its plethora of mods. This car had been through its paces with countless modifications, almost all done by Rob himself and he had turned it into a mighty sleeper of a Skoda. He knew that car inside and out, and you might be thinking if Rob knows these cars so well, why is he not reviewing it? Well we thought he might be a bit biased towards this new Octavia RS 230. That and I wanted to see what a new Skoda could do today, from the factory.
We often don’t know what color our review cars are going to be until we see them. When I got the dealers to pick up the RS 230 there was a red one sitting in the showroom that looked really nice, it was a deep rich red and with the black wheels, grill and mirrors it looks very aggressive. But I knew this was not going to be my car as it was in the showroom. When I said I was there to pick up an RS 230 they had it ready to go, but needed to get it out from the back of the lot. I was thinking to myself maybe it would have been easier to get the one from the showroom out instead or having to move a bunch of there cars in the lot.
They had it out in no time however and my one was white. It did not look as aggressive as the red version but still looked really good. I have a fondness for white cars that is not shared with many others, maybe its because I have white Mk5 Golf GTI, but if the car has the right angles in its design, white is needed to bring them out. And let me tell you, the white on black really works. It stands out a mile and still has a hint of aggression that lets you know that it means business
The black front grill, side mirrors, roof rails, exhaust and 19 inch black alloys make this car. Just the surface of the stretched octagon pattern on the wheels have been diamond-cut to contrast against the black and work well with the white of the car. Sitting in behind the wheels are bright red brake calipers to finish off the sporty look. The only thing I was disappointed to see was the lack of any badge or other indication to denote the 230 or that this was a special Octavia and not just an RS.
When you sit inside you do start to see the VW family heritage show through with a lot of similar parts being used that you can also find in the current VW lineup. That being said it is still a nice place to be with full leather interior. The front seats are heated and electrically adjustable with the driver’s seat having memory too. One thing I did find out a bit later though was that these seats needed a little bit more bolstering to hold you in place. I am a big guy that normally will fill up most seats but found myself moving around when driving through some winding roads.
One improvement on the Golf that I did notice was the sensor that is normally below the head unit to sense when your hand raises to it to bring up the controls was gone. Not gone in that it did not work but completely not visible, which I find great as I was a little peeved by having an glossy black line under the head unit just for the sensor. Speaking of the head unit – it is great, really easy to use and connect up your phone to bluetooth for hands-free calling and to play your media through.
Below the center console there is a small cubby that you can place your phone into which has several functions. It is rubberised to protect your phone from moving around and from little knocks. It will also wirelessly charge any appropriate phone and is supposed to have a little repeater to improve phone signal inside the car by using the aerial on the roof of the car to boost signal. I did not really have a chance of proving it as my phone seems to be getting good signal anyway.
In between the head unit and phone storage compartment you will find the climatronic controls to control your A/C and heated seats. Below that you will find the AUX in and USB port to be able to connect your phone or appropriate media device. The Octavia also came with a ipod holder which is basically a large rubber block that fits in the center cup holders and has a slit in the top to fit your ipod or something of similar size, but it definitely did not fit a phone with a screen larger than 4 inches, which I felt was thrown in as a kind off “We have heaps of these laying around” attitude.
A handy accessory that it did come with was a little bin with a lid that fit in your door pocket and could hold a small plastic bag, great to keep the car tidy of little bits of rubbish.
One nice little touch that I loved was in the fuel flap. When you opened it you find there is a little ice scraper stored in there of which the centre of can be used as a magnifier. Not needed in every country but a nice little feature that is a nice extra to have and in Skoda’s words “Simply Clever”.
So what does make this Octavia RS 230 special? Well it’s up on power bringing it to 169Kw from the 162kw that Octavia RS has which if converted to PS brings it to 230, hence RS 230. This extra power will bring your 0-100 km/h down from 7.7 in the RS to 7.0 in the RS 230 and a top speed of 249 km/h. But with all this extra power how am I going to get that to the ground I hear you say, have they added 4 wheel drive? They have not added 4 wheel drive instead this is the first skoda to receive a Electronically controlled front axle Inter-Wheel lock or if you want something shorter to say and Electronic front differential. The electronically controlled multiplate clutch is located between the differential and the right-hand side powered axle. When needed, 100% of the power can be directed to one front wheel, providing the vehicle with more traction and grip to exit a corner. This does not really transfer over to straight line pull, if you put the foot down away from lights I on more than a few occasions would loose traction on the front wheels and they would hop before getting grip, as all the weight of the car just goes flying to the back of the car where normally the 4 wheel drive would put the power down.
Once it found its grip though it did shift and it sounded great doing so. This is where I find myself torn, the RS 230 has a Performance Sound Generator, so on the one hand I know that the sound I am hearing is fake. But on the other hand it did sound great, almost like a throaty V8. It did have one saving grace though, on the upshifts when accelerating you would get a loud pop or crackle that sounded amazing when going through a tunnel, it could almost be described as the car farting. Getting the car to do it however did become a bit addictive.
When you are moving and find yourself in some twisty roads though it does grip like it were a 4-wheel drive car, I always had grip when coming out of a corner and never once got it to a point where I felt either this is understeering or it’s about to. However inside the car you were being a bit thrown about, as I mentioned earlier the seats don’t quite hug you enough and I found myself bracing my legs against the sides to keep me in place.
Along with bigger bolsters one thing that I found missing was dynamic chassis control which can be added for an extra $1900 and I for one feel it is worth it, the ability to tighten up the suspension when in the twisty roads and soften up on the motorway so you can float along on a cloud. Without it you are just left stuck in the middle, too soft for tight cornering and too hard for motorway cruising, right in the middle.
The unfortunate inevitability for every petrol head will eventually happen where the tight twisty road runs out and you find yourself back on the motorway, this is where you can change mode from Sport back to Normal or Eco to try save some fuel for when the next bit of good road turns up.
The RS 230 is also equipped with cruise control but again missing on our test model was lane assist. I did think it did have it as the button was on the steering wheel but when pressing it nothing happened at all. So it was annoying to have on the steering wheel but not do anything.
|Brand / Model||Engine||Power||Fuel L/100km||Torque||0-100k/ph||Price Highest to Lowest|
|Audi A4 Avant||2L TFSI||140 Kw||5.3||320||7.5||$75,400|
|Mercedes C-200 Estate||2L Petrol||155Kw||6.2||300||7.5||$74,900|
|BMW 320i Touring||2L turbo petrol||135Kw||5,9||290||7.5||$75,000|
|Skoda Octavia Rs 230 Wagon||2L Turbo petrol||169Kw||6.5||350||7.0||$57,990|
|VW Passat Wagon 132Kw R-Line||2L Turbo petrol||132Kw||8.1||250||5.8||$56,740|
What do we think?
At first I was a bit of a mixed bag on the Octavia RS 230 as part of me thought the car was great, lots of power when you need, lots of gadgets and heaps of space. However the other part of me was trying to figure out why you would get the 230 over the RS, was there really enough difference between the two to justify the $4,500 difference?
Let’s see, the Octavia RS starts at $53,490 and add the full leather interiour ($2500), 19” ‘XTREME’ wheels ($1500) and the dark assist package (Bundle price $1500) gets you black design package, front asistant radar scanning and autonomous braking and reversing camera – that is already $5,500 in extras that come as standard on the RS 230.
Then you basically get the extra 7Kw of power and electronic front differential for free and they give you $1000 back, that I think you should use to go towards the dynamic chassis control and you will have yourself one amazing Skoda Octavia Wagon.
Rating – Chevron rating 4 out of 5
|Vehicle Type||Skoda Octavia RS 230 Wagon|
|Starting Price||$57,990 + ORC|
|Tested Price||$57,990 + ORC|
|Engine||169Kw 2-Litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol|
|Transmission||6 Speed DSG|
|0 – 100 kph||7.0|
|Kerb Weight||1392 Kg|
|Length x Width x Height||4685 X 1814 X 1452 mm|
|Cargo Capacity||588 (1718 Rear seats folded down)|
|Fuel Efficiency||Advertised Spec – Combined – 6.5 L/100km
Real World Test – 9.2 L/100km
|ANCAP Safety Ratings||5 Stars|
|Warranty||– 3-year (or) 100,000 kilometre warranty for all new ŠKODA cars
– 2-year warranty for all ŠKODA Genuine Parts and Accessories
– 3-year warranty for vehicle paint defects
– 12-year warranty for through corrosion