With ‘my’ Karoq car now gone, CT’s YouTube team is now on its sixth Skoda crew car. I had the standard Octavia Estate a couple of years ago and now I’m running the vRS Estate - the fastest long-term press car I’ve had so far.
As many of you know I’m a big fan of practicality with SUVs and estate cars being right up my street. I’ve had the pleasure of having multiple from Skoda and until now they’ve been relatively sedate which is just what I’m after, but I couldn’t turn down an opportunity to have a Skoda Octavia vRS for an extended period of time. I’m normally favouring passive and practical but this time I’ve gone for pokey and practical - it’s great for getting around but also fantastic for carrying timber which I’ll talk about later.
The vRS has 197bhp and 295lb ft of torque drawn from its 2.0-litre TDI engine. It’s noticeably faster than any long-termer I’ve had before and is great fun without straying into overwhelming territory for a non-car person like me. In fact, it’s probably all the power I would ever want or need and I imagine it is for a lot of people too. It does have the plumbed-in noise which does add to the driving experience but when you switch from ‘Sport’ to ‘Eco’ and that noise turns off, which is quite disconcerting. The driver modes are frustrating as well - I haven’t found an option to set a default yet.
I’ve had the vRS Estate for a few weeks now and I’ve already done almost two thousand miles in it. I thought the car would be a bit much for me but I’ve actually really enjoyed having it - I think I probably still favour having an SUV and being higher up but I’ll always enjoy having an estate.
I’ve been getting a decent 48mpg so far, so a touch better than the Karoq and by nature, I’ve probably been driving the vRS with a bit more gusto. I’ve been enjoying taking it through the local country roads but then equally, the long motorway journeys are very comfortable. I think the adaptive cruise control could perhaps be a little more responsive when it comes to accelerating back up but on the whole, it’s extremely easy to drive.
Looks-wise, I love it. The black badges are great and I think it’s incredibly smart for an estate. On the inside, you feel like you’re in a more powerful car with the sporty seats and the Alcantara trim and general buttons are smart and don’t feel cheap.
My main concern with the car, however, is with the screen and infotainment system. I never thought I enjoyed physical dials and buttons when it came to climate controls. In fact, I think I’ve taken them for granted. However, having the vRS Estate over the past few weeks has made me wish that all cars had them.
The climate controls are rooted into the screen so if you’re listening to the radio and want to change the heating you have to find a button on the dash, click that, then click a ‘clima off’ button and then fiddle around with the controls on the screen. The screen isn’t the most responsive and it’s much more distracting to be doing this. Apparently, it’s a cost-saving thing but for me, it’s over-engineering and because it doesn’t work 100 per cent, it is incredibly frustrating. I even had the climate control system crash the other day and it wasn’t until I restarted the car that it worked again.
But on the whole, my first few weeks with the vRS have been fun and once again incredibly helpful with my garden renovation. You may have read a couple of weeks ago about my time with the Skoda Karoq and how much it helped me and now it is the turn of the vRS.
Let’s pick up where we left off (as I’m sure you’re all dying to hear more), with a timber frame in place for my new decking and some new deck boards needing to be purchased. I wanted to get some 3.2-metre long boards in as soon as possible but when checking with my local timber supplier, delivery was going to take 10 days. This was extremely annoying as I had a window to finish the decking, but then I thought, “why can’t I use the Skoda?”. I quickly measured the interior length of the car and it came up about half a metre too short, but it turns out a load overhanging by under a metre is fine.
I went down to the supplier and bought around 25 boards and loaded the first batch into the car. I secured them in with ratchet straps and I did attach a hi-vis to the end just to make it as clear as possible. Safety first! I then made two journeys for all this timber in the vRS and it worked out perfectly. I didn’t have to wait for the 10-day delivery and in a short space of time I had all the timber in my garden, all thanks to the vRS.
The main part of my garden renovation is now done and I have Skoda to thank for that. Both the Karoq and Octavia vRS Estate have taken a huge amount of timber for me and neither car has struggled. It’s meant I can just get on with the garden and I haven’t been delayed at all. Now that restrictions are starting to lift in the UK, I’m keen to do more with the vRS and perhaps take it further afield on some new adventures.