The word is that the next Skoda Octavia vRS will be available as a plug-in hybrid. We’re sure it’ll be an interesting performance car, and the more conventional petrol and diesel versions are likely to be fun too. But will any of them advance on the quiet brilliance of the third-gen vRS to a significant degree? We have our doubts.
This is important, as if you don’t fancy waiting around for the MkIV go-faster Skoda Octavia, you can jump the queue and save a great deal of money by bagging an early MkIII. This one, for instance, is just £8995, about the same price as a nearly new Citigo.
With 82,500 miles on the clock, it’s leggier than average for a 2014-registered car, but if the mileage is of concern, there are plenty kicking around for not much more.
Any of them will be (sound the car journalism cliche klaxon) a lot of car for the money, in quite a literal sense. Even the hatchback version has oodles of luggage space to fill - 590 litres, or a whopping 1580 with the rear seats folded flat.
It’s very much the Golf GTI‘s even more sensible sibling, sitting on the same MQB platform and sharing its EA888 inline-four TSI engine with the VW. The 2.0-litre lump produces 217bhp, making for a 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds in Octavias that - like today’s pick - have the six-speed manual gearbox equipped.
All of this thrust is sent through the front wheels via an open differential - if you want the snazzy VAQ electronically-controlled locking differential, you’ll need to spend a great deal more on the vRS 230 that arrived in 2016.
The driver’s seat is showing signs of wear, but the full leather interior looks tidy for the most part. It’s fitted with the Bolero infotainment system instead of the snazzier Columbus unit, although it’ll do the job for most.
Tempted? Or would you up the budget further and opt for a VW Golf GTI of a similar vintage?