- Practical and fun motoring
- Despite the performance, it can be efficient
- A wolf in sheep's clothing
- Not cheap to service
- No physical climate buttons
- No manual transmission option
Czech company (/Volkswagen Group member) Skoda has only been in Australia for 15 years now, which is not a long amount of time for a manufacturer. But in that time, it has established an almost cult-like following for the car the Octavia RS, which combines sportiness, value for money and the usual Skoda practicality. Is it the same story with the 2022 Skoda Octavia RS? Let’s find out
Using the same underpinnings as the current Volkswagen Golf GTI, the Skoda Octavia RS is whats known as a wolf in sheep’s clothing thanks to its understated styling make it unassuming to the untrained eye. But there’s a wolf underneath the Octavia’s bonnet, and we’ll go into that later in the review.
Price & Equipment: 8/10
The 2022 Skoda Octavia RS is not the $37,490 plus on-road costs bargain it once was in 2007. Now starting at $55,990 drive away for the liftback we have here and $57,490 for the wagon, the Octavia RS has gotten more expensive over the years.
Sitting atop the local Octavia range above the Octavia 110TSI and the Octavia 140TSI, the RS comes with a long standard equipment list with 19-inch alloy wheels, all-LED exterior and interior lighting, front and rear LED fog lights, dual-zone climate control, a 10-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite navigation, DAB+ digital radio, a digital driver’s display, auto lights and wipers, keyless entry and start, wireless phone charging, heated and auto-folding exterior mirrors, LED ambient lighting, an eight-speaker sound system, five USB-C ports, an electric tailgate and a number of sporty details including RS badging, sports bucket seats, a bodykit, a rear spoiler, a leather-wrapped flat-bottomed steering wheel and black trimmings.
A Skoda wouldn’t be a Skoda without ‘simply clever’ features that the brand is known for and these includes an umbrella in the driver’s door, an ice scraper in the fuel filler cap which doubles as a magnifying glass and a tyre depth checker, various nets and hooks in the boot, a double-sided boot floor (rubber and carpet), an umbrella holder in the boot, tabs to fold the rear seats, ‘teeth’ in the cup holders to make opening bottles easy and a parking ticket holder on the A-pillar.
Safety equipment includes 10 airbags, forward collision alert, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection, adaptive lane keep assist with traffic jam assist, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, Matrix auto high beam, rear auto braking, front and rear parking sensors with a reversing camera, automatic post-collision braking, tyre pressure monitoring, driver attention monitoring and an alarm.
Optional on the Octavia RS (and featured on our test car) is the $6,500 Premium Pack, which includes suede and leather upholstery, 14-way electrically adjustable front seats with memory and massaging functionality, heated front and rear seats, automatic parking, kick-to-open functionality for the electric tailgate, an auto-dimming driver’s side mirror, adaptive dampers with drive mode selection, a heads-up display, sun blinds for the rear windows and a 12-speaker Canton sound system.
$6,500 is steep for a single option pack and we feel that a lot of these features should be standard equipment, as well as a 360-degree camera and ventilated seats. But aside from that, the Octavia RS is fairly well loaded with equipment.
The only no-cost colour on the Octavia RS is the very vibrant ‘Mamba Green’ and other colours come at a $770 cost – these include ‘Race Blue’, ‘Magic Black’, ‘Graphite Grey’, ‘Brilliant Silver’ and our test car’s ‘Moon White’. ‘Velvet Red’ costs even more at $1,100. The only interior option is black with red stitching.
The drive away price of our test 2022 Skoda Octavia RS liftback in ‘Moon White’ with the Premium Pack is $63,260, which is a lot of money considering the competition it is up against: the larger $51,565 plus on-road costs Hyundai Sonata N Line, the $49,000 Hyundai i30 N Premium sedan and the $50,490 Mazda6 Atenza sedan.
Engine & Performance: 8.5/10
Powering the Octavia RS is the familiar 2.0-litre turbocharged ‘EA888’ engine that powers most of the Volkswagen and Skoda range. In this form it produces the same outputs as the Mk8 Golf GTI with 180kW of power and 370Nm of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a mechanical limited-slip differential. The sprint from standstill to 100km/h is over in just 6.7 seconds, which is impressive for a front-wheel drive family sedan.
The engine does a fantastic job of driving the Octavia RS, there is a slight hesitation low down in the rev range which is typical of the ‘EA888’ engine but when on song it is a strong and lively performer. Driving around town the engine is also quiet and refined.
The sole transmission on offer is a seven-speed dual clutch ‘DSG’ transmission. It can be a little jerky from standstill but once moving there is little hesitation and rapid shifts. Putting the car in sport mode does quicken the shifts up and using the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters is a joy. Shifts are very responsive and there is little lag between pulling the paddle and the gearbox reacting. Operating the new toggle style shift knob is a little strange for the first few times using it but then it becomes second nature. Unfortunately there is no manual option for this generation Octavia in Australia.
The claimed average fuel consumption figure for the 2022 Skoda Octavia RS is 6.8L/100km and we achieved 8.4L/100km in mixed driving. Compared to the 7.6L/100km Mazda6 Atenza and the 8.1L/100km Hyundai Sonata, the Octavia can be more efficient. Unlike those cars, however, it does require 95RON premium unleaded to fill its 50-litre tank.
Ride & Handling: 9/10
The 2022 Skoda Octavia RS sits on the ‘MQB’ platform that is also shared with the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Volkswagen Tiguan, Skoda Superb and Skoda Kodiaq (among many others). Because of this, the Octavia feel smaller than it really is, it feels very manoeuvrable and nimble.
Gone are the days when sporty cars had to have firm rides and that’s very true of the 2022 Skoda Octavia RS. With its adaptive dampers (that come with the Premium Pack), the Octavia can go from a comfortable daily driver to a firm corner carver with the press of a button. In comfort and normal modes, the suspension does a great job of soaking up bumps on Australia’s sub par roads.
Putting the Octavia into sport mode stiffens the suspension up. Pair that with the mechanical limited slip differential and the Bridgestone Potenza S005 tyres that the Octavia RS comes standard with and it transforms the feel of the car to a corner carving sports car. You don’t feel the larger size of the Octavia RS when throwing it around as it shrinks around you.
We would say the ride on a day-to-day basis is better than the Hyundai Sonata N Line, which is also comfortable but the Octavia does transform into a harder character that the Sonata doesn’t have. The Octavia is also quieter than the Sonata at speed, thanks to successful noise insulation.
Interior & Practicality: 9/10
The layout and design of the 2022 Skoda Octavia RS’s interior mixes practicality and sportiness. It is different enough from the regular Skoda Octavia to help justify the more premium price tag, and better quality than Volkswagen’s own Golf. The interior is a large step up in design and quality from the model it replaces, which wasn’t bad even in itself, but the new model feels more premium than before.
The storage in the Octavia is very good. There are two cup holders in the centre console that also double as storage with a blind, in front of the gear knob there is the wireless smartphone charger that doubles as a storage tray, a storage cubby next to the driver’s right knee, generous flock-lined door pockets with a bin, a large glove box and a good-sized centre console. The storage has improved over the previous model Octavia and is also better than the Volkswagen Golf, on which the Skoda is based.
Quality in the Octavia is another area that has improved greatly over the model it replaces. The leather used on the seats and steering wheel feels great and durable. The door panels have less hard plastic than the old model and there is now suede and leather. There is still some hard plastics used in the cabin, but this is to be expected for a family car and there are less hard plastics than a Golf.
The 10.0-inch touch screen that sits atop the Octavia’s dash is a little different than other Skoda screens. It has a new infotainment system which we find okay to use – it could be a little more user friendly but the ‘menu’ button on the side does make it easy to use on the move. The sliding volume scale is a little strange to operate, as is the screen-controlled climate control (there are no physical climate buttons) but these are things that you get used to. The screen quality could also be better as it is a little grainy, especially when using the rear view camera.
In the back seat, there is more than enough leg, shoulder and head room for nearly anyone and for a hatch-based liftback, that’s rather impressive. The rear seat amenities on offer in the Octavia RS are temperature control, heated seats (with the Premium Package), air vents, two USB-C ports, flock-lined door bins in the rear doors, a centre arm rest with cupholders and storage pockets behind the front seats (with a place to put your phone).
Opening the power tailgate reveals 600-litres of storage, which is huge, compared with the 510L Sonata and 474L Mazda6. Fold down the rear seats with the handles in the boot area and this space increases to 1,555L. The cargo area is a very practical space with an adjustable cargo blind, a 12-volt power outlet, various hooks to hang bags on, a double sided boot mat (carpet one side and rubber on the other), velcro stabilisers to keep things from rolling around, cargo hooks to tie cargo down and there is also a cargo pass through into the rear seats. A space-saver spare wheel lies under the boot floor.
Service & Warranty: 8.0/10
Like all Skodas the 2022 Skoda Octavia RS comes with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, which is the same length of warranty that Hyundai offers with the Sonata and Mazda with the 6. The Skoda also comes with 12 months of roadside assistance that’s topped up for a further 12 months with each scheduled dealer service, for up to five years in total.
Servicing for the Octavia RS comes around every 12 months or 15,000km, which is pretty standard these days, though both the Sonata and Mazda6 need to be serviced more frequently at 12 months or 10,000km. The cost of servicing the Octavia RS over the span of five years/75,000km is $3,071, which is not cheap at $614.20 per service. Skoda does offer service plans that can be bought at the time of purchase – a five-year/75,000km service plan will set buyers back $2,000 ($400 per service) and a seven-year service plan with a seven-year warranty is $2,900 ($414 per service). In comparison the Hyundai Sonata will set owners back $1,750 over the span of five years or 50,000km.
2022 Skoda Octavia RS Liftback DiscoverAuto Rating: 8.5/10
As far as practical sports sedans go, we think that the Skoda Octavia RS liftback is comfortably one of the best and easiest to live with under $100,000. To get the same amount of performance in a BMW or Mercedes-Benz, you need to spend another $30,000. Tie that with the improved interior quality and the insane practicality that will make you think twice about buying an SUV and we think the 2022 Skoda Octavia RS is an excellent all-rounder.
Detracting slightly from this all-rounder status is that servicing (without a service pack) is expensive, the lack of a sunroof and manual transmission is annoying and that Octavia RS’ used to cost a lot less money. But in today’s market where sedans – especially affordable and sporty ones – don’t really exist any longer, the Octavia RS makes for great buying.