• FAST FLEET evo’s staff photographer gets a new workhorse in the form of a stealthy Skoda estate.

    NEW ARRIVAL #Skoda-Octavia-Estate-vRS-230 / #Skoda-Octavia-Estate-vRS / #Skoda-Octavia-Estate / #Skoda-Octavia / #Škoda-Octavia-5E / #Škoda-Octavia / #Skoda-Octavia-Estate-vRS-230-5E / #Skoda-Octavia-Estate-5E / #VAG / #SKODA / #Škoda / #Skoda


    We won’t deny it: we do like a good hot-hatch-based estate derivative here at evo. It’s why we have a Focus ST on our long-term fleet (see opposite) and also why we’re now running this – a Skoda Octavia Estate vRS 230, in a particularly fetching shade called Black Magic.

    Of course, the real magic of this breed of car lies in its ability to meld deceptive pace with reliability, comfort, low running costs and a large enough dose of fun to tie it all together. To this end, we’ve opted for the six-speed manual ’box instead of the #DSG , which had a habit of tripping over itself in the diesel vRS we previously ran (and rated highly).

    The numerical element of this car’s name signifies a 10bhp increase over the standard Octavia vRS. So here the 2-litre turbo in-line four makes 227bhp at 4700-6200rpm and 258lb ft at 1500-4600rpm, which is enough for a 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds (just half a second behind a Golf GTI Clubsport Edition 40) and a top speed of 153mph. Thirst is rated at 44mpg.

    The 230 also gets an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. It’s the same one you’ll find in the Golf GTI Performance Pack, and along with a new (and aurally very pleasing) sports exhaust and the tickled ECU, it accounts for the bulk of the 230’s £1690 premium over the regular vRS.

    The Estate vRS 230 is £27,800 basic, which seems a good deal as the model is generously equipped as standard. It gets 19-inch wheels wrapped with 225-section tyres, bixenon headlights and LED tailights, and gloss-black exterior trim for the full sleeper look. Handsome? Surprisingly so.

    Within the distinctly German cabin you get meaty sports seats, a touchscreen satnav, DAB radio, dualzone climate control, cruise control and even a driver-fatigue sensor for what I’m hoping will be effortless motorway schleps to and from farflung photographic locations.

    The optional extras we’ve gone for include the panoramic sunroof (£1150), Canton sound system (£500), rear-view parking camera (£300) and that lovely paint (£360). The box for Dynamic Chassis Control (£850) has also been ticked because the ability to soften or firm up the suspension and alter the steering weight through several modes is key to this car’s all-round appeal.

    The total cost? £32,120. Sounds like a lot, and it’s a wedge of cash more than our new Ford. It’s going to be interesting finding out which car represents the breed’s best.

    Date acquired November #2016
    Total mileage 1024
    Mileage this month 965
    Costs this month £0
    Mpg this month 34.2

    Cars like this meld deceptive pace with reliability, comfort, low running costs and a dose of fun’