Škoda Octavia RS MK1 | An Enthusiast's Hot Compact?
The Škoda Octavia was launched in 1996 by the Czech automaker, which happens to be a subsidiary of the German Volkswagen Group. It was launched in India in 2002 and was destined to become an instant hit, especially among the upper‐middle class families living in Tier 1 cities of India, due to its solid built, practicality and comparatively higher comfort levels than most other sedans present in the Indian market at the time and price point. It was manufactured here from 2001 to 2010, while the second-generation Octavia was launched in 2004 and named as the Laura, in order to distinguish it from the former as both the generations were sold alongside, with the latter being sold at a higher price point. The third-generation has been on sale here since 2013, but is not able to display the desired performance owing to the entry of other good sedans at its price point like Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Corolla Altis.
The Current Scenario:
17 years after the launch of Octavia, the earlier and even the later first-generation models are available at very cheap prices in the Indian used car market. If you look at this car's brochures, you will find out how diverse the options have forever been. You may opt for diesel models, petrol models, AT models as well as MT models, with multiple kinds of interpairings. The kind of model I lurk behind is the vRS. If you have ever followed the Indian car market, you will definitely know about the limited performance cars we have throughout been offered; and Octavia vRS is one of them! Even though the third-generation vRS has been discontinued, in this used car market, we still have the first and third-generation vRS' as well as the second-generation one with the Laura name, waiting for true enthusiasts to pick them up and drive enthusiastically.
Getting to the main point, if you are looking for a fun sedan or even a fun car for that matter, go buy an Octavia vRS. Having analysed the market thoroughly, I can clearly say this is an unparalleled in for the Indian market. Here are my reasons:
1. Price: They are available at wildly cheap prices for the performance they offer. The cheaper ones can be bought at prices around ₹1,50,000 but I would rather not advise you to buy those as they might have hidden problems lurking behind that may cost a fortune. The best condition cars can be bought easily under ₹4,50,000 while the mint condition ones could be listed up to ₹5,50,000 but that is rather unlikely. That said, the price range of these cars is generally ₹1,50,000‐₹4,50,000 with around ~₹3,25,000 being the most common.
2. Performance: This is the most important reason you should buy this car! The 1.8 litre turbocharged petrol I4 engine by VAG puts out 150 bhp and 210 Nm as the output. Even better is the tuning potential this car has! Take it to a proper tuning shop and they will be able to stage 1 chiptune your car to churn around 180‐190 bhp and increase the torque as well. A stage 2 will easily take the power north of 200 and even up to 250 bhp if I am not mistaken. A stage 3 tune with an aftermarket turbo kit will give a bump resulting in almost 300 bhp that is hilarious for this car, weighing only 1,350 kg. You can even snap in better tyres and aftermarket exhausts for better handling and a further power bump respectively. Up until here, it might have sounded like a breeze but the main drawback of owning a Škoda is the exuberant after sales services cost and OEM parts cost. This is partly because of the great quality of the parts and partly just because VAG parts cost even higher in India mainly because of transportation. That is why if you really wish to buy this car used, it would be stupid to not keep at least ₹2,50,000 extra for miscellaneous reasons.
3. Quality: As an owner of a VAG car myself for more than 6 years, I can bet that the quality of these cars is like none other at the price they offer their cars at. As mentioned earlier, the OEM parts of VAG cars are very costly and you ought to be careful if you have a tight budget. If you successfully manage this, I assure you will have the time of your life riding your Octavia vRS on highways and mountain passes.
If you are willing to spend some rather big amounts of money here and are an enthusiast like me, this is the car for you. No Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic or Hyundai Verna comes near to this Czech masterpiece and this car has a spirit distinct from other VAG products. You can buy this even if you have a family to care about or you drive to your office every day. Its best suited for those people who do not need a complete performance car but one to drive carefreely on the holidays.
Highway Performance: 7 0
Cornering Performance: 7 0
Ride Quality: 6 0
Parts Quality and Reliability: 8 0
Practicality: 10 0
Features: 2 0
Aesthetics: 4 0
Modification Potential: 6 0
Value For Money Factor: 7 0
Maintenance Expenses: 30
I give this sporty sedan an average 3 out of 5 rating.