For decades the Skoda Octavia RS has been a favourite for practical car buyers who want something a bit sporty.
It remains one of the most convincing options for a buyer who wants to be pragmatic but also responsibly indulgent, with relatively attainable pricing and a wealth of clever features and smart packaging combining with an exciting drive experience.
The 2024 model year changes for the Octavia RS see a few adjustments in spec, and prices have once again been increased. But it now also comes with a seven-year warranty, which certainly adds to the value quotient.
The Octavia RS wagon is the most expensive Skoda midsize model you can get – priced from $58,490 plus on-road costs.
If you aren’t interested in driving quickly or having a faster-looking Octavia, that Style grade offers tremendous value, and it makes a lot of sense for those who aren’t likely to find excuses just to go for a drive.
The Octavia RS is available with a $6600 Premium Pack, which adds stuff you might like, such as leather-accented seat trim, heated front seats with electric seat adjustment, those front seats also have a massage function and memory settings, heated second-row outboard seats, Canton 12-speaker sound system, a head-up display for the driver, three-zone climate control, and the optional package also includes adaptive suspension dampers.
But if you want other alternatives to consider, there are a few. First, the Subaru WRX Sportswagon ($50,990 to $58,990), which might not have the same engaging drive experience as WRXs of years gone by, but it is a quicker-than-average, sporty driving wagon with heaps of practicality on offer.
Up until recently another good option would have been the Peugeot 508 Sportswagon, but that model is not a PHEV-only choice and has copped a huge price hike as a result (now $82,915 plus on-roads).
You could also check out the Mazda 6, which is available with a turbo-petrol engine and with the choice of sedan or wagon ($36,140 to $55,535).
Or, if you can deal with a sedan body style and the Skoda Liftback isn’t doing it for you, maybe have a look at the vastly improved Hyundai Sonata N Line (from $55,500).
If you’re curious, the paint seen on this RS model is a variant-specific hue called Mamba Green, and it’s the only no-cost choice, too.
Other options include Magic Black Pearl, Race Blue metallic, Graphite Grey metallic, Brilliant silver metallic and Moon White metallic, all of which cost $770. Choose Velvet Red metallic and it’s a $1100 option.
2024 Skoda Octavia pricing:
- 2024 Skoda Octavia Style liftback: $42,490 (+$1500)
- 2024 Skoda Octavia Style wagon: $43,990 (+$1500)
- 2024 Skoda Octavia RS liftback: $56,990 (+$1000)
- 2024 Skoda Octavia RS wagon: $58,490 (+$1000)
Prices excluding on-road costs
It was nice to spend some time in an Octavia RS without any options boxes ticked for this review, because it gives you a great sense of what you get as standard, and how much value that optional pack really does add.
Purists will love the fact there’s manual seat adjustment for the cloth-trimmed, diamond-stitched sports seats, but having spent months in a previous RS wagon with the optional pack, I did miss the memory setting for the seats – my partner and I have a big seat disparity.
The sporty buckets are very comfy, though, with a good amount of bolstering and the cloth trim is nice and grippy.
You get ambient lighting on the dash and a nice mix of materials through the cabin, and there is LED interior lighting too, while the driver gets a fully digital 10.25-inch instrumentation panel and there’s a 10.0-inch infotainment system with sat nav, DAB radio, wired/wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a heap of other features available, too.
In previous times with this-generation Octavia I’ve had a number of technical issues with phone mirroring, but this time around, it was a grimace-free experience, which is a nice improvement.
Though I still don’t love that there’s no dials for the infotainment system, and that you have to adjust some elements of the air-conditioning system through the screen, rather than using physical buttons.
For instance, there’s a home ‘bar’ at the bottom of the screen for climate controls including temperature adjustment, but there is no fan control button/slider there, so you have to adjust the speed of the air using the main screen – unless you’re one of those cretins that leaves it on “Auto” – I’m joking!
There are some oddly sized cupholders between the front seats, and a few loose item storage spots, too, plus you get flocked door pockets with bottle holsters, and in the driver’s door there’s a hidden umbrella for those unexpected and increasingly common storms.
And while I didn’t think I’d miss having a panoramic sunroof (a $1900 option), it does lighten up the cabin a lot, given the expanse of the black headlining which can make things feel a bit gloomy inside.
The rear seat has a heap of nice features that occupants (and parents) will love, such as retractable sun-blinds, a pair of USB-C ports, directional air-vents, map pockets with device nooks on the seat backs, lined bottle holders in the doors, a flip-down armrest with cup holders and storage, and there’s also a ski port.
Occupants will find there’s enough space to fit behind bigger front-seaters – at 182cm/6’0” I could easily slot in behind my own driving position, with enough knee, foot and head room to be comfortable. There’s also enough width that, if pushed, you could fit three adults across, being mindful of the transmission tunnel intrusion.
For the mums and dads reading this, you’ve got ISOFIX points in the window seats and three top-tether points, too, and – from experience – you can fit a rearward-facing capsule with room to spare for a parent in front.
Oh, and parents will also LOVE the fact there are proximity unlocking sensors on the rear doors as well as the front, meaning you can unlock the back door and load your child into their seat without having to make that annoying extra few-step journey to trigger the front doors to unlock. There’s also an electric tailgate, too.
Now, the boot space on offer in the Octavia RS is convincing, too. There’s either 600 litres (VDA) if you choose the liftback, or 640 litres (VDA) if you get the wagon. That’s easily enough to fit a larger pram and some extra bags.
Under the boot floor there’s a space-saver spare wheel, and the boot space features a reversible mat (rubber on one side, carpet on the other), which is handier than you’d expect. There’s also a set of nets to secure items in place, and remote rear-seat releases if you want to fold the seats down.
Just note, though, that there is a bit of an intrusion between the boot and the backseats, so it won’t be a fully-flat space – but there is 1700L VDA of space to play with.
There have been no changes under the bonnet for the 2024 Skoda Octavia RS, and honestly, that’s no big deal – because this is a great powertrain.
The EA888 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine employed here has 180kW of power and 370Nm of torque, and that means this sporty wagon will do 0-100km/h in 6.7 seconds.
There’s a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with paddle-shifters, and the RS is front-wheel drive. In other markets, there’s an AWD model, which we sadly miss out on.
Fuel economy is rated at 6.8 litres per 100km on the combined cycle, and you’ll need to fill it up with 95 RON premium unleaded, and it has a 50-litre fuel tank capacity. In my real-world testing across a week of mixed driving, I saw a return of 8.3 litres per 100km.
It drives beautifully, and it doesn’t need the adaptive dampers to do it.
That’s the thing that stood out most to me, having lived with a new-gen Octy RS for months on end. In that long-term loan, I was often fiddling with the adaptive suspension settings, trying to find the right balance for whatever surfaces I was encountering.
In this more basic example, the inherent qualities of the platform for this car shine through, as it possesses and exhibits a comfortable ride, which – admittedly – is a bit firmer than a standard Octavia, and it sits a bit lower to the ground due to its sports chassis setup.
But even so, it offers a comfortable and composed ride in most situations, while also offering the driver enough fun factor in corners, with a nicely stuck-down drive experience in most situations. The Octavia RS has a lovely driving character to it, and depending on the drive mode you’re in, it can be sedate and cruisy or more focused and sporty.
The minor gripe I have is that, at times, the engine can overpower the front tyres, especially if you dose it, which is simply a byproduct of having so much torque to get to the surface – but there’s a standard electronic differential lock to help you power out of corners.
The steering is lovely, too, with a quick ratio and great response in corners, while also offering a simple and very usable for boring driving, too, with a super predictable response for parking moves – if you don’t want to use the now-standard auto parking tech.
The powertrain also offers that brilliant duality, with a manageable urban driving experience (yes, even though the dual-clutch automatic transmission and engine start-stop system can interrupt proceedings in traffic), and yet with ample power delivered in a linear way, ample mid-range pulling power for zippy moves in traffic and overtaking, and enough zest to put hairs on your chest, if you want that.
The DSG doesn’t muck about when it comes to shifting gears at speed, either, with a prompt and predictable logic that almost never gets it wrong, especially if you’re giving it some hustle.
There are some things that could be improved in terms of the drive, though.
As with most MQB-based offerings from the VW Group, there is a lot of road noise intrusion into the cabin. Some extra sound deadening – especially for coarse-chip roads – would not go astray.
And further, while a reversing camera and all-around parking sensors is handy, family buyers would no doubt appreciate a surround-view camera system.
Octavia Style highlights:
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Space-saver spare wheel
- Matrix LED headlights
- LED fog lights with cornering function
- LED tail lights
- LED puddle lights
- Rain-sensing window wipers
- Privacy glass
- Chrome window frame surrounds
- Silver roof rails (wagon only)
- Power tailgate with hands-free opening
- Electric, heated and power-folding side mirrors
- 10.25-inch Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster
- 10.0-inch ‘Columbus’ infotainment system
- Satellite navigation
- Two USB-C ports
- Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
- 8-speaker sound system
- Wireless phone charger
- Keyless entry and push-button start
- Dual-zone climate control
- LED ambient interior lighting
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel
- Paddle shifters
- Rear door window sunshades
- Shift-by-wire gear selector
- Electric park brake
- Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
- Fabric upholstery
Octavia RS adds:
- 19-inch alloy wheels
- Electronically locking limited-slip front differential
- Sports suspension
- Progressive steering
- Black window surrounds
- Dual exhaust tips
- Gloss black exterior highlights
- Auto-dimming driver’s side mirror
- 10 airbags
- Blind-spot assist
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Adaptive cruise control with stop & go
- Lane Assist with Adaptive Lane Guidance
- DAB+ digital radio
- 5 x USB-C ports
- Drive mode selector
- Aluminium pedals
- Fabric upholstery with red contrast stitching
Is the RS worth $14,500 more to get that stuff? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
The Octavia was awarded the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2019.
It scored 92 per cent for adult occupant protection, 87 per cent for child occupant protection, 73 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 79 per cent for safety assist.
Standard safety features include:
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
- Pedestrian detection
- Cyclist detection
- Lane-keep assist
- Adaptive cruise control
- Driver fatigue monitoring
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Reversing camera
- Tyre pressure monitoring
- Blind-spot assist
- Rear-cross traffic alert with braking
- Manoeuvre braking
- Can brake the car if obstacles are detected at low speeds)
- Emergency Assist
- Park assist
Octavia RS adds:
- Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
- Crew Protect Assist
- Pre-collision pre-tensioning and crash preparation
- Lane Assist with Adaptive Lane Guidance
- *Part of option pack on base grade
- Emergency Assist
- Will stop car and put hazards on if driver unresponsive
- *Part of option pack on base grade
If you choose the Octavia Style, the car is fitted with eight airbags – dual front, front-side, front centre, driver’s knee, and full length curtains.
But opting for the RS model means you get 10 airbags, with all of the above plus rear side thorax airbags, too.
Skoda has made a seven-year, unlimited kilometre warranty standard on its model range, matching the likes of MG, GWM, Ssangyong and Kia, among others.
The brand also has decent service options on paper. Maintenance is scheduled at 12 months/15,000km, and there are a couple of ways you can go about servicing your car if you want to do so with Skoda.
Firstly, you can pay as you go. There’s a capped-price servicing plan available for the model range.
But the smarter choice is to prepay your servicing, and you can do so by either choosing a five-year/75,000km service plan ($2600) or a seven-year/105,000km plan ($3400) – either of those represents a saving of hundreds of dollars over paying as you go.
And, get this – if you service with Skoda, you can get up to nine years of roadside assistance included.
If there’s one thing that the Skoda Octavia does well, it’s pretty much everything.
It’s still the go-to sporty wagon for those who want a family-sized car that’s fun and fast.
It’s lovely to drive, and with seven years of warranty cover it makes an even stronger case now than in years gone by.
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