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Well-known tuning firm gets slightly carried away with sensible family Skoda estate. Results are extraordinary.

Our Verdict

Skoda Octavia vRS
It's not difficult to distinguish the standard vRS from the more conventional models

We test the all-new version of Skoda's Octavia vRS, which combines Golf GTI performance with practicality and a reasonable price tag

16 February 2016

What is it?

Essentially the result of Daventry-based aftermarket tuner Revo Technik pouring all its know-how into a single vehicle. And a demonstration of just how far you can go if you want as much performance as possible from your Skoda Octavia vRS. It's also worth noting that the VW Group's platform sharing philosophy means these upgrades are also compatible with related products, such as the SEAT Leon Cupra, Golf GTI and Audi S3.

Fast, practical and popular, the standard Octavia vRS is a well-regarded car, but thus far lacking the thrills or outright performance of some of its stablemates. Revo's upgrades certainly unleash the Skoda's wild side, in this case comprising a bigger turbo from a Golf R and the associated plumbing to get the best from it. Combined with Revo's Stage 3 software tuning, the car now delivers a staggering 404bhp and 380lb ft through its front wheels.

Bombastic straight-line performance is a given, but to stereotype this as a simple power upgrade is unfair; Revo knows how to make its cars handle the extra power, too. Our test car was also fitted with uprated anti-roll bars, a spring kit and the firm's own exceptionally light 19in wheels. 

What's it like?

The incredible leap in performance hits you immediately, as does the realisation that the car badly needs some sort of proper mechanical limited-slip differential to make the most of it. The new vRS 230 - launched after development on this car started - features as standard the clever active locking differential from the Golf GTI Performance and SEAT Leon Cupra, and would probably make a much better basis for the conversion.

But the chassis and traction control do an admirable job handling the demands placed on them, helped no doubt by Revo's suspension upgrades. It is hard to subjectively quantify just how fast this car is, especially given the usual 0-60mph benchmark doesn't really flatter it.

A more suitable metric is, perhaps, the 100-200kmh acceleration test, which it absolutely blitzes. In testing Revo has recorded it completing this in around nine seconds, which is on a par with a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera. OK, the Lamborghini is somewhat more glamorous and exotic, but it clearly couldn't carry an entire family in comfort or swallow a boot full of garden waste for the weekend tip run.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Revo's conversion is that in normal use the Skoda feels absolutely standard. Cost and warranty aside, there isn't an apparent downside to nearly doubling the standard power output, driveability and even fuel economy being largely unaffected.

On durability, Revo is quick to point out that it spends a lot of time ensuring its products deliver longevity as well as performance. The Octavia's ECO mode still works as per standard for motorway cruising, and they've even gone to the trouble of engineering in 'cold start protection' that keeps a lid on boost pressure until the oil temperature has reached its safe operating window.

Should I buy one?

Big power figures and dreams of out-dragging supercars in a Skoda en route to the weekly shop may be tempting but, in reality, this level of tuning is probably over the top for most people. The job of this particular car is to showcase what's possible, money and appetite for horsepower permitting.

From a starting price of £599, Revo offers a step-by-step tuning programme that permits you to upgrade your car a bit at a time. Whether this is to spread the cost, or to let you build up to a level of performance that suits your needs, it's a sensible approach. Or you could just say to hell with it and invest the circa-£5000 required to get your MQB-platformed Octavia, Leon, Golf or A3 to this stage.  

Horror stories of engines going pop and a general suspicion of on-the-cheap, easy-win aftermarket tuning will put many off, but respectable companies like Revo Technik are working hard to convince people it can be done safely. The thousands of miles of testing, calibrating and finessing the tuning package fitted to this car bear testament to the thoroughness of the team's work. It might just be enough to convince a few more owners it's worth taking the plunge.

James Drake

Skoda Octavia vRS 2.0 TSI by Revo Technik

Location Leicestershire; On sale Now; Price from £599, (£5362 as tested excluding base car) Engine 4 cyls, 1984cc, petrol; Power 404bhp at 5400rpm; Torque 380lb ft at 2900-4000rpm; Gearbox 6-spd dual-clutch automatic; Kerb weight 1475kg; 0-62mph tbc; Top speed 170mph+; Economy tbc; CO2/tax band tbc

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Comments
2

17 February 2016
The 6 speed DSG box must be very robust.

27 February 2016
I do like an estate, and this one looks like big fun.

I don't need to put my name here, it's on the left

 

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