The 245, particularly in wagon format and absolutely with Dynamic Chassis Control fitted, finally makes good on the long-running notion that a vRS might just be a no-brainer for anyone whose life has outgrown a conventional hot hatch.

Where previous iterations were passable attempts at the concept, the range-topper finally synthesises the right set of ingredients – prime among them the discreet but perceptible increase in power and a handling balance that encourages enthusiasm rather than merely accommodating it.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Past vRS estates have had potential but this one actually achieves it

A few caveats remain, of course.

The 245 is decent value but could not be called cheap to run, and the DCC that is essential to its appeal has been scandalously excluded from the standard kit list.

For some, the continued absence of all-wheel drive (now available on the diesel-engined model) might also rankle.

But these are peripheral issues. At the core is a car that can claim to do practically everything of consequence convincingly – praise enough to land the most powerful Octavia on a very short list of genuine all-rounders.

Top 5 Hot hatchbacks

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That means the vRS 245 jumps to the top of our top five hot hatch estates ahead of the Ford Focus ST, Seat Leon Cupra 300, Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer and Renault Megane GT Sport Tourer.

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