Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good Underneath the bonnet Octavia shares much with the well-renowned Volkswagen Golf – which is a good thing. Smart size for today’s environment - not too big yet enough space for many modern Aussie families. The ‘Go Fast’ RS grade adds a nicely integrated aggressive air intake to the lower front bumper as well as sexy looking 18” alloys.
Not so good The current Octavia shape has been on sale in Europe since ’04 so is getting on a bit (even though it had a facelift in 2009).
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good The base interior is a tad 'serious'...fortunately the RS spices things up a bit - leather sports seats as well as the leather-covered three spoke steering wheel. The liftback (think sloping hatchback) offers a very generous 560L boot which grows to over 1,300L when you drop the rear seats down. High levels of standard luxury features for the price - such as a multi-function steering wheel, climate control, cruise control and a trip computer.
Not so good Steering wheel misses out on audio control buttons. Rear seat is more suited for two adults than three as the middle legroom is restricted by a high floor bulge. Rear visibility is worse than most (a common trait to the liftback body style).
Performance

Performance

Good Sceptics beware – the RS diesel is definitely sporty; also, for a car this quick it’s extremely frugal with fuel. The brilliant DSG sequential gearbox suits this car well - more so than the 6-speed manual also on offer.
Not so good The Diesel RS is just over one second slower than the turbo petrol RS at reaching 100km/h (however, this isn’t at all a real indication of normal driving - we were just having fun). A fair bit of turbo lag at times. The engine sounds a little coarse.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good Like many fine Euro cars the Octavia has a solid, quality feel. There's fun to be had when pushing along on twisting mountainous roads as it’s nicely balanced. RS’s lowered, stiffened suspension and low profile Michelin tyres on the big 18” alloys certainly contribute to the fine handling yet don’t spoil the ride on rough Aussie back roads.
Not so good Not quite as impressive as the closely-related Volkswagen Golf (especially the GTI). RS Diesel is slightly more prone to understeer than the Petrol RS – blame the heavier diesel engine sitting over the front end.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good Strong value for money: comes standard with lots of features, ticks the safety box with many airbags (and active safety acronyms) and it gives the feeling that it will provide many dependable and enjoyable years of motoring ahead. The RS is less expensive than nearly all other ‘hot hatches’ which also are at least half a size smaller.
Not so good Being a smaller volume selling brand than the big boys means not as many dealers to choose from.