Skoda Octavia vRS | Shed of the Week

The vRS badge is seldom seen at shed altitude these days – better grab this one while you can…

By Tony Middlehurst / Friday, 10 November 2023 / Loading comments

Another Shed of the Week first today. We’ve had a couple of vRSs oft upon the rialto but this is the first Mk2 car to appear here. 

The core Octavia is a very worthy motorcar. It has always been a mystery to Shed how Skoda managed to eke so much space out of the Golf platform. With the back seats flat, his old Octavia estate could easily accommodate two human beings lying down without the need to remove any of the other essential stuff in there (welding helmet, lube gun, trolley jack, and a full set of Series 2 Landie wheels and tyres). Try as he might, he has never achieved a similar feat of packaging, or anything close to it, in any Golf. 

When not enabling transports of delight the 197hp vRS version was a surprisingly delightful way to transport folk hither and yon. The performance numbers (0-62mph in 7.3 seconds, top speed 149mph) and the maximum torque figure of 207lb ft might not look all that special in late 2023 but the availability of all that torque from 1,800rpm to 5,000rpm made it an effortless thing to shift from A to B, or to a much later letter of the alphabet, without the need to be wringing its neck in the lower gears. The vRS would happily do that as well, or instead, snicking up neatly through the chunky six-speed box and revving out smoothly to the redline.

It weighed 1,400kg on the nose and delivered combined consumption figures in the high thirties all day long, with high forties on a cruise. Hard driving would drop that to the low twenties. Shed regularly gets tax rates wrong on here and he still carries the mental scars from the scathing forum comments that his mess-ups have generated, but after several hours research he is reasonably confident that the annual amount payable on this TC48 category, 187g/km, Band J car is ยฃ365. It sits in a relatively low insurance group. 

This is a 2006 example so it will be running the direct-injection EA113 TFSI engine rather than the 2008-on EA888 TSI which added port injection to try and eliminate the carbon buildup that had been an issue on EA113 and other direct-injection-only engines. For a useful guide on the differences between these two motors, you could do a lot worse than check out this PH thread. 

For TL/DR types the common issues can include sticking thermostats, wear to the cam chain and tensioner, failure of injectors, coil packs, diverter valves and PCVs, and fuel pump tappet wear which can lead to intake cam damage. ECU software glitches could throw up fault codes, door seals leaked and so did the rear screen wash system.  Remaps are easy of course, but tuning a 17-year-old car with 150,000 miles on it should be done with a weather eye on the health of the turbo bearings and seals. 

The front-wheel drive handling was dependable, albeit with the slight downside of a less-than-plush ride. Steering was accurate and meaty and you had the option of disabling the ESP for extra fun. Green brake calipers signalled the presence of the vRS’s bigger ventilated discs. 

The MOT is due in January but the last one was blemish-free and previous tests have reflected nothing more than normal usage. The tyres look to have plenty of tread on them. The vRS interior was more functional than exciting, but the half-leather upholstery on this one seems to have stood up well and you didn’t need an estate for huge carrying capability as the hatchback’s cargo area was also stupidly big.   

It’s a lot of car for under two grand. Most vRSs of this age and mileage will be at least ยฃ500 more than this. OK, like Mrs Shed, an Octavia vRS might not visually excite, but also like her it is a unit that will bash its way through life armed with nothing more than a tough exterior and a willing engine. 

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