Check out this fast wagon... it's family firepower
FAMILY life often means the beginning of the end for parents.
Less sleep, less fun, less money. That often translates to less transport choices ... forget the roadster.
For those who aren't ready to give up on life just yet, Skoda unleashes the RS245. From the outside it has the lines of a classy offering, yet within hides something dramatically different.
This is a wolf in sheep's clothing.
While produced as a sedan, it's also available in wagon format to deal with mundane duties.
The load-lugger is among the short-list of our next family car. At $49,990 drive-away, it shapes areas impressive value when it comes to the bang for buck formula.
The base RS model is $5500 less expensive, but the 245 derivative feels more upmarket and more closely aligned to prestige brand Audi, - which (like Skoda) is also under the Volkswagen Group umbrella.
Upgrades likesuch as dual-zone aircon, larger 9.2 inch high resolution infotainment touchscreen with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, 10-speaker Canton Premium sound system, wireless charging for modern phones and suede/leather trimmed seats with red stitching raise the luxury ante.
Some of the kit which costs extra includes metallic/pearl paintwork ($500), the driver's virtual cockpit ($700), panoramic sunroof ($1700), bigger 19-inch alloys ($700) and power tailgate ($500).
Warranty coverage is on par with most mainstream offerings at five years and unlimited kilometres.
Servicing is required annually or every 15,000km with capped prices in place, and a three-year servicing pack is $860 (there is a hefty jump with the five-year option at $1700). Those costs are reasonable in comparison to the competition, - if not better in most cases.
Red, white and grey are standard colours, while there are metallic options in black, white, silver, grey, blue and green for an extra $500.
There's a solid list of inclusions, such as LED headlights, driver fatigue detection, low tyre pressure indicator, rear view camera, front and back parking sensors, automatic parking and an alarm.
Other equipment includes blind spot detection which lights up a LED symbol in the side mirrors, active steering to maintain the Octavia within marked lanes, radar cruise control and autonomous braking if the driver doesn't react quickly enough to a pending collision. It's also armed with a passenger protection function which can tighten the seatbelts, close windows and the sunroof in critical situations to reduce the impact of an incident.
The fabric seats in the base RS feel low-rent compared to the suede-leather combination found in the 245. Both figure-hugging sports front chairs are electrically-adjustable and they also have a heating function for those chilly winter mornings.
Those in the outer back seats also have heaters.
Skoda calls this a hot hatch with a backpack, and the extra space is handy for trips to the airport, sporting equipment and flat-pack furniture. At 588 litres the boot is bigger than many mid-size SUVs.
Operationally everything is well labelled, clear and easy to access. The touchscreen possesses among the best clarity you'll find in any modern car.
Some of the Typical Skoda smarts include a light in the boot that can be removed to become a torch, an umbrella under the front passenger seat and a net system in the boot to hold gear.
Supremely fun, the Octavia RS245 is a rewarding and exciting offering for those who love to drive.
Pumping out 180kW/370Nm (that's equal to 245 horsepower and explains the moniker), it it's reaches 100km/h in less than seven seconds from standstill.
Featuring crisp steering, taut suspension and an effortless drivetrain, it's a joy to steer and particularly fun when the going gets curvy.
Part of the reason for its performance comes courtesy of its family lineage. The Octavia shares the same architecture as the gen-seven Golf, while this VW engine is also used in the hatch's GTI derivative.
The key upgrade for this model is Adaptive Chassis Control with adjustable dampers. Overall the ride borders on firm, but there are driving mode options which enable the driver to choose between comfort and sporting settings.
Official fuel consumption is rated at just over six litres for every 100km, but the performance engine does require premium unleaded.
VW GOLF R AWD $63,768 D/A
A serious step up in coin and performance. This is the benchmark of performance wagons with all-wheel drive, it's packing a 2.0-litre 213kW/380Nm four-cylinder turbo that is pure naughtiness.
MAZDA6 GT WAGON $51,361 D/A
More of a luxury offering, but the 2.5-litre 170kW/420Nm four-cylinder turbo packs some punch. Super underrated model in the Mazda line-up.
Between the shift to SUVs and constant calls to reduce limits, the fun of driving has been lost. The Octavia RS245 goes some way to rekindling the love without the need for raw speed.
AT A GLANCE
SKODA OCTAVIA RS245
PRICE $44,490 drive-away (bang for buck)
WARRANTY/SERVICING 5-year unlimited km w'ty (good), $860 for 3 years (bargain)
ENGINE 2.0-litre 180kW/370Nm 4-cyl, 7-speed auto (fiery)
SAFETY 9 airbags, autonomous emergency braking, active cruise control, fatigue alert, active lane assist (solid)
THIRST 6.5 litres/100km (miserly)
SPARE Space-saver (par for the course)
BOOT 588 litres, rear seats down 1718 (big)