The Skoda Octavia RS and RS245 performance midsizers have received model year updates for 2019, with an engine upgrade for the base RS model, specification upgrades across both the RS and higher-specification RS245 grades, and more attainable pricing across the range.
The Octavia RS is a mechanical cousin to the Volkswagen Golf GTI, and in line with the GTI’s engine upgrades for 2019, the two-strong Octavia RS range moves to a higher tune of its 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol ‘EA888’ engine. For 2019, both Octavia RS grades produce 180kW/370Nm (up 11kW/20Nm).
The engine drives the front wheels through a new seven-speed wet clutch DSG double-clutch automatic gearbox, and traction is aided by a standard-fit mechanical limited slip differential on the front axle.
The increased punch and standard LSD look like particularly good value on the entry-level Octavia RS, which now starts at under $40,000. The sedan model is priced at $39,990, with the more popular wagon ($41,490) commanding a $1,500 premium.
The RS model features silver 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an 8-speaker stereo, sports seats, a flat-bottomed sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, metal pedals, dual-zone climate control, automated lights and wipers, and adjustable drive modes.
On the safety front, the RS has high speed autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, tyre pressure monitoring, and driver fatigue detection.
Until now, the upgrade to the higher RS245 grade brought the 180kW/370Nm tune – but now that both Octavia RS models produce these outputs, the RS245 has essentially adopted the no-longer-available Tech Pack as new standard kit to justify its $5,500 premium over the ordinary RS.
Over the RS, the RS245 adds adaptive dampers, keyless entry and start, automated parking, a crisper 9.2-inch touchscreen with navigation, a Canton stereo, personalised driver settings based on separate keys, and wireless smartphone charging. Safetywise, the RS245 gets front parking sensors (in addition to rears), two additional airbags, and the ability for the parking sensors to trigger autonomous braking to prevent low-speed bingles.
On both grades, a Luxury Pack remains optional. Priced at $2,800, the package adds suede/leather combination upholstery, electric adjustment for the front seats (with driver’s memory settings), lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, heated front and rear seats, and auto-folding side mirrors.
There are a few separate options. Virtual Cockpit – a screen that replaces the traditional instrument cluster, seen on Audi and Volkswagen products – is $700. A sunroof is $1,500 in the sedan, while the longer panoramic version is $1,700 and limited to the wagon. Larger 19-inch wheels are $700 and an electric tailgate on the wagon is $500.
It’s also possible to buy upfront servicing at a discount to what you’ll pay at the dealer – three years for $860, or five years for $1,700. The longer period integrates some more expensive later services.