The Skoda Octavia RS’s strength doesn't come from its horsepower

Derryn Wong

Skoda’s go-faster Octavia RS is powerful and fun to drive, but its real value comes from its all-round nature in Singapore 


The Skoda Octavia RS is a great car, not just a good one, because it’s not a one-trick pony.

The obvious bits are the sporty touches, uprated chassis, 245hp from a 2.0-litre turbo engine and whatnot. But that’s on point only when you’re in the mood to drive, and we rate great cars by what they can do when you’re doing normal stuff, the shoemaker mundanity to the Schumacher moments. 

We tested the Octavia RS with a sneak preview all the way in February 2022, while CarBuyer editor Lionel pronounced the car brilliant in his in-depth review. Having finally gotten to spend a few days with Skoda’s Octavia RS, it’s clear that the car’s ability comes from its flexibility rather than its strength alone. 

In driving terms, that’s literal flexibility. The Octavia RS has drive modes, they’re common these days after all, but its customisable drive mode sees a spectrum/slider for the suspension, from comfort to sporty.  We enjoyed the car a few ticks towards the sporty side, but still with enough give to take the harsh edge off bumps. The important thing is the ability to make it behave just as you want, something even more expensive cars can’t do. 

But the whole ‘do what you want’ vibe runs through the rest of the car too.

Malaysian road trip? 245hp makes easy work of that. 

Carrying lots of stuff, maybe even a bicycle? Done, with the hatch back and 590-litre load space. 

Room for adults? Decent legroom and headroom solve the problem. 

Petrol prices shot up? Use eco mode and hold back, and you can probably rack up sub-7.0L/100km on the highway. 

As we noted back in Feb ‘22, the car’s safety features are excellent too: ‘including city emergency brake, lane assist, blind spot warning systems, and adaptive cruise control. Eight airbags are fitted, including one between the front seats to prevent the front occupants from crashing into each other.’ 

How Skoda was able to fit all the features into the car and still make money boggles us, which leads us to the fact that this car still costs a relatively reasonable S$225k with COE – a Mercedes-Benz C 180 costs S$295k, in comparison. 

It’s not perfect of course – one thing that drove us nuts is the unwieldy placement of the touch-strip below the touchscreen, so we kept turning off the infotainment by accident.

But on the whole, it’s a great car, and thoroughly deserving of its nomination for CarBuyer’s Car Of The Year ‘22. And to get back to the question of what separates a great car from a good one, we’ve got six other examples of great cars – and you can choose the one you think will come out tops in our inaugural Car Of The Year awards. Vote now! 


4 door 5 seat fastback hatchback octavia octavia RS sedan skoda

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's former chief editor was previously the editor for Top Gear Singapore and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment.

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