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Skoda Octavia vRS Mk2: Buying guide and review (2005-2013)

Skoda Octavia vRS Mk2: Buying guide and review (2005-2013) Classic and Performance Car
Skoda Octavia vRS Mk2 Skoda Octavia vRS Mk2 Skoda Octavia vRS Mk2 Skoda Octavia vRS Mk2
When Dickie Meaden hit 227mph in a ‘mildly’ tuned Skoda Octavia vRS at the Bonneville Salt Flats, the sensible family hatchback obliterated the old production-class speed record for a 2-litre car – even hitting the national media. If that made the Octavia a little more exciting to the general populace, those who’d driven any of the vRS versions already knew this was a car with genuine petrolheaded credentials.
 
The first-gen Octavia had arrived in 1996, initially a worthy but dull range of hatches and estates based on the Mk4 Golf. Things got more interesting when the first vRS appeared in 2001 with VW’s familiar 1.8-litre 20v turbo petrol engine, tuned to 178bhp.
 
Which one to buy?
 
The Mk2 Octavia came in 2004, now with Mk5 Golf underpinnings, and this time the vRS version – the one we’re concentrating on here – arrived just a year later. It was the same basic recipe, but now with a choice of engines: 197bhp 2-litre TFSI direct-injection turbo-petrol or 168bhp 2-litre TDI (the famous PD, or Pumpe Düse) turbodiesel. Both drove the front wheels through a traditional six-speed manual gearbox, and both were strong performers, the diesel’s extra torque and extra mpg helping it win the lion’s share of sales.
 
For 2009 there was a facelift, embracing a new grille and lights and a more upmarket interior. The engine range was also revamped, with the latest TSI petrol and CR (common rail) diesel, though both retained the same peak power figures, while the DSG ’box was now available for the first time.
 
The Mk2 vRS ran to the beginning of 2013, when the current third-gen Octavia appeared. 
 
Performance and specs
 
Engine In-line four, 1998cc, turbo
Power 197bhp @ 5100rpm 
Torque 206lb ft @ 1800-5000rpm 
Gearbox Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
0-62mph 7.3sec
Top speed 149mph
Insurance group 30
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2577mm
Length 4578mm
Width 1769mm
Height 1447mm
Weight 1375kg
 
Common problems


• Basically these are sound engines as long as they’re serviced on time, experts advise every 10,000 miles or 12 months. But there are a few issues you need to be aware of.

• The 2-litre TFSI occasionally suffers premature wear of the fuel pump cam follower, potentially causing serious scoring to the camshaft. Replacing the follower is an inexpensive service item and well worth it for peace of mind.

• Whereas the TFSI has a cambelt, the TSI that replaced it in 2009 has a timing chain, and failure of the tensioner can result in a cripplingly expensive rebuild. If you hear noisy rattling there’s a chance the tensioner is failing. Getting it replaced with the latest improved design (as fitted to 2011MY cars onwards) will cost around £500 from an independent. 

• The other engines have belts, which most agree should be renewed every four years or 60,000 miles and the water pump replaced at the same time. Budget around £300, or c£400 from an official Skoda agent. 

• The PD diesel engine is notoriously fussy about oil spec. It needs to be 505.01, which has additional anti-wear properties to protect the cams and lifters. It’s worth checking it’s been used, especially if the car’s been serviced outside the network.

• The manual gearboxes are generally robust. If you feel a juddering when moving off it’s probably the dual-mass flywheel on the way out. It makes sense to get the clutch replaced at the same time, so the total bill could be as low as £500 from an indie or as high as £1000 from an official agent. 

• If the car has DSG, it’s vital the oil and filter are changed every 40,000 miles to avoid overheating or the clutches burning out. On the test drive, check both automatic and manual shifts for speed and smoothness.

• As ever, listen for any clunks over bumps – in the vRS it’ll probably be worn anti-roll bar bushes. The Octavia’s huge boot means many are used for serious load-lugging, so don’t neglect the rear springs and dampers.

• The 18-inch wheels look cool, but they don’t do the ride or handling any favours; the 17-inch alloys are arguably the smarter choice.

• If the ABS light and/or the ESP light is illuminated, beware. It could be a fault with a sensor (not too expensive to fix) or it could be the ABS pump control unit that needs replacing, which will cost hundreds at best, potentially five figures if you buy an official replacement.

• Some pre-facelift cars have surface rust on the sills, so check it hasn’t taken hold. Interiors wear well, though the light cloth trim on the seats is hard to keep looking clean. 

• Check the air con – the pump has been known to fail and even a non-OE replacement is c£450. 

• The rear wash/wipe is a common failure: check the wiper and the washer work.
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• briskoda.net
• skodaforum.co.uk
• autops.co.uk
• quattro-tech.co.uk
• revotechnik.com
• vagtech.co.uk
• sharkperformance.co.uk
 
Summary and prices
 
Early, high-mileage Mk2s, privately advertised, have started to appear for around three grand, but check that service history extremely carefully. Well cared-for cars with average miles start at around £4k.
 
£5000-6000 provides a really good choice of ’06/’07 cars with average miles and a good history, both trade and private, petrol or diesel. Post-2009 facelift cars with high miles start around £6k. A low-mileage 2010/2011 car with impeccable history and just one or two owners will be around £9k.
 
Words: Peter Tomalin/evo magazine
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Last updated: 21st Apr 2016
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Skoda Octavia
5990 29295 GBP
  • Skoda Octavia

    £13,450 £13,450

    Variant name:VRS TDI CR ,Derivative:VRS TDI CR ,Variant: 2.0 TDI CR vRS 5dr

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 47121 mi
    • Engine size: 2
    For sale
    £13,450 £13,450
    Charles Hurst Group-Usedirect - Belfast
    028 9517 0465 View contact number
  • Skoda Octavia VRS CR DSG Estate

    £8,250 £8,250

    Skoda Octavia VRS Estate. 2012(12) 2.0CR (170)diesel. DSG 6 speed auto with sport and manual mode (tiptronic or F1 style steering wheel paddles). Rallye Green not the usual Blue! This has covered 90k over its 5 years and is in fantastic condition. The standard 18" Neptune alloys all have good tyres and there is even a spare! It has Black interior with red stitching, half leather black seats with the VRS detail not with the normal grey that discolours, black roof lining and carbon fibre trim. Touch screen radio with 6 disc cd changer, aux socket, ad slot and Bluetooth phone integed. All can be controlled on the steering wheel controls as can the trip computer and vehicle settings etc. Cruise control. LED daytime running lights. Isofix mounting points. False boot floor load cover and tray. VRS door sill covers. Mot expires 1st March 2018. Just had full service including DSG gearbox service. No time wasters please, serious buyers only. £9250 reduced to £8250

    • Mileage: 90000 mi
    • Engine size: 1968
    For sale
    £8,250 £8,250