Skoda previews new plug-in Octavia vRS range

  • Design sketches show aggressive body kit and huge wheels
  • 245hp vRS iV will be Skoda’s first performance plug-in hybrid
  • Conventional petrol and diesel models to supplement

In a series of design sketches, Skoda has previewed the new Octavia vRS range and officially confirmed that a plug-in hybrid model will join the halo performance line-up.

The new vRS model follows on from the full reveal of the standard Octavia range, and represents the top-of-the-line in performance and technology from the Skoda brand.

>> Cars coming soon: 2020 Skoda Octavia

The sketches feature typically exaggerated proportions but confirm that the Octavia vRS range will use the now-trademark ‘Xtreme’ alloy wheel design, along with a bespoke bodykit featuring more aggressive front and rear bumper designs. They also show a full-width lighting element at the rear which in the preview video could be either a foglight or a reflector - as a full-width rear reflector was a hallmark of the last vRS, making it into a signature feature would make sense, yet it's not shown as part of the normal lighting.

We also know that, across the board, the Octavia’s wheels are an inch larger than they were on the previous generation. This means we could see vast, 20-inch alloys make an appearance for this new car.

Skoda Octavia vRS IV charging port and wheel

Skoda has confirmed the new alloys are black, at least, showing off the red calipers. This is complemented by the black and red theme of the interior which will feature sports seats and red stitching as well as vRS logos on the seats and trim.

2020 Skoda Octavia vRS design sketch

Overall, the design appears a lot wider and lower than its predecessor – mirroring the new model’s dimension changes.

Three engine choices

Skoda has confirmed to us that the Octavia would use petrol engines of up to 245hp and diesels of up to 200hp, so it’s a fair assumption that these most powerful units will also make an appearance in the vRS models as well as the vRS iV hybrid version shown so far.

These will be developments of the Volkswagen Group’s existing 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol and diesel units. They’ll be paired with either six-speed manual transmissions or seven-speed DSG automatics – the latter operated by Skoda’s new toggle switch in the centre console rather than a bulky traditional selector.

2020 Skoda Octavia vRS design sketch

As for the plug-in hybrid, it will be badged as iV – in accordance with all of Skoda’s future electrified products. It utilises the VW Group’s standard combination of 1.4-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor paired to a DSG automatic gearbox.

Previously we've seen 218hp from this powertrain in the Superb iV, but in the Octavia vRS iV it matches the petrol, with 245hp. The 400Nm of torque will help counteract the additional weight of batteries - with the effect of bringing CO2 down to 30g/km, as well as providing around 34 miles of zero-emissions electric-only range.

The non-vRS hybrid will offer 204hp, and come in SE or SE-L trim.

What this means for you

More choice is almost always a good thing, and the option of an efficient, fast Skoda with the capacity to run emissions-free in towns and cities could be a license for Skoda to print money. The 245hp and relatively low BIK rating - plus the practicality of the Octavia Estate - will make this a very appealing company car choice.

In reality, the allure of the Volkswagen badge means we can’t expect the Octavia vRS iV to outsell its VW Golf GTE sister, while the pure petrol model will be cheaper, quicker, and the engine of choice for most buyers. But it’s a step in the right direction for Skoda, and we’re looking forward to seeing how well the first electrified vRS drives. If it’s anything like as good as our old petrol long-termer, we’re sold.