This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Skoda Octavia vRS (13-17) review.

Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

The standard Octavia has a rather drab cabin, but things improve somewhat with the vRS version. The most noticeable difference is the light grey and black sports seats with their unusual Alcantara and leather finish. There’s also a silver finish on the centre console, alloy pedals and a sports steering wheel. The quality of the materials used is excellent – as is the finish – so it’s a shame that it isn’t that distinctive compared to the normal Octavia.

Still, the driving position is spot on thanks to plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel and seat, while visibility is good too. In October 2007 a new optional sat nav was system was introduced 9replacing the previous dated CD based one). There’s a 6.5-inch bird’s-eye view map display, 30GB hard disc for storing mapping data and music, an auxiliary socket for connecting MP3 players and a DVD player function (when the car is stationary).

In early 2009 the interior of the Octavia vRS was revised (but confusingly the outside stayed unchanged until June 2009) and given a much more modern look. There are revised instrument dials, a fresh steering wheel and a more upmarket looking centre console.

Along with the smooth ride, the Octavia is also very quiet with minimal wind or engine noise. This makes it an extremely good long distance car and even the petrol model sits at low revs when cruising at 70mph. As with the standard Octavia there’s acres of interior space for both front and rear passengers, while the sports seats – which are covered in a combination of leather, grippy Alcantara and a highly-breathable fabric – offer extra support which is noticeable after several hours travelling.

The earlier TDI engine can be a little noisy on start-up and under hard acceleration, but the later common rail diesel is much more refined. combination of leather, grippy Alcantara and a highly-breathable fabric.