Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI vRS Estate - Rollin' on Nineteens

 

  • We swap from 18-inch winter tyres to 19-inch Summer rubber
  • Change means we add new larger wheels, improving the Octavia's looks
  • Grip and confidence behind the wheel boosted, though already firm ride suffers

I recently (not as recently as I’d like) turned 33. I’ve had my midlife crisis and bought a two-seat sports car – though not gained a ponytail – already worry about the big Four-Oh and recently lamented the loss of tapedecks in cars to a colleague.

I am, to many (including my 21-year old self), an old man.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t still roll wi’ da kool kidz innit?

Skoda Octavia vRS alloy wheels

Our Octavia arrived on 18-inch Gemini alloy wheels in anthracite, fitted with winter tyres. Combined with the heated seats and windscreen they promised to make the yellow peril one of the most capable cars on fleet should snow hit the UK.

Of course it didn’t. In fact temperatures barely got down to freezing earlier this year, and back in March it was an un-seasonably warm 20c. The winter tyres were struggling, colleagues noting the squirming and squealing from the four corners when making use of the car’s ample power and torque.

Having seen a vRS wearing a different set of alloy wheels on last year’s Frankfurt motorshow stand I knew that changing to summer tyres had to coincide with a rim upgrade as well. So four 19-inch Xtremes were ordered and duly smeared with Continental Contisportcontact SP summer tyres.

Skoda Octavia vX

Fitted by Danny and Luke at Lancaster Skoda in Milton Keynes, along with a complimentary health check, in just over an hour the Xtreme rims cost a further £650 if you specify them when ordering your vRS – good value in our book.

In it’s Sprint Yellow paint the vRS never had trouble standing out, and I’d never considered it under-wheeled. Parked next to sister title CAR’s Rallye Green metallic model though (with the same wheels as originally worn by ours) I’m not so sure – it’s almost like the car was (visually) made for nineteens.

Skoda Octavia vRS side shot

In fact, our car now looks positively sick bro. Or something…

Of course I say it looks like it was made for these huge rims, but that doesn’t mean it feels that way. It’s no surprise the ride quality has changed with the swap, and while KX63 RSV was always on the firm side, that feeling has only been emphasised here.

It’s not helped by our heavily-scarred roads, but the Octavia thumps and bangs over imperfections with more regularity than before. Adding speed improves the matter slightly, and on smoother motorway surfaces you rarely notice the difference, though tyre roar is always present.

Skoda Octavia vRS action

The flipside to this of course is a far improved dynamic composure; gone is the tyre squeal and flicker of traction control bulb under acceleration, while braking inspires confidence rather than butt-clenching. Lateral grip is improved as well, and if you want to enjoy the vRS’ sport chassis on a twisting backroad then RSV is now a far better companion.

So far they’ve remained kerb-mark free too, though I suspect it’s only a matter of time before one comes a cropper on some concrete, and look fantastic. I love the sharp angular ‘teledial’ style faces, highlighted with the bright silver details against the anthracite main body.

It’s not just me that likes the look of them either, the rim choice being met with almost universal praise in the office, while passers by and other drivers do a double take whenever I drive past – though this could be down to the colour as much as the wheels.

Skoda Ocatvia vRS Xtreme alloy wheels

So while it might be a practical, frugal, comfortable and well-equipped estate – perfectly suited for an aging bloke like myself – it’s also one of the coolest looking cars on our fleet right now.

Rolling on these 19-inch Xtremes the Octavia vRS is my automotive fountain of youth. And when I catch a glimpse of its reflection in shop windows, rims crammed into the arches and Sprint Yellow paint popping out in the sun, I feel 21 again.

Which means I can finally pull my damn trousers up to waist-height (rather than mid-thigh, boxers showing) again.

Innit...

 

Mileage: 3,426 miles   Economy: 45.1mpg (calculated)