Skoda Octavia vRS Estate - Scandinavian adventure

  • We familiarise ourselves with Octavia over 3,200-mile Scandinavian road trip
  • Impresses with blend of performance, comfort, practicality and economy
  • Camping equipment, alcohol, bikes and clothes accommodated with ease

Yellow is not a popular car colour in the UK. It’s even less of a choice in mainland Europe; surrounded by brown, silver, black and grey Euroboxes and efficient executive saloons the Octavia vRS is garnering an almost uncomfortable number of glares and stares.

It’s only when we hit Sankt Peter Ording, on the West coast, that RSV and it’s hue are rather more accepted. But then we have arrived at the beach in time for the World Kite Surfing Championships, so the festival atmosphere, dreadlocked hair and array of VW campervans does take the edge of Spirit Yellow somewhat.

Octavia vRS yellow

Just two days and 680 miles earlier we’d set off from home near Luton, loaded with a pair of bikes, a tent, a BBQ, two weeks worth of clothes, a bar-full of beer, wine and cider (have you seen the price of a Pinot Grigio in Stockholm lately?), camping chairs and anything else required to survive Europe for a couple of weeks. 

I even found a place to secretly stash the engagement ring.

Despite this near overloading, and a brief foray into anti-social autobahn speeds - I can confirm a Thule tow-bar-mounted bike carrier is as happy at 120mph as 70mph – and we’re still maintaining an average economy over 44mpg.

Octavia vRS bikes

Entering Copenhagen it’s clear the city is built for bikes, with dedicated lanes and traffic rules littering the streets, but the accurate sat-nav with clear instructions means we arrive at the hotel without interfacing Skoda grille with Shimano gears.

The occasional cobbled surface does show up the vRS’s rather firm ride, though I’ll still take its sports seats over my Specialized’s hard saddle.

Leaving Copenahgen on a ferry, rather than a jetplane, for the West coast of Sweden we land in Gothenburg to find ourselves in the middle of the city’s cultural festival. So cultured in fact is this main West-coast Swedish city, that the concrete multi-storey car-park we leave the car in is not only in the river but it’s uncannily modelled on a boat.

Octavia car park

Festival over the next stage of the trip sees the Octavia’s nose pointed north towards Trollhattan, once home of Saab. It’s here that the Octavia almost feels most at home, and I can’t help thinking it’s just the sort of car Saab needed to produce to stay alive.

It works perfectly at our Trollhattan campsite too, the large boot making it easy to divide up the tent, clothes and food for easy and targeted access. I even grab a picture of the car outside the Saab museum, but stop short of showing it off at the town’s riverside car festival that evening.

Octavia camping

With the weather turning we head for the middle of Sweden, and with more camping ahead the interior ends up being used as a dry safe-haven. Thanks to the panoramic sunroof it’s perfect for drying garments when the sun eventually shines. 

In Stockholm our hotel’s valet-parker looks rather taken aback by the vRS – not because of the colour but due to the steep ramp and tight bends of the underground car park that look ready to interface with our bike-rack. Plus he’d never driven a right hand drive car before. I elect to steer it down, parking sensors sounding more than a flatlined heart-attack patient, instead.

Saab Skoda Octavia vRS

It takes a lot for a motoring journalist to willingly give up use of a car and revert to public transport instead, even when they’re on holiday. But here we are, a few days later, detaching our pair of mountain bikes and boarding the taxiboat to Vetterso, a car-free island off the West Coast of Stockholm, nestled deep in the Archipelago.

And the reason? The so-far undiscovered engagement ring thus far hidden in the small cubby next to the steering wheel. Question popped and answered correctly I’d like to say KX63 RSV’s extensive qualities helped us celebrate; in reality it was the Prosecco previously stashed alongside the Pimms in the 610-litre boot that mattered most.

Octavia vRS with bikes

Celebrations over it was back behind the three-spoked wheel and into the comfortable seats to travel down the east coast of the country. Covering hundreds of miles a day the Skoda proved perfect for twisting Scandinavian back roads, high-speed motorway or urban crawl with impressive economy and measured power.

Two days at the beach on Oland followed, with the vRS acting as mobile clothes drier once again. Still, the Spirit Yellow paint matched the yellow windbreak and yellow clothes bag. I even considered buying a yellow jumper for the full set.

Yellow Octavia vRS

It was from here that we headed south to Malmo, before crossing the border(s) once again and back into Germany, where once again I tried and failed to dislodge the bike rack using the country’s derestricted motorway network.

Arriving on Sylt courtesy of the car train, the sleepy architecture (think olde English thatched cottages) and wicker beach chairs were in stark contrast to RSV’s 19-inch rims and bright yellow paint. And so our bikes got further use, as the car was marooned at the campsite.

yellow Octavia vRS insect

And suddenly our Scandinavian adventure was over, one last game of cards played, the last bottle of wine drunk and the BBQ no longer smouldering and homeward bound we headed.

Eighteen days after we set off we pulled up on the drive, 3,192 miles under the Skoda’s tyres and the trip computer showing 42.3mpg average. The holiday was impressive, for the architecture, the food, the scenery and even the engagement – but truth be told the Skoda was the real Scandinavian star.  

Mileage: 3,192miles (for the trip)             Economy: 42.7mpg (calculated for the trip only)