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Skoda Octavia Combi RS Singapore Review 2022 - 2.0 TSI (A)

Updated: Oct 15, 2022

The Skoda Octavia Combi RS is a family friendly sports wagon that features a 2.0 TSI engine that it shares with the prolific Volkswagen Golf GTI that pushes out 180 kw of power and comes with RS specific kit such as front sports seats, 19 inch alloy wheels, black diffuser and rear apron trim, and red stitching on the interior. Aside from that, the car also features a virtual cockpit alongside a 3 spoke multifunction steering wheel with adaptive cruise control, electronic limited slip differential and dynamic chassis control (DCC).

In a world where SUVs dominate the "family friendly" segment and sedans personify the idea of an "executive" vehicle, a wagon can seen as a little bit of an oddball. Yet, instead of behaving like the outcast of the group, the Skoda Octavia Combi RS puts its best foot forward, bringing high levels of technology and equipment to the table. Throw in the fact that it also happens to house one of the most revered power units on the market, and the Combi RS suddenly feels like a very complete proposition, armed with a useful trifecta of practicality, sporty good looks, and dynamic performance.

For those who have followed the development of Skoda, you'll realise that the new Combi RS is a major step up from its predecessor. While the old car was also known for the value it brought, it's design was still a little too boxy and perhaps retained too much of that utilitarian, Slavic flavour. The new Combi RS however, looks modern and sleek, and is a very easy car to like. While the front doesn't look extremely differentiated from a regular Octavia, it's side profile is quite majestic, and nails down the swoopy, longline features you would expect from a sports tourer. The redesigned rear headlamps are also the prettiest you've ever seen on any Skoda, and do an excellent jobI'd have preferred to see better looking wheels and perhaps the inclusion of an RS branded big brake kit - as those are in my opinion quite high impact visual upgrades on any car that helps to complete the look, but the stock car doesn't disappoint, with the red painted front brake calibers my only aesthetic gripe with the car.

Inside, things are even more impressive - the red stitching and sculpted alcantara lined dashboard providing just enough flair to feel premium. Despite being quite low slung, there is an openness to the design of the dashboard that allows the interior to feel airy and large. A full sized panoramic roof also aids this further and will for sure be a hit with the kids. There are still some utilitarian bits of trim in the car that giveaway its VW group affiliations, but nothing in the car feels cheap. A neat and well organised centre console, along with an impeccable RS steering wheel help the car stay competitive with more premium rivals.

Combining nicely with a well worked interior is the level of practicality offered by the Combi RS. While many consumers flock toward SUV options in search for practicality, the Combi RS offers generous legroom for its wheelbase, good headroom, and a generously sized boot that has all the easy-loading qualities of an SUV, along with Skoda's virtual pedal. In fact if you take into account the benefits in ride quality that a sports tourer has over an SUV, the Combi RS might prove to be a better family car than an SUV.

Speaking of ride quality, the Combi RS comes equipped with Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), which i think is one of the cleverest features in any car today, and allows you to toggle through 15 levels of suspension firmness - all the way from softer than comfort, to firmer than sport, allowing you the freedom and flexibility to choose your desired ride comfort based on your mood, carrying load, and driving style. It's just as well that the car comes with DCC, because the Combi RS does pack a rather perky 2.0L turbocharged power unit from a Golf GTI under the bonnet, which daddy might want to exploit when not occupied with family duties. Chuck the Combi RS into a corner in one of the DCC's firmer settings, and you'll find that the car handles with distinction, allowing you to exploit that lovely engine even when going round a bend (and when your wife isn't in the car).

As far as car features go, it's not as "simply clever" as the magical door protectors you find on the Skoda Kodiaq, which is another awesome car feature, but DCC has got to be among the best features we've seen this year.

One of the things that I really like about the Combi RS, is that despite being a rather special car, it still feels quite underrated - and I think that tells you something about its owner. To truly appreciate what the Combi RS brings to the table, one would need to be quite discerning, preferring to look at the value of all the clever features they are getting, rather than the badge on the car. Admittedly, that's sort of saying that the Skoda brand isn't as desirable as other German options in the market, and there are plenty who would still choose an entry level German SUV over the very accomplished Combi RS - but while we're still being real about it, the Combi RS is a very good car, and is no doubt one of the most underrated family friendly performance cars in its price segment.


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