Regular readers will know that I have two 2010 Skoda Octavias.
One is a 2.0L petrol turbo vRS estate with 200bhp, a dual-clutch DSG gearbox and is well specced with navigation, leather seats and Xenon lights. I have owned this from new and it has 56,000 miles on it now.
The other is a Scout (4WD) with a 1.8L petrol turbo estate with 160bhp, a manual gearbox and similar spec to the vRS – navigation, Xenon lights, and heated cloth rather than leather seats. It also has an electric memory driver’s seat which I love as the other half is rather shorter than me! I bought the Scout three months ago and it has 53,000 miles.
For family duties both are excellent. Plenty of room inside and a cavernous boot.
How they drive is very different though. The vRS is very quick with a lightning quick gearbox with imperceptible changes up or down. It is a joy to drive and I have always loved it.
The Scout is higher up (think Audi A4 AllRoad) and on smaller 17″ wheels with higher profile tyres. It is also on all-seasons rubber. It isn’t as fast outright, nor would you expect it to be, but it grips very well on the wet, leafy roads that we currently have and pulls away very neatly with no wheel slip whatsoever due to the 4WD. It is also quieter inside than the vRS with much less tyre noise. Although the vRS will soon be quieter when I put its winter tyres on it, the more softly sprung Scout is still likely to remain the comfier ride of the two.
DSG versus manual? Well, I love DSG. It is so clever and you can either sit in traffic or on the motorway in fully auto mode all day long and never give it a thought, or put it into Sports mode and fly! The third mode is using the paddles behind the steering wheel to change yourself. All round, it does everything you could possibly want.
But, I have really enjoyed the manual in the Scout too. It is a very slick change with a smooth clutch action too. One of the best manual boxes I have driven. You also feel as if you have total control of the car at all times.
So which is the best / my favourite? A very tough choice. In fact I love them both for their own strengths. Both do exactly what they are supposed to.
I would love a compromise. The pace of the vRS with the comfort and grip of the Scout’s 4WD, all with a DSG box. The answer? Possibly have the Scout remapped to about 200bhp – watch this space!