This neat suspension trick allows the Skoda Octavia RS to be a comfortable family car and surprising track weapon

The Czech wagon has a suspension system that you can really geek out on

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There is plenty of things about the Skoda Octavia RS wagon that will make performance enthusiasts happy.

Not least is the fact it is a good old fashioned long roof – and not a stilted SUV. Then there is the EA888 engine which has become a mainstay of Volkswagen Group hot hatches.

But what we found during our Sports Car of the Year testing, was that the Octavia RS’s most impressive feat is the way it pairs day-to-day liveability with body control that feels completely at home on track.

Those two abilities are diametrically opposed, and incredibly difficult to make work together.

But the Skoda can do both tasks with a set of adaptive dampers with a truly staggering breadth of ability.

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As part of the Adaptive Chassis Control system, which is fitted to the Octavia RS as part of a $6500 option pack (and well worth the price of admission), there are a total of 15 damper settings you can choose from and flick between via the car’s central infotainment.

For context, most manufactures will provide three-to-five settings to choose from in an individual drive mode calibrator. Skoda obviously believes more choice is a good thing, and we’d agree.

In its most comfortable setting the Octavia RS has a supple ride that belies its true ability. Ratchet things to their firmest, and there is a level of body control that means the Octavia RS can be driven hard on track without becoming a wallowing mess.

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That most aggressive damper setting works in sync with the RS’s unique chassis that sits 15mm lower than its non-performance-orientated siblings.

By having 15 different settings to choose from, it means you can also select the Goldilocks firmness for any situation between those two extremes.

When driven at Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit as part of SCOTY 2022 testing, judges were thoroughly impressed by the Skoda’s ability in a location that was well and truly outside its more traditional remit.

Not everyone wants a family wagon with a hot hatch engine capable of being driven hard, but for those who do, Skoda has the answer.


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