When we speak about everyday performance machines, the first thing that comes to our mind is a hot hatch. Not the wannabes like the Baleno RS but the real ones like the Volkswagen GTi and the Mini Cooper S pumping close to 200bhp of power. Well, we now have the Skoda Octavia RS back in India and with its price tag, it sits directly between the GTi and the Cooper S. So we shall try to figure out if it makes any sense to choose the sedan over the hatches, at least on paper.
Dimensions and space
Well, this is Octavia territory. Being a D-segment sedan, there is ample space for four large men to spread themselves comfortably in the car. And then you have the humongous boot that can gobble up the luggage of all four occupants and probably a couple of golf bags as well. The Volkswagen GTi is also quite spacious for a hatch but it is a 3-door car. While it does look stylish, getting in and out of the rear seats will be cumbersome if you plan to drive off with more than two in the car. The Mini is the smallest of the three with dimensions so compact that you might be able to fit two of them in the Octavia.
Features and Equipment
The Octavia RS, the Volkswagen GTi and the Mini Cooper S are all top-spec cars with leather upholstery, fancy layouts and all the bells and whistles. But, the Skoda and the VW are rather plaid when compared to the Mini which still has the British flair in spite of its German ownership. Separate-zone climate control, power seats, power mirrors, cruise control, automatic headlamps, steering-mounted audio controls are all standard. All of them get display screens for the infotainment system with smartphone connectivity.
In terms of safety, all the three cars are loaded to the gills with multiple dual-stage airbags, ABS, EBD, electronic stability program, traction control, skid control, hill-hold et al.
Well, juice is the only reason we are comparing oranges with sweet limes. While the hot hatches, the Mini and the VW pump out about 190bhp of power, the Skoda RS develops around 230bhp of power. But if you compare the power to weight ratios, the higher power output of the Octavia is weighed down by its added bulk. While the Skoda is certainly more comfortable than the hatches, when it comes to absolute performance, the bulk does slow it down. The direction changes will not be as sharp as the hatches, nor will it be as composed as the hatches around the corners. All three cars are front-engine front-wheel drive setups driven by automatic gearboxes.