One of the best things about this summer has been waiting to drive the Skoda Octavia vRS. Now that autumn is just round the corner, was it worth the wait? Certainly was.

While it’s not exactly a sporty number on the looks front it is practical, solid and superb value for money.

Quite understated like the Mazda6 MPS used to be, your original wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The Octavia is in its third generation and has a loyal following with some drivers on their sixth model because they love them so much.

The vRS is the flagship and this is the one that shakes the cobwebs from any sleepy eyes.

Launched almost five years ago it shares its engine and chassis with the VW Golf GTI and is available in five-door hatch or estate format, with 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol or diesel engines.

There is a four-wheel drive available and Skoda also offers a vRS 245, which adds an extra 15bhp, bigger brakes, an electro-mechanical front differential and lots of extra equipment.

The petrol-powered Skoda Octavia vRS 2.0 TSI will blast to 60mph in just over six seconds and has a top speed of 155mph.

Both the petrol and diesel engines are shared with the Golf GTI and GTD.

The 184PS model is a little bit less powerful not that you would notice. It only goes as fast as 142mph and 0-60mph is just over seven seconds!

With the optional DSG twin-clutch gearbox, performance and fuel economy are somewhat less but the difference is minimal.

And I think the DSG gearbox is wonderful although it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

The purist tends to go for the six speed manual in the vRS as the DSG is a bit heavier but I prefer a box which can change gears far better than me!

And there is a four wheel drive model should you require it at an extra £1,500 and your fuel economy will be affected.

Talking about vehicle economy the vRS is surprisingly economical and you can easily get 50 miles to the gallon on the combined performance.

On the road the vRS is quite brilliant with excellent grip and round corners it has no equal. It never feels heavy and while the ride is firm it is not harsh. For the vRS 245 the brakes have been souped up and there is a new sports exhaust. There are also new front and rear bumpers on the upgraded model and 19-inch alloys as an option.

There are sports seats, aluminium pedals and a vRS badge on the steering wheel and the standard vRS is well equipped, with 18-inch alloys and LED running lights as standard. There is a dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors and automatic post-collision braking.

Skoda doesn’t cut corners on kit and every Octavia vRS has a touchscreen that controls the stereo, media player, Bluetooth phone connection and vehicle.

Between the dials there is a central screen which shows information like including sat-nav, servicing mileage and trip details.

Like all Skodas there are the quirky touches like the ice scraper in the petrol, ticket holders in the cabin, an umbrella and a rechargeable torch. There are also a number of bins and other storage areas.

There’s bags of space for two adults in the back with good head and legroom although the sporty seats cut the rear legroom a little. Three in the back seat is no problem either.

The Octavia has 590 litres in the boot but with the seats down space almost triples to 1,580-litre loadbay and it is an easy operation to pull the seats down.

The boot is a good shape and there is a loading hatch in the middle of the rear seats and a storage net.

On the safety front there is a large number of airbags on every model and the car gets hill-hold assist, dynamic headlights, lane-keep assist and post-collision braking to prevent further accidents after a crash.

The Octavia vRS gets a three-year warranty, with the first two years mileage unlimited and the third year limited to 60,000 miles plus a three-year paint warranty and 12 years of protection against corrosion.

The car needs servicing after 12,500 miles in the first year, and then both petrol and diesel models need to go back after every two years or 20,000 miles. Prices start at around £27,500 and go through to just over £30,000.