Skoda previews new Octavia vRS

Skoda has unveiled the first pictures of the new Octavia vRS.
Skoda has unveiled the first pictures of the new Octavia vRS.
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SKODA has revealed the first pictures of the new Octavia vRS ahead of its full debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July.

The new vRS has been unveiled in hatchback and ‘Combi’ estate guises, although it is not clear whether the Combi name will be used in the UK market.

Vauxhall's Adam supermini has claimed the best interior design award at the Automotive Interiors EXPO 2013

Vauxhall's Adam supermini has claimed the best interior design award at the Automotive Interiors EXPO 2013

There will be two engine options, as before: a 217bhp petrol and a 181bhp diesel, with the faster petrol option catapulting the car to 62mph from rest in 6.8 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 154mph when equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox.

In manual form, the diesel takes 8.4 seconds to cover the traditional 0-62mph sprint and can reach 144mph, but will hold an advantage in fuel economy and emissions - although these are as yet unconfirmed.

To ensure stable and engaging handling, Skoda has lowered the body by 12mm compared to the standard Octavia; 13mm for the estate model.

A newly developed multi-link rear suspension set-up is more responsive and equally new light-alloy wheels help to reduce unsprung weight and inertia.

Japanese automaker Nissan has updated its Micra with new style, technology and interior

Japanese automaker Nissan has updated its Micra with new style, technology and interior

Skoda says 17in wheels will be standard with 18in and 19in upgrades offered.

Practicality has always been an Octavia vRS strong point and the new car raises the bar still further, with a five litre increase inside the hatchback, taking it to 590 litres up to the load cover and with up to five occupants in place.

The estate can boast 610 litres, but the gap grows when loading above the top of the rear seats or with the rear seats folded.

Vauxhall’s fashionable Adam supermini has scooped the best interior design in a production car award at the Automotive Interiors EXPO 2013.

Beating competitors such as the Alfa 4C, Jaguar F-Type, Renault Clio and the new Range Rover, Vauxhall’s stylish urban newcomer was selected by a jury of respected motoring journalists from around the world.

The award is part of a trade show in Stuttgart, Germany, for concepts, materials, surfaces, fabrics and components in vehicle interior equipment.

Elizabeth Wetzel, Interior Design Director, says: “The individualisation of the interior is one of the Adam’s many outstanding traits.

“Our small lifestyle car offers almost 82,000 combinations for interior styling. The EXPO award is a wonderful tribute to the whole Opel/Vauxhall design team.”

The new Nissan Micra has been updated with fresh styling, new technology and a significantly revised interior.

Both the front and rear looks have changed, including not just headlights but the surrounding panels as well. The design now more closely echoes that of the big-selling Juke.

Mid-range Micras ride on a new design of 15in alloy wheel, with the 16in upgrades on higher trim levels also a new style.

Two new colours have been added: Pacific Blue, which according to Nissan is a shade of turquoise, and Platinum Sage, which sounds like a green-tinted silver.

On the inside, the instrument cluster has been changed to give greater legibility and clarity at a glance. It’s just one of many improvements that take in an all-new centre console with new air vents and a gloss black finish.

On the dashboard, drivers will now find USB and 3.5mm auxiliary sockets for portable electronics. There is also a 12-volt socket for recharging other devices.

Visia is still the entry-level grade, with remote central locking, electric front windows, power steering, 14in wheels, a radio and CD player and a full complement of safety equipment including dual front, side and curtain bags, ABS and ESP.

Mid-range Acenta trim adds chrome accents, body colour door mirrors and handles, 15in wheels, a roof spoiler, air conditioning, front fog lights, a driver’s armrest, a leather-covered steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity and automatic control for the headlights and wipers.

Tekna versions add climate control, the new NissanConnect satnav, rear parking sensors, a clever Parking Slot Measurement system to guide the car into tight spaces, 16in alloy wheels, suede-like seat fabric, automatic folding door mirrors and Intelligent Key for keyless entry and engine start.

Nissan has also added more personalisation options to Acenta and Tekna models, so owners can now specify their preferred colour of wheel centre caps and door mirrors on the outside, while inside they can personalise their gear knob, air vents, gear stick surround and velour mats to make their car unique.