The diesel-powered version of the Skoda Octavia vRS hot hatchback has gone on sale in the UK with prices starting at £32,260. Available as a hatchback or an estate, the new model features a 2-litre engine and an automatic gearbox, while customers can choose between front- and four-wheel drive.

Joining the petrol and plug-in hybrid versions of the practical go-faster model, the new diesel comes with 197 bhp – all of which is sent to the wheels via a seven-speed double-clutch automatic transmission. If you want to spend roughly £1,500 more, you can pair that with a four-wheel drive system that can react to changing road conditions, redistributing the engine’s power in a fraction of a second.

The diesel is the least powerful model in the range – the hybrid and petrol versions both produce 241 bhp – but it’s only marginally slower. With an automatic gearbox on board, the petrol-powered Octavia hatch gets from 0-62 mph in 6.7 seconds before roaring on to a top speed of 155 mph. The front-wheel-drive diesel, meanwhile, takes 7.4 seconds to sprint to 62 mph, before it too tops out at 155 mph.

Skoda Octavia RS wagon (2020)

And if you opt for four-wheel drive, the diesel gets even closer to the petrol-powered vRS, reaching 62 mph in 6.8 seconds. However, sending the power to all four wheels does limit the top speed to 151 mph.

The upside, however, is fuel economy. Where the petrol engine will return 40.8 mpg, the most economical diesel – the front-wheel-drive version – will manage 56.9 mpg. And even if you opt for the 4x4 model, you’ll still get 51.3 mpg.

Aside from the engine, the diesel-powered vRS models are no different to their petrol-engined stablemates. They get the same black trim on the bodywork, with a black radiator grille, black door mirrors and black window frames. They get chrome exhaust tailpipes, too, and vRS badging.

Inside, there’s a new multifunction three-spoke leather steering wheel with gear shift paddles and heated sports seats, trimmed in black fabric. The roof lining isb black, too, while the steering wheel, armrests and instrument panel all get red stitching.

Standard features also include a digital instrument cluster, LED headlights and adaptive cruise control that maintains a safe distance to the car in front. Front and rear parking sensors are also included in the price, which starts at £32,260 for the diesel-powered hatchback and rises to £33,530 for the estate.

Gallery: Skoda Octavia vRS Estate (2021)