To say that the Civic is only slightly faster than the vRS is a massive understatement, and the whole thing is explained when you say that you were catching the Civic up in the bends, either he wasn't trying or wasn't a good driver - either way the Civic wasn't going flat out.
As for saying about the Seat touring cars and the diesel Le Mans, it's hardly comparable to the vRS. Also the same engine restrictions don't apply to the Seats, and they are given quite a lot of lee-way compared to the petrol powered cars.
The only argument for the vRS is economy, as you can drive it hard and still get good mpg, but it's not the same sort of performance that you would get driving a CTR hard.
It's personal preference on looks, but if you put it to a vote I would be willing to bet you are in the minority. As someone else has said, the Skoda is fat for a small car and weighs more than the CTR, and that torque is wasted hauling that load.
I drive a Skoda Fabia vRS and I'm absolutely delighted with it. I couldn't care less what others think, in fact, every time I hear a snide remark it leads me to the conclusion that they see my car as a threat and are ashamed I've overtaken them.
The looks of those drivers in BMW, Honda, Porsche and Audi cars when I overtake them makes my day.
If you haven't driven a Skoda vRS slate it at your peril, you don't understand...
Being the owner of a vRS but also a keen petrol head, I would have to admit that a CTR is a faster car. However, having been in a "dabble" or two with more powerful "faster" cars, I would say that on the whole, as long as the straights aren't too long, it's easy to keep up with faster machinery. as long as a CTR or RX8 (the other machine I have dabbled with) don't hit their optimal power bands, then you are fairly safe and can "look" fast and dangerous! I guess it depends on how brave you are in the corners.
The vRS in standard form is by modern standards not an especially powerful diesel. The least powerful VW derv you can buy now (of the same displacement) is 140hp - correct me if I'm wrong. However the combination of the cars small size, the 6spd box and the decent amount of oomphh you have mean that although it is not an especially fast car, it is a perfect compromise between hot hatchiness and normal everyday get about the placiness. It is a car you will never get a headache in, you will never dread the thought of driving it because your back hurts, you can drive it quickly all day long, in comfort, and you get very good economy. It is a car for the thinking petrol head (or derv head).
I'm sure you're all going to get on your high horse's now, but as a day to day car, which you can enjoy and live with, there are few better.
I have a 2005 vRS and I find the acceleration just about OK (not too quick, not too slow).
What these cars are about are a bit of pace on the cheap. I get around 8.5-9 seconds to 60mph (Skoda claim 9.6-100kph/62mph) and around 22-25secs to 100mph (private lane).
I get 45-50mpg mostly city driving.
I have a bit of comfort, and nothing goes wrong with it.
I've owned this car for 2 years now and its only cost has been the servicing and 2 new tyres on the front (I went for Eagle F1's).
It needs 4 tyres and a new brake pads all round in the next month, but that's not bad in 25k miles driven.
All in all, a good car, and in fact my next car will be another Skoda (probably the Octavia vRS)
So what some people are saying is that diesel powered LeMans cars are better?
Sure they have won a few times. But as others have said, they get better fuel economy so less pit stops etc. However the biggest reason for their wins is a couple of glaringly obvious points; they have bigger turbos, less restrictions, and are allowed larger displacement engines, so diesel LeMans race cars have a massive advantage over the petrols. If the petrol cars had the same advantage, they would win no problems.
Back to the argument of the Fabia being 'fast'; sure it's lukewarm fast and can surprise an 'off the boil' hot hatch. Hell they have surprised me in the Clio Cup a couple of times when I haven't been expecting it, however I have a dropped a couple of gears and it's goodbye Mr. Bond.
I've seen modified ones with over 200bhp and a lot of torque. Yes it was quick for a diesel car, but fuel economy and reliability has been massively sacrificed, and for what? To beat a standard hot hatch? A bit pointless really.
There is currently an MSO tuned supercharged Clio 172 Cup on YouTube running 340bhp, and more torque than any hatch diesel you care to think of. It gets to the limiter in 5th (around 153mph) in super car times; can a diesel Fabia, tuned or not, live with that? I think not.
Any money spent on the Fabia or VAG diesel can easily be spent modifying a real hot hatch to super car performance.
I agree with pretty much everything you're saying, BUT I will say that it's all horses for courses in terms of getting the balance between performance and economy.
Just a remap and air filter will not see any significant drop in MPG or reliability on one of these VAG engines, and up to this point, I think they are one of the best blends of all the things you might want in a car (but that's only my opinion). You still have your trusty diesel lump, oodles of torque and enough pace, good running costs etc etc.
Obviously it's never going to be the best base to build a racing car from, and as with any car, there will be a point when the modding goes beyond what the car can cope with, and the extra costs make it impractical, but as a fast car ticking lots of boxes, a tweaked Furby is a good choice for driving in Britain. Even the insurance isn't too bad after you've declared your remap and air filter I've found.
To the people who say it can be built into a rocket or it is faster than CTRs, Clio Sports etc; I just think who cares? It may just about keep up in a straight line on a good day, but it was never designed to go like those cars, and that is why it takes so much effort to make it go like those cars when you really test them, like on twisty roads or a track.
With the simple (and reasonably inexpensive I think is the key point) tweaks I mentioned, it can outperform cars you'd not expect it to, and keep up with some more impressive motors while still being frugal and reliable, so I rate it as a good car (even if it is fairly ugly).
Have you driven one of these? I've had lots of cars in the past. My present one is a Mercedes C350 V6, which is fairly spirited. It's the 350Nm torque on 1.9 Fabia that really makes the difference at normal speeds, below a ton. The published power and 0-60 times don't really do the car justice.
Few small hatchbacks go so quickly so effortlessly. It will be beaten in an outright drag race by true hot hatches, but if you're doing 50 and need to be doing 80, just plant it and it hauls its way up there before a petrol buzz box driver has selected the correct gear. And all this with 50 MPG in daily use without trying. Brilliant little cars for what they are.