A few years back, Skoda dropped the Fabia vRS from production, leaving the Octavia as the only model to bear its performance badge. However, they’ve decided it’s time for their range-topping SUV to get in on the act – the Skoda Kodiaq is getting a vRS edition, too! While UK orders mightn’t be available until the spring, there are a handful of demo cars already knocking about. So, how do they perform? Here, with Skoda dealership Lookers, we take a look:
Good looking and similar
At first glance, you’ll not notice many huge differences from the Kodiaq Sportline – the vRS’ predecessor. However, little tweaks are noticeable enough to set it apart. Both have upgraded bumpers and 20-inch alloys, but the vRS’ ‘Xtreme’ rims look even more imposing and sit above red brake callipers. They’re certainly a handsome set.
Round the back, you’ll find the squared exhaust tips with full-width reflector that Skoda places on all its performance models. It also has the spec-specific badging, front and back, along with gloss-black grille and window surrounds. Our tester was finished in metallic Race Blue and looked cracking.
Inside, the model shares the excellent 9.2-inch touchscreen and comfy Alcantara sports seats that are available in the Sportline. However, the added vRS badging and red stitching are both unique to this model.
It’ll take more than a good-looking model for the Kodiaq vRS to truly wear the badge; it must also do well on the move.
Well, there’s just under 240bhp – about 50 more than what’s on offer on the Sportline’s most powerful engine – coming from a 2.0-litre twin turbo engine. Alongside the 400bhp-plus super SUVs, it isn’t a huge power count. However, it isn’t pretending to challenge the likes of those.
From a standstill, it can impressively shift to 60mph in just seven seconds. This certainly is an impressive time for anything limited to four cylinders and two litres, but even more so for something this size and which is diesel-powered. That in itself is surprising, considering performance-spec motors tend to come with petrol-only engine choices, or petrol and diesel.
Stats aside, what’s it like to drive?
I took the Kodiaq vRS to the Northumberland coast, easily some of the North East’s best roads, and resisted the urge to drop it into ‘Sport’ mode for all of eight minutes. Even when keeping to the speed limits and general rules of the road, it’d be a bit of a waste not to use it.
The vehicle is fitted, as standard, with Skoda’s seven-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive. It has a more focussed setup than the Sportline too, with up to 85% of the engine’s output able to be sent to any one of the wheels.
The model has a confident feel to it on the road as well and has extremely impressive body control, especially in the Sport mode. While you may find that the steering is a little on the light side, it does well to hold the car on the line you’ve put it without too much swaying.
If you’re looking for a car that’s quick but obedient, the Skoda Kodiaq vRS could well be the car for you. This, however, is a car that’s big on flair and usability.
The other side of the coin
Along with normal driving, you can also use standard tech on the Dynamic Chassis Control. Slide into ‘Comfort’ and the suspension lightens and becomes a lot more comfortable on uneven roads. And that’s despite riding on huge, low-profile tyres. The exhausts also settle down, thanks to the ‘Dynamic Sound Actuator’. It emits an artificial sound from the exhausts to make the diesel twin turbo sound more like a petrol, and varies the volume depending on driving mode.
Enter Sport mode and there is no disguising the diesel’s grunt from inside, but from the outside it really isn’t as noticeable. Another handy feature is the Virtual Cockpit, which replaces the dials behind the steering wheel with a customisable display. The rev counter and speedo sit either side of the display, with a small satnav window in between.
If you’re erring on the taller side, the rear two seats may not be the most comfortable, but kids will have no bother scaling the middle row. The additional seats can also drop to produce a huge boot space. That boot, by the way, can be opened using a button on the keys or a latch by the driver’s seat.
While costing £42,000 might seem rather expensive, the Kodiaq vRS has no direct rival. The model which is probably the closest is the Cupra Ateca – the fast SUV from Seat’s new performance brand – and that car is quicker and cheaper. However, even then it won’t beat the Kodiaq on fuel economy or number of seats.
With only 300 models entering the UK market, you’ll be sure to stand out with this model. It’s a well-kitted and pacey SUV, which also doubles as a more-than-capable family wagon.