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Skoda Kodiaq vRS test drive

Skoda’s first attempt at a performance SUV isn’t all that sporty, but that’s not bad

This is Skoda looking at vehicles such as the Range Rover Sport, Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5 and saying ‘nope, our way is better’.

Skoda is already very good at making SUVs – its Kodiaq and Karoq are serious class contenders – while its vRS performance division has a small but very loyal following. The obvious solution, then, is to combine the two and let vRS loose on the largest car on Skoda’s range – the Kodiaq SUV.

What’s new about the Skoda Kodiaq vRS?

It will likely take you two glances to notice that there’s anything different about the Kodiaq vRS, but that’s the way Skoda likes it – understated. Look closer, though, and there’s a sporty body kit, big 20-inch alloy wheels and glossy black trim.

The powertrain is new too – it’s a 2.0-litre twin-turbocharged diesel, and it’s paired to a newly dynamic suspension, gearbox and chassis set-up. All the tweaks, then, have been made in a bid to get this big bruiser to handle like a hot hatchback.

 

How does it look?

The Kodiaq’s always been a smart-looking thing, and the vRS is no different. The brand’s trademark sharp-edged styling and moustache-style family grille are present and correct, and the car’s neat rear end doesn’t have the bulky look of some seven-seat SUVs.

Some may be disappointed to see that the vRS treatment hasn’t added a lot of bold styling details to the Kodiaq, though. Despite the smart 20-inch ‘Xtreme’ alloy wheels and red brake calipers, this is still a car that flies under the radar thanks to its largely standard bodywork.

Our test model did come in the standard ‘Race Blue’ paintwork, though, which we love – though many of the other shades lean towards the monochrome, making the Kodiaq vRS even more discreet.

What’s the spec like?

Sitting at the top of the Kodiaq range – the vRS costs more than £42,000 – you’d expect the vRS to be near enough fully loaded. And to an extent, it is – dual-zone climate control, Skoda’s top-end infotainment system with satnav and smartphone connectivity, cruise control, and a ‘virtual cockpit’ digital dashboard all come as standard.

You’re paying quite a lot for the vRS tweaks – and there are many who won’t want to justify this price tag on what’s still, in essence, a budget brand.

On the safety front, however, it’s generally good news. The Kodiaq range was awarded a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. Mind you, finding blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and a reversing camera relegated to the options list does sting a little. You’ll find them all as standard on the Kia Sorento.

Continued on next page: Interior, driving experience and our verdict

Tom Wiltshire
Articles by Tom Wiltshire are provided for The Car Expert by PA Media (formerly the Press Association). They include test drives of the latest new cars and features on various aspects of automotive life.
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