SUV HEAVEN: SKODA’S KODIAQ VRS FLAGSHIP OOZES POWER AND CHARM
The new Skoda Kodiaq aims to offer both performance and practicality. Jack Evans finds out if it measures up.
WHAT IS IT? Think of Skoda and what springs to mind? Practical estates perhaps, or maybe even a series of rugged SUVS. Well, the Czech company also has a bit of form with making incredibly low-key yet punchy performance versions of its production cars and this – the Kodiaq VRS – is a sporty take on the brand’s popular seven-seater.
Despite being revealed some time ago, this is the first chance that we’ve had to get behind the wheel and we headed to Spain to see if this sportier Kodiaq can actually deliver.
It’ll also return a claimed 35.3mpg combined (generated under new WLTP testing cycles), while emitting 167g/km CO2.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? Previous VRS models had a deceptive way of delivering their power, and the Kodiaq is no different. Accelerating hard from a standstill doesn’t feel all that quick initially, until you look down at the speedometer and realise you’re travelling a fair bit faster than you expected. This is continued by the impressive mid-gear punch – the Kodiaq pulls really strongly and there’s more than enough go for overtaking safely and securely.
The ride is firm at low speeds – although that’s to be expected as Skoda has specifically adapted the car’s chassis control system for the VRS – but the by-product is excellent body control in the bends. Add to that the added traction afforded to it by the all-wheel-drive system, and the Kodiaq VRS feels like a much smaller car to drive quickly than it actually is, and that’s no bad thing at all.
VERDICT The Kodiaq VRS has been a bit of a push for Skoda. The regular Kodiaq is doing well, so why offer a performance version? In truth, it makes sense. This VRS takes all the best bits of the Kodiaq – practicality, build quality, spaciousness – and adds the ability to enjoy a quiet, twisty road should the chance arise.
The price is a little on the beefy side, but this is a car that’s there for people who want to be able to get five kids, their gear and the dog all in the car but still want to have a little time for themselves behind the wheel.
The Kodiaq VRS is on sale now at Skoda dealers, with first deliveries in the spring.