Skoda Kodiaq VRS

Our Skoda SUV thinks it’s an Audi Quattro. But not in a good way

- Adam Towler (@Adamtowler)

MODERN CARS HAVE THEIR OWN starting rituals too, you know. Where once it might have been knowing how to turn a crank handle just-so, or how many stabs of a throttle pedal were needed to prime a brace of carbs, or in later years that you needed to press and hold to switch off a primitive and nannying ESP system, these days it can involve numerous actions via physical buttons and infuriatin­gly overcompli­cated touchscree­ns to set up a car to the preference­s of the driver. In this regard, the Kodiaq VRS is no different, but far from the worst offender. However, there is one aspect of the procedure with the Skoda that’s a little unusual and, for me, more than a little annoying.

It’s about fake noise. I know: a classic evo hand grenade to lob into any debate about modern performanc­e cars. I think it’s fair to say that the topic of artificial­ly generated engine sound, or augmented sound, is a pet hate for many of us. It’s just not very good a lot of the time, is it? Or it wasn’t, at any rate – the technology is undoubtedl­y improving all the time as boffins learn how to manipulate sound.

However, for its VRS models, such as the Octavia and Kodiaq, Skoda has decided that what you would like is for them to sound as if they’ve got a rather one-dimensiona­l in-line five-cylinder under the bonnet. Given these cars are actually powered by the trusty EA888 fourcylind­er turbo engine, this is as surprising as it is inaccurate, but someone, somewhere at Skoda has obviously thought: ‘That’s a sporty, powerful sound. Those people who like cars will like that.’

No, people who like cars won’t like that, Mr or Mrs Marketing Person, because the small detail you’re forgetting is that you’ve added an imaginary cylinder onto the engine and it therefore is entirely inauthenti­c.

I know the counterarg­ument. People don’t care. You’re a nerd. Five whats? But the worst bit of it is that probably the same person has also decided that the surprising­ly loud, almost speaker-distorting Ur-quattro rumble should be the default sound, every single time. In Normal mode. When you just want to drive, er, normally.

And that’s why, every single time I fire up our Kodiaq VRS, I switch to Individual mode with a press of the button down near the gear selector, because that’s the only way you can switch the hateful noise off…

Date acquired March 2022 Total mileage 3233 Mileage this month 511 Costs this month £0 mpg this month 29.1

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