First drive Skoda Ko­diaq vRS

The Herald Magazine - - etc DRIVE - JACK EVANS

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. Although the ex­te­rior of the Ko­diaq vRS may ap­pear rel­a­tively close to the stan­dard car, Skoda has added a lit­tle sparkle to many of the ve­hi­cle’s com­po­nents to lift the whole driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Yes, a new en­gine has been added but it has also re­tained the ex­cel­lent prac­ti­cal­ity for which the stan­dard car is famed.

It’s a con­trast, there­fore, that this is a car which can seat seven in com­fort yet is also the holder of the fastest time for a seven- seater SUV around the Nur­bur­gring.

It may come as a sur­prise to some that it’s a diesel rather than a petrol mo­tor, given the trends of late, but it makes sense in a car like this – a rel­a­tively large and heavy fam­ily seven-seater needs plenty of push­ing power while re­tain­ing de­cent econ­omy fig­ures, and diesels are still spot-on for this.

It’s a 2.0-litre bi-turbo unit, push­ing out 237bhp and a good slug of torque; 500Nm, in fact. Drive is sent to all four wheels via a ELEC­TRIC cars are within a whisker of meet­ing the range de­mands of more than one in three mo­torists, new fig­ures re­veal. Re­search by

Driv­ingElec­, an in­de­pen­dent con­sumer ad­vice web­site for elec­tric ve­hi­cles, shows 37% of mo­torists cite up to 300 miles as the range that will en­tice them to buy a pure EV. That means cars like the Hyundai Kona Elec­tric – which can cover 292 miles – fall just eight miles short of the most com­mon fig­ure for con­sumers’ range am­bi­tions.

Ever since the first elec­tric cars ap­peared in the UK mar­ket, mo­torists have cited range anx­i­ety as the main rea­son for hold­ing off seven-speed DSG gear­box, and Skoda claims that the Ko­diaq will hit 60mph from a dead stop in 6.8 sec­onds be­fore reach­ing a top speed of 136mph.

It’ll also re­turn a claimed 35.3mpg com­bined (gen­er­ated un­der new WLTP test­ing cy­cles), while emit­ting 167g/km CO2.

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

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