Skoda Kodiaq RS: the fastest seven-seat SUV (sort of)

Skoda say the Kodiaq RS is the fastest 7-seat SUV around the Nurburgring. What they don't say is that it is the only one taken around. It's still a damn fine thing though.

SKODA KODIAQ RS
Price range:
 $71,990
Powertrains: 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four with 176kW/500Nm, seven-speed dual DSG transmission, AWD.
Body style: 5-door SUV
On sale: Now

The Skoda Kodiaq RS is the first SUV to wear the Czech company's hallowed performance badge. And Skoda is very keen to prove it is worthy of it by shouting the fact that the RS is currently the fastest seven-seat SUV around the hallowed Nurburgring race track. Which is impressive until you realise it is actually the only seven-seat SUV to be timed around the legendary circuit...

Make me an instant expert: what do I need to know?

Hot SUVs are a thing now and we all just have to get used to it. So it should come as no surprise that Skoda has jumped into the game by producing a hot version of one of the best SUVs on the market - the Kodiaq.

As mentioned above, that makes the Kodiaq the first SUV to wear the RS badge (y'know, the one that used to be vRS until they decided the 'v' was just a colourful logo and shouldn't be spoken), so it needs to live up to some pretty hefty performance history - because the Octavia RS is one of the best value performance sedan/wagons out there, while the dearly-missed Fabia RS was just all kinds of fun.

The RS only comes in one single form - a diesel/DSG propelled model with a 176kW/500Nm turbo-diesel driving all four wheels through a seven-speed dual clutch transmission.

"A diesel RS?!" you may cry, "That can't be right?". But that would be forgetting that the Octavia RS is also available as a stonkingly good diesel. And the oiler jammed into the Kodiaq RS is rather good indeed.

With 176kW of power and 500Nm on tap, the twin-turbo engine is exclusive to the Kodiaq RS (for now, at least) and pushes the SUV along at a rate that, while not ballistic, is impressively effortless.

As you would expect from a range-topper with a $71,990 asking price, the RS is extremely well equipped, coming standard with stuff like Skoda's Dynamic Chassis Control, leather and alcantara sports seats and a sports steering wheel, LED interior ambient lighting, the fantastic "virtual cockpit" display that replaces the traditional dash dials and has trickled down from Audi, adaptive cruise control, lane assist and blind spot monitoring and plenty of other things, as well as RS-exclusive front and rear bumpers and 20-inch alloy wheels.

The RS is also a full seven-seater, with even the third row getting the sexy diamond-stitched leather and alcantara trim.

Where did you drive it?

At a traditional favourite Auckland launch location - the costal and inland areas around Clevedon and Kumeu.

The familiar twisty roads are a great spot to test out a cars ride and handling, and the RS excelled at both, which is no real surprise - after all, it is still a Kodiaq, even the most modest of which have been great things to steer.

What it is not, however, is much like an Octavia RS. Or an RS Skoda in general, really.

It is superbly confident and capable, while the engine is effortlessly powerful, but it never really packs the feral punch that you might reasonably expect from something with the RS badge on it.

While the engine is strong, the Kodiaq's 0 to 100km/h time of seven seconds never threatens to overly excite, even with the unnecessary (but still massively fun) launch control function making things more dramatic.

It handles brilliantly for an SUV, but it is still an SUV, so never quite approaches the addictive razor sharpness of an RS-badged Octavia.

What stands out the most?

While the Kodiaq edition of the RS falls short of being a "proper" RS, it is still a damn fine thing and, more importantly, it'ss price tag puts it just $4,000 above the diesel Kodiaq Sportline. And considering what you get over and above the Sportline for that $4k, you would have to be mad not to make the jump.

The bi-turbo engine is effortlessly powerful and smooth, while the fantastic seats, virtual cockpit display, brilliantly showy big wheels and all the standard kit make the $4k difference an absolute bargain.

And, while on paper the exterior changes sound subtle, the effect is superb, with the Kodiaq RS having a muscular, threatening stance that looks fantastic, particularly in the RS-exclusive blue.

While it is a $70,000+ SUV, it represents some impressive value for money, with other similarly equipped Euro fare effortlessly leaping into six-figure territory, while Japanese and Korean offerings in the same price range are well down on power.

Why would I buy it?

Because you want a hot(ish) Euro SUV without dropping the big money asked by Audi, BMW, Jaguar and the like, or because you get the whole Skoda thing, need an SUV and still want to have some fun occasionally.

Why wouldn't I buy it?

Because you are happy to forego seven seats and go for the smaller Cupra Ateca, or are even holding out for the inevitable hot Cupra version of the new Seat Tarraco (but you will be waiting a while).

Or because you know there is an Octavia RS wagon that is pretty much perfect.

 

Come check it out at Giltrap Skoda today: Kodiaq RS