Launched two years back, the Kodiaq is the Czech-based automaker’s full-size SUV that offers a perfect blend between practicality, performance and undeniably clever features. In our time with the Kodiaq, we were thoroughly impressed with the driving dynamics and the capabilities of the SUV. However, the 2.0-litre diesel, although it offers more than adequate performance, could have been a bit more energetic. But things do no end there, Skoda has come up with the Kodiaq RS and we got our hands on one at the company’s headquarters in Mlada Boleslav.
First things first, Nine minutes, Twenty-nine seconds and eight-tenths is all it took for the Kodiaq RS to complete the 20.8km Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit making it the fastest 7-seater production SUV around the circuit. That being said, the RS badging on the Kodiaq is not just for the sporty looks, this is the real deal! But how is it different from the standard Kodiaq? Our extensive Skoda Kodiaq RS review further reveals that.
Sporty yet familiar
In our time shooting the Kodiaq RS review, we learned that there are not a lot of differences that separate the Kodiaq from the RS. Skoda has managed to extract a sense of sportiness from the Kodiaq by adding some new elements like 20-inch alloy wheels, red-painted brake callipers, gloss black bits, sportier bumpers and not to forget the RS badging on the front grille and the tail gate.
Practical and flamboyant!
On the inside, the interior remains unchanged. In fact, to up the sportiness, this one gets an all-black interior. The layout of the dashboard remains the same, which means you still get vertically stacked air-con vents, a massive touchscreen taking the centre stage and a flat-bottom steering wheel that wears perforated leather with red stitching. The face of the dashboard gets carbon fibre treatment, and we love how Skoda has kept the Virtual Cockpit instrumentation, it’s crisp, informative and nice to play along.
Another thing we loved while filming the Skoda Kodiaq RS review, the sports seat at the front wear Alcantara fabric along with a vRS logo on the backrest. In my opinion, the seats look amazing and are equally comfortable and supportive. All the changes to the RS don’t affect the practicality of the cabin. In fact, it still remains as practical and spacious as the standard Kodiaq.
Under the bonnet, the Kodiaq RS is still powered by the same 2.0-litre diesel unit that we drove in the standard Kodiaq. But this time around, Skoda has fitted the engine with twin-turbochargers to extract a mindboggling 236 horses and 500Nm of torque. This certainly increases the performance of the Kodiaq by leaps and bounds, however, it still isn’t as thrilling as a V6 powered SUV.
Initial throttle responses are met with a fair bit of enthusiasm, however, the turbo starts to sing its song only after 1,750rpm. The car pulls ahead nicely but it isn’t as enthusiastic as say, the Octavia vRS. The acceleration won’t push you back either, instead, it’s the ease with which the car pulls linearly – courtesy of the lightning-quick DSG transmission and the refinement of this motor. There are six different driving modes to choose from – Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport, Individual and Snow. In Eco and Comfort driving modes, the engine remains quiet and the car gains momentum nicely and linearly. It’s only when you shift to Sport or Individual mode when you’ll hear the roar of a V8. Skoda has fitted a Dynamic Boost system that amplifies the sound of the exhaust using the car’s speaker system. It is artificial, however, the grunt is on par with the V8 engines.
One area where the car excelled during our Kodiaq RS review had to be the handling. All the electronic aids like Dynamic Chassis Control and the progressive steering adjust to offer supreme confidence and feedback around twists. As a matter of fact, body roll is well-contained and the car remains pliant even at three-digit speeds. The steering weighs up nicely while the stiff suspension can be felt while tackling undulations.
Worth the drama?
The Skoda Kodiaq is the company’s first SUV to wear the RS insignia. That being said, Skoda has managed to build a car that is equally as practical as the Kodiaq with an added fun to drive factor. The Kodiaq RS is unlike any 7-seater SUV in its production-guise, and with an added vRS badge, it just takes the game a step further. However, the Kodiaq RS is still an SUV and it doesn’t feel connected to the driver as much as the Octavia RS as in this case, the car does most of the hard work for you. Now, the Kodiaq RS demands a premium of over Rs. 5 lakh over the Laurin & Klement variant. But in this case, the RS, if it ends up launching in India, will be a complete import and would end up costing as much as a BMW X5. For that matter, an India launch of the Kodiaq RS remains uncertain. But we can always hope, or can we not? For the complete and comprehensive Skoda Kodiaq RS review, be sure to tune in to autoX.