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REVIEW – Skoda Kodiaq vRS

Associate Editor, Social Content Manager


Skoda Kodiaq vRS 2.0 TDI 240PS 4X4 DSG
  • Exterior Styling
  • Interior Finish
  • Engine / Performance
  • Ride / Handling
  • Economy
  • Practicality
  • Equipment
  • Value For Money
4

Summary

The Kodiaq vRS is a big car, with a big presence. Bright, sporty colours stand out in a crowd, and enormous 20-inch alloys eaily catch your eye. A 2.0-litre diesel might not sound very ‘vRS’ but this is a twin-turbo with 240PS and 500Nm. It’s enough to make the Kodiaq vRS feel brisk, but you wouldn’t call it fast. Then we come to the price: £43,390 is a lot of money, and will undoubtedly put some people off. It’s a great family car though.


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Exterior Styling

For a car that’s the size of a bus, the Kodiaq vRS’s striking looks are a pleasant surprise. It has a distinct presence, especially in metallic Racing Blue, that’ll no doubt gain approval from today’s youth.

The front grille is gloss black, whilst the lower grilles have a sporty honeycomb design. Sleek headlights incorporate LED daytime running lights, with more angular cornering lights just below. The front is very similar to the SportLine model, but a vRS badge and a slightly different bumper design set this car apart.

The Kodiaq vRS sits on 20-inch Xtreme alloy wheels, finished in dark grey with silver accents. Behind you’ll find contrasting red brake callipers which help signify the sportiness of this SUV.

Round the entire body work you’ll find gloss black finishes to the window surrounds and roof rails, along with black plastic edging to the arches and side skirts, all of which offers contrast to the blue paintwork.

At the rear, the Kodiaq vRS is more sleek than aggressive. The tail lights may be angular, but the body lines are softer. The vRS badge takes pride of place. The colour-coded rear spoiler is well-proportioned, and rounds off the exterior nicely.

To the bottom there’s 2 rather large exhausts on show, finished in a silver trim. It would have been nice to see these also finished in black to match the rest of the exterior; however they still stand out! Do not be fooled by this twin-pipe appearance though, as only 1 of the exhaust’s serves a purpose… I’ll expand on this later.

Interior Finish

Happily the vRS treatment doesn’t stop on the outside. The interior of the Kodiaq vRS has been spruced up to maintain the sporty feel of the exterior.

The front seats are absolutely massive, I guarantee it’ll be the first thing to grab your attention on opening the door. They are finished in quilted alcantara with leather edging and contrasting red stitching. Shoulder and side bolster support is great for blasting round corners like a lunatic, whilst still being comfortable on longer journeys.

The Kodiaq’s switchgear is logically laid out and easy to use. Buttons are big and clearly labelled, meaning you can hit them easily on the move. It’s what we’ve come to expect from a VW / Audi Group car.

Throughout the interior you’ll find a range of different materials, the most stand-out of which is a carbon-effect plastic. This is better than the one you get in an Octavia vRS and would convince most people, so that’s got to be a win.

There’s a flat-bottomed steering wheel with perforated leather and contrasting red stitching. The Kodiaq vRS also gets a virtual cockpit as standard. The cockpit allows 5 different displays, with a decent amount of customisation available.

Around the cabin there’s LED ambient lighting on the door trims, which helps brighten up the rather dark interior. You can customise the colour via 10 choices, unless you’ve got a picky daughter…. then there’s only 1, Pink!

The Kodiaq vRS features a keyless entry and start system. It’s practical when your hands are full, but the location of the start button is yet again in the wrong place…on the steering column. Why take the fun out of a starter button?!

Engine/Performance

When we tested the Kodiaq SportLine, the engine was a 1.4 litre turbocharged petrol engine that felt underpowered and deserved more oomph. So naturally we’d expect a significant step up for the Kodiaq vRS to be worthy of its badge.

To achieve this, Skoda has opted for a 2.0 twin turbocharged diesel engine that produces 240PS and 500Nm of torque. The power output is a little disappointing, given that there’s a brilliant 2.0 TSI with 300PS in the VW/Audi parts bin. We can only assume that this would have been unfeasible in the Kodiaq from an economy perspective…

So, what about performance figures? We’ll the Kodiaq vRS achieves a 0-62mph time of 7.0 seconds, with a top speed of 136mph. On paper, that doesn’t seem particularly fast, and is a little underwhelming for a car donning a vRS badge.

And in reality, it doesn’t feel that quick either. We’d describe this car as brisk, rather than outright fast. The mountain of torque gives good in-gear acceleration, with plenty for overtaking on a motorway. But you never feel thrown back in your seat like a hot hatch.

That’s probably not all that surprising when you consider the sheer size of the Skoda Kodiaq. Large, 7-seat SUVs don’t lend themselves to being sprightly.

Diesel engines are also not well-known for producing sporty tuneful symphonies from the exhausts. Rather than just leaving the exhaust noise alone, Skoda have included what they call ‘Dynamic Sound Boost’. This is an artificial soundtrack, but achieved through the exhaust system rather than through the interior speakers.

I can only describe the exhaust note as an old school V8 which from the back actually sounds pretty convincing. However you can still hear the diesel rattle from the front, so the overall package is a rather confusing experience.

Ride/Handling

Handling is where the Skoda Kodiaq SportLine suffered, lacking an engaging drive and suffering from rather bad body roll. We hoped that the vRS treatment would rectify these flaws and give the Kodiaq some capable handling ability.

Skoda has equipped the vRS with Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) as standard, which is an adaptive damping system. Principally this helps to set a comfort setting when driving normally but a firmer ride for when the roads get twisty.

Overall, the adaptive dampers work, and Kodiaq vRS’s bulk is kept in check a lot better than it was on the SportLine.

However there’s still a lingering amount of body roll in the corners. That’s pretty much due to the sheer size and height of the car, which you’re never going to avoid completely.

But it means that you just don’t get enjoyment from really throwing the Kodiaq vRS into a series of corners. If you did, your passengers may well be a little bit sick. And that’s no fun at all.

On a more positive note, grip is rather good due to the 4×4 system. So while the 0-62mph time wasn’t the quickest in the dry, you’ll have the last laugh when you blast past all the rear-wheel drive BMWs on a snow-filled winter morning.

Drift away from the B-Roads towards straighter A-roads and motorways, and it’s pleasantly surprising how comfortable the ride is.

It’s quiet too, so long as you avoid that artificial V8 rumble, which can be a bit of a drone on the motorway. Thankfully this is easily done through selectable drive modes. For taking a large family on a road trip, you’ll struggle to find anything better than the Kodiaq vRS.

Economy

As mentioned earlier, the reason for the Kodiaq vRS sporting a diesel engine is down to economy. Throwing a 300PS petrol engine would have undoubtedly made this car more appealing on the performance front. But it would have also likely resulted in a fuel consumption in the mid-20s and that’s far from ideal in the real world.

In order to make the Kodiaq vRS more economical, it features start/stop technology, and the drive mode selection includes an ‘Eco’ preset, which looks for higher gears and reduces throttle responsiveness.

The results can be seen in the figures. This large, 7-seat SUV with 4-wheel drive returns 35.3mpg on the WLTP combined cycle. As we are finding quite often these days, this figure is easily achievable in the real world. In fact, on a long and gentle motorway drive you can get closer to 40mpg.

CO2 emissions are 167g/km, which means first-year VED of £855. Because the Kodiaq vRS costs in excess of £40,000 – more on that a bit later – it falls foul of the VED surcharge. Road tax in years two through six will incur an extra £320 over the standard £145, making £465 a year.

Practicality

Let’s be honest, you’ll struggle to top the all-round practicality of the Skoda Kodiaq. I’m pleased to say that the Kodiaq vRS loses none of the standard car’s adaptability to family life.

Firstly, it has seven seats, making it unique for the rather large family. The middle row is definitely spacious both in leg and head room. Those on the middle row can also slide and recline seats for added comfort… what is this, business class?

The third row has 2 pop up seats that are essentially in the boot. Ideally these are best suited for the smaller children due to limited leg room. However, at a push you could get an adult back there, it’ll just be uncomfortable on a longer journey.

With the third-row seats folded away, the boot space is an enormous 720 litres. Perfect for doing the annual clear out tip run. Even with the 2 rear seats in situ, there is 270 litres which would be plenty for the usual weekly shop.

Visibility in the Kodiaq vRS is actually surprising, thanks to the elevated driving position and limited blind spots. The driving assists help manoeuvre the Kodiaq like a city car. The only drawback is its sheer size, you’ll soon realise parking spots are less generous then they once were.

The Kodiaq vRS is an easy car to live with, and caters for all the family needs. Therefore, it’s an easy sell to the Mrs!

Equipment

As a flagship model, the Kodiaq vRS receives a generous standard specification. There’s a 9.2 inch Columbus touchscreen display with DAB radio, Smartlink+ for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, intergrated WIFI, USB, 2 x SD card readers and Bluetooth.

You also get a virtual cockpit as standard. It’s very easy to navigate and can essentially access almost all of the car’s features without taking your eyes of the road.

Those large bucket seats are heated for those cold mornings and our test car also had the optional heated steering wheel for an additional £95. The driver’s seat is also electrically adjustable.

For added comfort, you get heated door mirrors, light and rain sensors, dual-zone climate control, privacy glass to the rear and ample interior storage. There’s even an umbrella in each of the front door panels, meaning the Mrs won’t have to get her hair wet when it’s raining on date night.

In terms of safety, the Skoda Kodiaq vRS provides some of the more recent additions which are becoming more common. Most significantly is the front assist with autonomous emergency braking.

A keyless entry and start system (KESSY) mean you’ll not only get in and out of the car easily, but can also play guess where the start button is every morning. Opening and closing the boot is a doddle thanks to the electrically-operated tailgate.

I guess you can, by now, see the general picture. As a family car, the Skoda Kodiaq vRS has you well covered. The standard car comes packed with technology and equipment to make ownership easy and enjoyable.

Value For Money

We’ll in terms of value for money, the Skodiaq has already been well covered in our SportLine review – take a look here. Therefore, is the range topping vRS good value for money?

The Kodiaq vRS starts at £43,390. Extras fitted to our test car were as follows. Adaptive cruise control for £310, Children’s Pack for £180 which includes sun blinds and power child locks, an electric folding tow bar for £875, heated steering wheel for £95 and a heated window screen and washer nozzles for £340. That brings the price of our test car to £45,190.

There are some reasonably-priced optional extras which are worth a look into. Heated outer middle row seats are £205. A virtual pedal for the electric tailgate is £195. A rear-view camera is £385.

If you’re looking at splashing the cash more expensive options include the panoramic sunroof at a whopping £1,175. An area view camera with lane assist and blind spot detection is £2,160, but bear in mind that lane assist comes as standard on other Skoda vehicles.

Everything considered, the Kodiaq vRS comes at a significant cost. And considering it’s not especially fast anyway, why not stick to the Kodiaq SportLine?
On the whole, the SportLine is great value, given the price falls below £40k and that’s with options included. You still get 4WD, 7 seats, those massive bucket seats and a similar exterior styling.

If only Skoda made the Kodiaq a true vRS with a larger petrol or diesel engine. A car that would rival the Cupra Ateca in a straight line, but rivals the Titanic for size. That would have been special and worthy of the vRS logo.

Facts and Figures

Engine 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder twin turbocharged diesel
Max power 240PS at 4,000rpm
Max torque 500Nm at 1,500-4,500rpm
Drivetrain 7-speed DSG transmission, four-wheel drive
0-62mph 7.0 seconds
Top speed 136mph
Fuel tank size 60 litres
Fuel consumption 35.3 mpg combined, WLTP
CO2 emissions 167 g/km NEDC equivalent
Kerb weight 1,583kg
Towing capacity 1,900kg braked / 750kg unbraked
Luggage capacity 270 litres (7-seat mode) / 720 litres (5-seat mode)
NCAP rating 5 stars
Base price £43,390
Price as tested £45,190
Company website
www.skoda.co.uk/models/kodiaq
Skoda Kodiaq vRS 2.0 TDI 240PS 4X4 DSG
  • Exterior Styling
  • Interior Finish
  • Engine / Performance
  • Ride / Handling
  • Economy
  • Practicality
  • Equipment
  • Value For Money
4

Summary

The Kodiaq vRS is a big car, with a big presence. Bright, sporty colours stand out in a crowd, and enormous 20-inch alloys eaily catch your eye. A 2.0-litre diesel might not sound very ‘vRS’ but this is a twin-turbo with 240PS and 500Nm. It’s enough to make the Kodiaq vRS feel brisk, but you wouldn’t call it fast. Then we come to the price: £43,390 is a lot of money, and will undoubtedly put some people off. It’s a great family car though.

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