Skoda Kodiaq vRS 2019 review

This is Skoda’s first deployment of its performance vRS package on an SUV. Perhaps surprisingly given the awkward noise around diesel part-created by its owner, Skoda has chosen an oil-burner as the motive force for the vRS.

For sheer effectiveness, the choice of a twin-turbo, balancer-shaft 2.0 TDI engine is easy to understand. Its 237bhp is promisingly strong, and its 369lb ft peak torque stronger still. The TDI is coupled to a seven-speed DSG transmission that serves a fine spread of ratios to all four wheels, the rear axle engaged on demand by an electronic clutch; up to 85percent of the torque can be directed to an individual wheel.

Electronic differentials are provided for both axles, and in an effort to counter the rather unedifying sounds of a diesel, this Kodiaq has what Skoda calls Dynamic Sound Boost, which alters and adds to the exhaust note using signals from the engine management, these adjusted to suit the chosen driving mode.

There’s no missing the Kodiaq’s key vRS identifiers, outside or in. Large, big-holed, deep-sculpted two-tone 20in alloys fill this Skoda’s wheel arches to striking effect, these by far the easiest means of recognising the model. Skoda’s design department clearly decided that wheels would be the key method of telegraphing this Kodiaq’s sporting mission, chief designer Oliver Stefani reckoning that, "the Škoda Kodiaq is an SUV with a very well-balanced and expressive design. The silhouette is very dynamic, so it was not that easy to add even more sportiness when designing the Kodiaq vRS."

Nevertheless, there are alterations, including resculpted bumpers, the vRS trademark full-width reflector and more assertive exhaust pipes. LED lamps are standard, and the red-painted calipers of the upgraded brakes you’ll easily see through the gaping alloys.

Red detail highlights are a general theme, but inside you’re far more likely to notice an inviting pair of sports seats and their Alcantara upholstery. Despite the sports theme you can order the vRS with seven seats. The VW Group’s excellent infotainment system is the centrepiece of a neatly unostentatious dash featuring a configurable instrument and message centre complete with additional sat nav display. In the centre console are off-road and snow buttons for the transmission, these complementing the seven driving modes of Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport, Individual and Snow.

The fastest Kodiaq yet delivers plenty of smooth power, but its weight somewhat dulls the effect. Confident handling, classy interior but choppy ride undermines it

Skoda Kodiaq vRS specification

Where Jerez, Spain Price £42,870 On sale Early 2019 Engine 4 cyls, 1968cc, twin turbo, diesel Power 237bhp at 4000rpm Torque 369lb ft at 1750-2500rpm Gearbox 7-spd DSG automatic Kerb weight 1880kg Top speed 137mph 0-62mph 6.9sec Fuel economy 44.1mpg CO2 167g/km Rivals Land Rover Discovery Sport, Volvo XC40, VW Tiguan

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