What are you driving?
The Czech car maker's performance division has turned its attention to its range-topping SUV to create the Skoda Kodiaq RS. As if producing a performance SUV wasn't enough to upset the driving purists, Skoda then went and fitted it with a diesel engine, which goes somewhat against the current market trend back to petrol engines.
Like the regular Skoda Kodiaq, buyers can choose between five- and seven-seat options, the latter adding €1,000 to the already steep €62,295 asking price. It's worth going for to make it easier to sell later on. For the record, there's 270 litres of boot space with all seven seats in use, or 630 litres with the third row folded down.
But it's the extra performance that'll be of most interest to prospective buyers of the Kodiaq RS. The twin-turbocharged 2.0-litre TDI unit is the most powerful diesel engine Skoda has put into one of its cars and produces 240hp and 500Nm. That's good enough for a brisk acceleration to 100km/h from rest in seven seconds dead; it goes a tenth of a second faster in the case of the five-seat version. Probably just as relevant for some buyers is the official 6.4 litres/100km that it uses on a combined cycle. We didn't quite manage that, during our time with it; figures beginning with a nine were more common.
Name its best bits
The Skoda Kodiaq is an excellent car to start with and is one of the few SUVs in the class with a third row of seats that is reasonably usable. Even when all the seats are in use, there is still a good amount of boot space left over. There are plenty of storage areas dotted around the cabin, too, while the quality of the finish inside is reasonably good. Up front, there are sports seats that look the part and are comfortable, too.
That TDI engine is the single biggest draw of the Kodiaq RS, though the styling tweaks that it receives do add more appeal to what was already an attractive SUV. Adding a second turbocharger to the 2.0-litre engine has given it a broader range of performance resulting in that 'always on' sensation from the throttle.
Skoda also felt the need to add a 'sound symposer', but strangely when you first start the car, you hear the un-augmented diesel engine tone until you then engage drive. Odd, but once you're driving it sounds fine and the engine settles into a deep purposeful tone when cruising along. Purists may hate it, but with only diesel on offer, it's the lesser of two evils.
Anything that bugs you?
Skoda's lack of a petrol engine in conjunction with the RS badge is disappointing, especially given that it does have a 272hp 2.0-litre TSI engine lurking in its range. The torque is nice, and there isn't any lack of power, but a higher-revving petrol engine with the potential for more horsepower is an appealing prospect.
However, the real elephant in the room is undoubtedly the cost. With a starting price of €62,295, it's not cheap, even if you look down the PCP finance route. By way of comparison, you can spec up an equally attractive looking Skoda Kodiaq Sportline, with 19-inch wheels, a nice body kit, a 190hp 2.0-litre diesel engine, DSG automatic transmission with all-wheel drive, a similar interior, and still have €21,870 left over. That is a considerable chunk of change no matter what way you cut it.
Alternatively, you can order a Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace R-Line, which also offers seven seats, with the same 240hp diesel engine and all-wheel drive transmission for €57,625. Put another way, the Kodiaq RS is almost double the price of the entry-level seven-seat Kodiaq.
And why have you given it this rating?
The Kodiaq RS sadly feels more like Skoda cashing in on the RS brand cachet it has built up from creating exciting cars in the past. In this instance, it doesn't feel all that special, and certainly not special enough to command such a high price.
What do the rest of the team think?
While I agree with Dave that the Kodiaq RS is a very expensive car, I also think it feels considerably more interesting even than a Kodiaq Sportline. There's depth to the engineering of the chassis that you feel when it's pushed over an interesting road that just isn't there in the lesser models. Also, its interior is fab. Naturally, only an enthusiastic few will reckon all that is worth the extra outlay, but I believe those that do won't feel short-changed.
Shane O'Donoghue - Editor