Skoda Kodiaq VRS

   I can remember my uncle Jim telling me about how, whilst on holiday, he once went into a Skoda dealer near Bodfari, in North Wales, and tried to crack a joke about a Skoda’s lack of performance. The dealer, no doubt used to a host of such “witty” quips, promptly, and politely reminded him that the Skoda Estelle (the model on sale at the time), thanks to its combination of light weight, superior traction as a result of it being rear-engined, and it’s legendary reliability, had won the under-1300cc trophy the in Great Britain’s RAC rally seventeen years on the trot. Skoda were, they still are in fact, one of the most successful marques in rallying history.

   Funnily enough, not long after, I remember Uncle Jim turning-up at our house in a Skoda Favorit, Sadly Jim’s no longer with us, the Estelle and the Favorit too. Skoda “jokes”, thankfully, are also a thing of the past.

    You can still buy a sporty Skoda though. Only these days they have their engine in the front, and come with VRS badges. And, as this is 2019, some are, of course, SUV shaped.

    This is the Skoda Kodiaq VRS. It’s a seven-seat, near 240bhp, SUV that promises to bring a bit of much needed verve to the task of transporting all the family, and maybe a friend or two as well, all in one go. It has four-wheel drive, benefits from parent company Volkswagen’s 7 speed DSG gearbox robust switchgear and faultless ergonomics, and should you fold the rearmost seats flat, offers the kind of boot-space you could comfortably sleep in. As you’d expect from a modern Skoda, it is indeed hugely practical.

    It’s also pretty stylish. VRS spec adds deeper bumpers, 20 inch alloy wheels, twin exhausts, a rear diffuser, privacy glass, LED headlamps and plenty of gloss black trim. Inside you’ll find some very comfy alcantara covered sports seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel wrapped in dimpled leather, Skoda’s Columbus 9.2-inch touchscreen sat-nav and infotainment system together with its Virtual Cockpit digital instrument panel, aluminium pedals, and lots of obligatory red stitching and carbon fibre effect trim. There are even umbrellas hidden in the armrests and an ice scraper stored neatly behind the fuel filler flap.

    So, it’s both stylish, and practical. But is it actually sporty?

 Well… It certainly sounds it. And by which I mean not just in the brochure. Skoda have equipped the Kodiaq VRS with a ‘Dynamic Sound Boost’ system that adds synthetic exhaust noise – both in and outside the car. It makes the 4 cylinder twin-turbo diesel engine sound more like a 5 cylinder; slighter gruffer and offbeat. It’s actually quite appealing – if you like that kind of thing.  Progressive Steering and Dynamic Chassis Control are also standard, so you can choose Sport mode, if you so wish, tighten up the dampers a little, and change gear yourself via the (sadly plastic) paddles-shifters. Do so and the Kodiaq VRS proves nicely brisk: 0-60 takes just 7 seconds. Apparently this is the fastest seven-seater to ever lap the infamous Nurburgring.

   What it isn’t however, is the most engaging of Sports Utility Vehicles.

   On a flowing road there’s no denying the Kodiaq VRS is a both a swift, quiet, and relaxed cruiser. The extra oomph is very handy for over-taking, the gearbox shifts seamlessly, and even on those 20 inch rims, the ride is nicely cushy, without ever becoming a wallow.

     But, the sheer size of the Kodiaq means it’s certainly no sports car. The electric power-steering, although brilliantly accurate, is a tad numb-feeling too – you never feel totally involved.

    Will any of that matter to the Kodiaq VRS’s potential customer though? To some, it will. Others however will be more attracted to its traction, and Skoda’s enviable reputation for reliability. Skoda regularly top the JD Power Customer satisfaction surveys.

    At £43,390 before options the Kodiaq VRS is by no-means cheap. And truth be told it’s by no means sporty either. But after a very enjoyable week in its company – and no I’m not joking - I personally think it’s actually all the better for not being so.



Skoda Kodiaq VRS 2.0 TDi 240 PS 4x4 DSG


Engine: 1,968 cc, 4Cyl, 16V turbo-diesel

Transmission: 7 speed DSG auto. Four wheel drive

Power: 237 bhp @ 4,000 rpm

Torque:  367 lbft @ 1,750 – 2,500 rpm

0-62mph: 7.0 sec

Max Speed: 136 mph

MPG: 35.3 – 34.0 (WLTP combined).

CO2: 167 g/km

Price: from £43,390 (as tested 46,145).


Many thanks to Clare at Skoda’s UK press office for the loan of the Kodiaq




Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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