Skoda Kodiaq RS (2019)
Our Rating 4 / 5
Pros: Sporty style, seven seat practicality, punchy performance
Cons: Artificial engine note, firm ride quality, expensive with options
Feast your eyes on the fastest seven-seat SUV to ever lap the legendary Nürburgring race circuit in Germany. This is the Kodiaq RS, Skoda ’s performance version of the popular Kodiaq SUV and a new addition to the brand’s ever-growing SUV stable. In typical RS style, the Kodiaq RS boasts a powerful diesel engine, along with a series of sporty interior and exterior upgrades. We spent a week driving the Kodiaq RS on Irish roads recently to find out if a seven seat SUV really can be entertaining to drive.
What is it like?
The Kodiaq RS is equipped with Skoda ’s most-powerful diesel engine to date, a twin-turbocharged 2.0-litre TDI unit that churns out 240 horsepower and lots of low-down grunt. Thanks to a standard four-wheel-drive system and a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission, the big RS can sprint from 0-100km/h in around seven seconds, which is very respectable for a large seven seat SUV. The Kodiaq’s intelligent all-wheel-drive system distributes power through the front and rear wheels depending on road conditions, and it grips well in wet conditions. Different driving modes can be selected via a button near the gear lever, including Comfort, Normal, Sport and Eco, altering power delivery accordingly. The Kodiaq RS generates interesting engine notes too, however the sounds are generated artificially through speakers in the cabin.
Out on the road, the Kodiaq RS is composed by SUV standards and that’s thanks to the Dynamic Chassis technology that stiffens the suspension. With large 20-inch wheels and upgraded breaks it feels more focused than the standard Kodiaq. The compromise for this is of course less comfort than the standard Kodiaq, but it’s still a comfortable cruiser nonetheless.
RS styling suits the Kodiaq very well indeed. Over the standard model, it gets large 20-inch XTREME alloy wheels, front and rear RS design sport bumpers, black roof rails and mirrors, tinted rear windows and a whole host of other upgrades. Even the brakes are enlarged for added stopping power with red brake callipers to stand out. RS logos are emblazoned on the outside and our test car is finished in striking Race Blue Metallic, which incidentally is the pick of the range. Although ‘hot’ SUVs are a relatively new proposition, the Kodiaq RS fits the bill.
The sporty theme continues inside, with grippy alcantara sports seats and red stitching, carbon fibre along the dashboard and black roof lining. The seats feel suitably premium and are adorned with RS logos in similar style to the exterior. As the range-topping model in the Kodiaq stable, it’s kitted out with Skoda ’s 9.2-inch touch screen infotainment system, which is a joy to use, and a vibrant digital driver’s display. Despite the sportiness, the Kodiaq RS remains immensely practical, with enough room to ferry five adults and two children in comfort. The middle row of seats slide and recline depending on how much passenger room is needed, and room is reasonable in the rearmost row.
The driving position offers a commanding view of the road, though we would have liked more reach adjustment from the steering wheel. There are plenty of areas throughout the cabin to stow away items too, including two coffee cup holders, door bins, under the driver’s armrest and around 270 litres of boot space with seven seats in place. Despite increased focus on power and performance, the Kodiaq RS remains a highly competent family tourer.
As the range-topping model in the Kodiaq range, the RS commands a premium price tag. Prices for the five-seat Kodiaq RS start from €62,295, while the seven-seater starts at €63,295. While it’s considerably more expensive than the regular Kodiaq, it is very well equipped as standard with features such as 20-inch wheels, RS styling upgraded, full adaptive LED headlights, virtual cockpit display and Skoda ’s 9.2-inch Columbus touch screen system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. There’s also front and rear parking sensors, speed sensitive progressive steering, interior ambient lighting, alcantara sports seats and a whole host of other niceties. Our test car has several optional extras including an electric tailgate, panoramic sunroof, wireless smartphone charger and Lane Assist and Blind Spot detection.
Carzone verdict: 4/5
The Skoda Kodiaq RS blends performance and practicality in admirable fashion. Few other seven seat SUVs offer as much performance and equipment at this price point, though it is considerably more expensive than the base models in the Kodiaq range. We’d also forgo the fake sounding exhaust note.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Skoda Kodiaq RS 2.0 TDI
Prices from: €62,295
Price as tested: €63,295
Annual Motor Tax: €570
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, twin turbocharged petrol
0-100km/h: 7 seconds
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Body style: SUV
Boot Space: 270 litres (with seven seats in place)
Rivals: SEAT Cupra Ateca