IF you think Skoda is the staid arm of the Volkswagen Group then think again with the arrival of a hot Kodiaq SUV.
Come the New Year a Kodiaq vRS will be hitting the road and it features Skoda's most powerful diesel so far, a 2.0-litre 237bhp twin turbo.
It's not cheap though, coming in at £42,870 which puts it up against current rivals like the BMW X3 and the Land Rover Discovery Sport while Skoda's own Kodiaq in SportLine trim has 50bhp less on tap, still some of the sports engineering and trim on board but works out around £5,000 cheaper.
It's horses for courses but anyone opting for the Kodiaq vRS won't be disappointed with the performance - acceleration from 0 to 62mph in seven seconds and a top speed of 136mph.
With 500Nm of torque and an excellent seven-speed VW Group DSG box on board it's really punchy and has plenty of that all so crucial mid-range acceleration.
It looks the part too with sharp styling, aggressive bumpers, black trim grille and twin exhaust pipes, all sitting on 20-inch alloy wheels with low profile tyres, red brake callipers and of course the indomitable Skoda vRS badges.
Fuel economy is rated at 44.1mpg and that equates to CO2 emissions of 167g/km.
Inside, this seven-seater matches up to the vRS theme with Alcantara sports styled bucket seats giving excellent lumbar support and both front seats are electrically adjustable to suit individual preference.
There's also plenty of red stitching on the seats, the flat-bottomed steering wheel, armrests and elsewhere.
Anyone who has driven a Kodiaq will know how spacious it is inside in terms of leg and headroom, not only in the front but also in the rear seats where tall adults can sit in comfort. Howver, the two rearmost seats are quite restricted and best left for children.
A large panoramic sunroof is fitted and with all seats in use luggage space is just 270 litres but with the back two folded this shoots up to 630 litres.
For the driver there's a 9.2-inch touchscreen sitting in the centre of the dashboard which is both easy on the eye and quick to use while the Kodiaq vRS has all the usual high technology connectivity features such as sat nav, Apple CarPlay and the like.
Anyone shelling out the best part of £43,000 for this car would expect, and gets a huge load of safety and comfort features such as cruise control, blind spot detection, rear traffic alert, lane assist, full LED headlights, park assist and much more.
It's definitely well equipped and there's six driving modes from which to choose - normal, comfort, eco, sport, individual and snow.
It also has dynamic chassis control with adaptive dampers for good body control.
To drive, the Kodiaq vRS is impressive without offering outright sports performance. In fact it's quite civilised with the power coming in subtly when needed with good all round composure and firm body roll control when cornering.
The low profile tyres felt and sounded a bit hard on more uncompromising and rougher road surfaces but it wasn't so uncomfortable to cause any alarm.
For added thrill the vRS comes with what Skoda's backroom team call Dynamic Sound Boost - an actuator fitted to the exhaust that adds a 'sportier' sound when the car accelerates hard.
The engine is a major step forward for Skoda and not only is it responsive when the driver needs it's also exceptionally quiet and refined - so much that most would not realise there's a diesel under the bonnet.
Skoda knows the vRS will only sell in hundreds in the UK but it does give motorists the option to have what is a highly regarded, well made and designed SUV with a bit of funky, sporty looks that makes it stand out.