Skoda Kodiaq vRS 4x4

DSG

Skoda Kodiaq vRS, front
Skoda Kodiaq vRS, side
Skoda Kodiaq vRS, rear
Skoda Kodiaq vRS, boot
Skoda Kodiaq vRS, interior
Skoda Kodiaq vRS, front

SKODA earned its reputation churning out well-built, cheap family cars.

The formula worked, its jokey image was banished good and proper and the firm thrived under the wise stewardship of the VW group.

So it may come as a slight surprise to hear you can now pay the same price for a Skoda as you do for a Range Rover.

The model in question is the Kodiaq vRS, a spacious seven-seat luxury SUV with a turn of speed that might shock a few sports car owners. Yes, it's dearer than Range Rover Evoque, but it's bigger, more powerful and drives just as well.

Does that mean it's still a good value buy? Best read on...

Small but very noticeable styling tweaks to the already appealing styling of the Kodiaq endow the vRS with real road presence and a sportier image than the ‘cooking' model. Red calliper brakes, gloss black grille and body trim, 20-inch alloys and redesigned bumpers give it a fresh look.

And inside, there's loads of carbon-style trim, a flat-bottom leather steering wheel and snazzy bucket seats to remind you that your are driving something a bit special.

As with lesser versions, there are acres of passenger room for five adults with a final row of seats that can carry another two in less generously proportioned surroundings. Luggage room, too, is cavernous with a complement of five or fewer onboard - 630 litres to be exact.

Baggage space with all three rows in use is limited to 270 litres, still more acceptable than some dearer rivals.

Skoda has stayed faithful to diesel power for the vRS and in turbo form the familiar two litre four-pot knocks out a substantial 236bhp, about 50bhp more than the standard unit.

Translated into road terms, it gives the vRS a seven second time to 62mph, finally running out of puff at 136mph - impressive stuff for a big SUV.

Choosing a diesel rather than petrol for the most powerful Kodiaq is swimming against the tide in some ways as most makers swing away from the black pump. But it's an engine that really suits the big SUV, offering plenty of mid range clout allied to respectable fuel thirst.

So the engine performs well but it makes a strange burbling noise - thanks to a synthetic sound system which is intended to add sportiness. I would happily have preferred the handling and acceleration do the talking...

A seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox is up to usual VW Group standards and offers effortless and largely seamless changes.

While it corners tidily with little sign of marsh-mallow roll, it is difficult for a tall seven-seater weighing around 1,800kg to emulate a hot hatch. Ride is fairly firm for this type of car but generally it's comfortable and composed despite being shod with huge 20-inch alloys.

Power is switched between all four wheels as and when required providing ample grip in tricky conditions.

FAST FACTS

Skoda Kodiaq vRS 4x4 DSG

Price: £44,065

Mechanical: 2.0litre, 4 cyl, 236bhp,diesel engine driving 4 wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 136mph

0-62mph: 6.9sec

Combined MPG: 35.3

Insurance Group: 29

C02 emissions: 167g/km

Bik rating: 35%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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