By Mike Torpey on 2020-02-22 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Skoda Kodiaq vRS 2.0
TDI 4x4 DSG
IF an endorsement was ever needed that big, spacious seven-seat SUVs were seriously important players on the new car scene then the new Skoda Kodiaq vRS puts it all into focus.
When it hit UK streets earlier this year, the vRS came with the banner of not only being the fastest diesel Skoda ever built but also one with the quickest lap time for a seven-seat vehicle round the famous Nurburgring Nordschleife race circuit.
To use the Czech brand's own description it's ‘a celebration of power' and the latest model to carry the now legendary vRS badge.
Tracing its heritage from the early RS models of the 1970s through to affordable performance cars like the Fabia vRS, the goal has been to deliver an engaging driving experience with pulse-quickening thrust.
That's what you get with the Kodiaq vRS, which is powered by a four-cylinder bi-turbo diesel engine capable of blasting to 60mph in seven seconds straight and on to a potential 136mph.
The car's 240ps and 500Nm of pulling power is delivered to the road via a seven-speed DSG gearbox and four wheel-drive system, those reserves of torque - the highest figure registered by a production Skoda - also means that power is always on tap.
That's what we found during a demanding test week in which the vRS showed star quality in every area from the positive steering and smooth road-holding to its comfort, ambience and sound insulation.
And talking of sound, the optional CANTON audio system delivered 575 watts of clarity from 10 speakers around the car.
It's a bit of a beast to look at too. From the vast 20-inch Xtreme alloy wheels to the gloss black detailing and unique badging, this model really stands out from the rest of the range with a commanding presence on the road.
If its Race Blue Metallic paint job isn't enough, well there's the sports style front and rear bumpers, twin exhaust tailpipes and gloss black front grille to underline that this car means business.
Move inside and the new Alcantara-trimmed sports seats offer additional side support, you get intricate red contrast stitching and a black headlining plus no end of creature comforts in what is every inch a premium offering.
Taking centre stage is the virtual cockpit with its pin-sharp 10.25-inch digital display including five views - Classic, Basic, Extended, Modern and Sports.
The latter, developed just for the vRS, features the rev counter and current speed in the centre while other info like the radio station or sat nav instructions are displayed smaller.
Apart from its performance credentials, the vRS remains a true Kodiaq with space for seven people as standard.
The boot can hold 230 litres of luggage with all seats occupied and up to a cavernous 1,950 litres with rear rows folded flat.
And in time-honoured Skoda fashion there are ‘Simply Clever' features designed to make life on board easier.
So items like a retractable load cover along with various securing nets, an ice scraper in the fuel filler flap and umbrella compartment in both front doors come as standard, as is a holder for multimedia devices, while the driver's side has a ticket holder and storage box with a slot for car park tickets, card or coins.
Skoda Kodiaq vRS 2.0 TDI 4x4 DSG
Mechanical: 240ps, 1,698cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 136mph
0-62mph: 7.0 seconds
Combined MPG: 44.1
C02 emissions: 167g/km
Bik rating: 37%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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