Skoda Kodiaq vRS 4x4

DSG

Skoda Kodiaq vRS, 6
Skoda Kodiaq vRS, 5
Skoda Kodiaq vRS, 4
Skoda Kodiaq vRS, 3
Skoda Kodiaq vRS, 2
Skoda Kodiaq vRS, 1
Skoda Kodiaq vRS, interior
Skoda Kodiaq vRS, boot

A PROGRESSIVE move or sign of the times - either way petrol power has replaced diesel in Skoda's performance SUV, the Kodiaq vRS.

The switch coincides with the Czech brand celebrating 20 years of the sporty vRS family and sees the range-topping seven-seater get a smart new design but more significantly added punch and less weight.

The benefit of this new 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine is an extra helping of surge, raising the car's output to a hefty 245ps and 370Nm of pulling power.

That equates to acceleration of 0-62 in 6.6 seconds - not bad for a meaty seven-seater - and a potential top speed of 145mph.

Design tweaks see the vRS acquire slimmer headlights - now equipped with LED Matrix technology - 20-inch burnished alloy wheels featuring aerodynamic covers, a sleeker front bumper, body coloured apron and lots of gloss black.

Move inside and body-hugging microsuede black sports seats with contrast red stitching and vRS logo serve to remind occupants that they are in a performance model, while you also get a leather multi-function steering wheel, a rear view camera and parking sensors.

Central to everything is the car's virtual cockpit with its pin-sharp 10.25-inch digital display including five views in the form of Classic, Basic, Extended, Modern and Sport.

The Sport view, which was developed exclusively for the vRS, places the rev counter and current speed in the centre while other features like sat nav or radio stations are displayed smaller.

But the performance credentials apart, this flagship Kodiaq also boasts lots of practicality. For instance on more than one occasion we had all seven seats in use, with an adult passenger in each, and managed to complete a 32-mile journey in relative comfort.

Drop down to five aboard and legroom is plentiful, only the centre rear passenger feeling a little compromised due to a narrow and slightly perched seating position.

Visibility is excellent all round and the cabin feels airy thanks to the large sliding glass sunroof, while safety kit includes a blind spot warning - which realistically should be standard fit in all cars.

Meanwhile, the Kodiaq vRS's 245ps - a six ps increase on its predecessor - is delivered to the road via a seven-speed DSG transmission and four-wheel drive system.

Combined with a 60kg lighter weight it provides sharper dynamics while progressive steering also enhances the Skoda's handling. It all sounds authentic too courtesy something called Dynamic Sound Boost, which intensifies the engine note.

We found the Kodiaq stable, composed and punchy in all road conditions and it's also worth using the six drive modes of Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport, Individual and Snow, each showing its own background on the colour touchscreen.

For instance Eco shows a green woodland setting while the Sport backdrop is a picture of a racetrack.

That said, even driving primarily in Eco mode we could only return an average 31.0 miles per gallon, so it may be practical but it's certainly not very economical.

Luggage wise, the boot can stash 230 litres with all seven seats occupied and up to 1,950 litres with the rear rows folded, so there's plenty of space.

And as is now customary with Skoda models there are ‘Simply Clever' features designed to make life on board easier.

FAST FACTS

Skoda Kodiaq vRS 4x4 DSG

Price:£46,035

Mechanical:245ps, 2.0-litre, 4-cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via seven-speed DSG transmission

Max Speed:145mph

0-62mph:6.6 seconds

Combined MPG:31.7

Insurance Group:202g/km

C02 emissions:37%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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