Does the world need another sporty SUV? We’d be inclined to say no. And yet, we can’t help but be drawn to this new one from Skoda.
It’s a vRS version of the Kodiaq, and, we must say, it’s a handsome devil. It’s been given a commendably restrained visual makeover, with new front and rear bumpers, some gloss black bits, 20-inch alloy wheels, and…that’s about it.
What we have here is a hot SUV for sensible types, and there’s nothing wrong with that. How sensible? Well, it’s just as practical as the standard Kodiaq, with a 600-litre boot and the option to spec one as a seven-seater.
It’s perhaps more ‘warm’ than ‘hot’, though. Under the bonnet you’ll find a 2.0-litre inline-four twin-turbodiesel, kicking out 237bhp and 369lb ft of torque to all four wheels via a Haldex-based four-wheel drive system. 0-62mph takes seven seconds dead, while the top speed is 137mph.
Curiously, that acceleration figure is three tenths down on that of the Tiguan Allspace - the VW equivalent of the Kodiaq - in ‘240’ form, which uses exactly the same engine. That said, you do at least get some lovely-looking Alcantara-clad bucket seats in the cabin of the Skoda. Perhaps less welcome is the addition of augmented engine sound piped through the speakers, which will hopefully be easy to switch off…
Another thing the Tiguan Allspace doesn’t have is a Nurburgring record. Yep, Skoda has gone to the effort with the warmed-up Kodiaq, although with the current record being Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio Quadrifoglio - which has over double the power - the outright SUV record was never going to happen. The Kodiaq’s 9min 29.84sec lap at the hands of Sabine Schmitz is a minute and 38 seconds off the Stelvio Q’s, but the Czech company found a neat little loophole - the effort is brisk enough to give the vehicle the record for seven-seater SUVs. Clever.
UK prices haven’t been revealed just yet, but we’re expecting a starting figure approaching £40,000. It’ll be on display at the Paris Motor Show from Tuesday.