THE 2020 Skoda Kodiaq RS puts the sport right back into the SUV category, and does it while remaining sophisticated, solid, safe and especially fun to drive. But it’s a car we’re lucky to have, as it nearly didn’t make it down under.
You see, Skoda Australia had to work tirelessly over a long period of time to convince its European parent of the suitability of Australia as country, following concerns our dry arid conditions would do it no favours.
With confirmation the car German professional race driver Sabine Schmitz made the fastest seven seater on the planet at Nurburgring back in 2018, was on its way, the hype and anticipation has been building ever since.
The Kodiaq RS drive train consists of an impressive 2.0-litre four-cylinder bi-turbo diesel engine paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive. It makes for a silky smooth and powerful driving experience.
With peak power at 176kW and a grunty 500Nm of torque it’s more than capable on the road, and there’s an enjoyable rumbly exhaust note too. It does sound characteristic of diesel power delivery at low revs, but once it’s up and going, it’s impressive.
It is helped by a Dynamic Sound Boost in the rear of the car (which is a very European thing), which makes its aural signature feel larger than than just four cylinders.
The seats are finished in leather and suede with a diamond-stitch pattern and leather bolstering on the sides. The steering wheel is the same, with a very sporty grip (that’s comfortable too) and paddle shifters mounted behind the wheel.
The presentation of the two screens is very slick, with the central infotainment system bright and easy to read, with sharp graphics, while the driver’s display replaces traditional dials with a screen.
The latter can show additional information like 3D maps and multimedia. It can also change the layout so that the tachometer is centered to look a bit sportier. At night, the cabin feels nice too, with ambient lighting piped around the interior.
It costs $65,990 plus on-road costs to own a 2020 SKoda Kodiaq RS, and for the money you do get some good gear, like that interior, automatic park assist with 360-degree view camera, heated front and rear seats with electric adjustment.
There’s support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an awesome sound system, wireless phone charging, triple-zone climate control, adaptive dampers, 20-inch black alloys, and LED headlights and fog lamps with cornering function.
They’re automatic too, as are the wipers, and there’s an electric tailgate. But there’s also a number of quirky additions in the Kodiaq too, including umbrellas located inside the driver and passenger door recess.
Plenty of storage pockets and trays come in handy for, well storing things, like iPads and phones, and most are close to a USB port. It doesn’t feel cramped inside, and there’s 630-litres of usable space with the third row down, or 230-litres with all the seats up.
On the road, it’s nimble and there’s four driving modes to suit your preferences, including Eco, Comfort, Normal and Sport. Despite its size, it grips well through corners, pointing reasonably well on turn-in and exiting curves with gusto.
The AWD control system gets on the case nice and early, and the brakes certainly give you confidence in pushing the car to the limits as they pull up every time. Thirst does tend to fluctuate a bit depending on your style of driving, as you might expect.
It returns sixes, easily, with highway running, then has a habit of doubling that figure around town. Given its 6.2-litre/100km combined claim, it’s on the economy front foot in its default drive mode, if you can achieve those figures.
Sport, of course, heightens response and thrust to more satisfying levels, but to the detriment of economy. Yet, it’s no great secret that the Kodiaq RS adheres much more to a European sports-SUV formula, especially in the power train department.
It’s exactly what you might expect from this particular car maker. But it’s that Euro-centric charm that is part of the Skoda attraction, and makes for a great family car with a sporty heart, that will continue to please for many years.
The 2020 Skoda Kodiaq RS comes with a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, and a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty. Servicing is spaced at 12 months or a pretty low 15,000km, however there are three and five year capped price servicing plans available.
It comes in Black Magic Pearlescent, Brilliant Silver, Moon White, Quartz Grey, Race Blue, Steel Grey and Velvet Red Premium.
Our test vehicle was provided by Skoda Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Skoda Kodiaq RS, contact your local Skoda dealer. Pictures courtesy of Mushroom Owl Photography.