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Road Test: Škoda Kodiaq vRS

Does giving our favourite large SUV the vRS treatment spoil it? Martyn Collins hits the road to find out.

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SECTOR Large SUV PRICE £42,000 FUEL 34-35.3mpg (WLTP) CO2 167g/km (NEDC Correlated)

Škoda’s Kodiaq won our Great British Fleet Award for Best Large SUV, simply because it combines the endless flexibility of an MPV, with the versatility and driver appeal of an SUV. But do these values still ring true with a 237bhp sporting vRS makeover?

Under the Kodiaq’s sculpted bonnet now sits the familiar 237bhp, 2.0-litre twin-turbo TDI diesel engine. Its coarseness cleverly hidden at idle by the fitment of a ‘Dynamic Sound Boost,’ which pumps fake V8 sounds through this Škoda’s sound system. Yet, despite a seven-second 0-62mph acceleration time, plus licence-losing 136mph top speed, the fastest Kodiaq boasts a respectable combined WLTP mpg figure of between 35.3 -34.0 mpg and 167g/km emissions.

On the road, the fake engine noise annoys, especially considering how smooth this diesel engine is. Still, once you get over that, you realise it is a very torquey (368 lb ft) unit that’s happy to be revved and well-matched to the seven-speed DSG transmission.

In spite of the respectable performance, on the road it doesn’t quite feel worthy of the top performance vRS badge. Although, admittedly it was always going to be a tough task transforming a heavy (1880kg), four-wheel drive SUV. The Kodiaq vRS’s steering is impressively direct and improved with the added weight of the Sport mode. The extra grip of the four-wheel drive system adds another level of confidence in corners, as you can’t defy gravity and there’s plenty of body roll. Plus, the ride on the standard 20-inch wheels, is on the unyielding side.

The rest of the vRS makeover for the Kodiaq is very convincing, both inside and out. With this, plus the comfortable and supportive sports seats in the front, the fastest Kodiaq remains a practical seven-seater – £42,000 is a bit rich though!

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Martyn Collins

Martyn has 18 years experience as a motoring journalist, working across a wide selection of B2B and consumer titles. A car enthusiast since his early years, Martyn has a particular interest in the latest models and technology and in his spare time enjoys driving his own Minis.