Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Although the Kodiaq vRS can, with some persuasion, be made to launch hard from a standstill, we’d describe it as flexible, perhaps nippy even, rather than outright fast (it's 0-62mph sprint is 7.0sec). Put your foot down at speed and, while it has plenty of pace for overtaking, you never feel thrown back in your seat. You'll need the smaller, five-seat-only Cupra Ateca or Volkswagen T-Roc R to have those kinds of thrills; they'll do 0-62mph much quicker, in around five seconds.
But it’s worth remembering that this is nearly two tonnes of SUV, not some lightweight special. Its 236bhp diesel engine certainly feels like a step up from the 187bhp version that you'll find in the standard Kodiaq, and suits the vRS’s 'sensible' performance approach very well indeed; it’s still quicker than the majority of cars without ever being scary.
While we’re on the subject of engines, four-cylinder diesels are not known for being particularly tuneful, so Skoda adds something it calls Dynamic Sound Boost, which augments the car's natural exhaust note with an artificial soundtrack. The result is a low grumble that’s slightly reminiscent of an old-school American V8, and which gets progressively more aggressive as you step through the Comfort, Normal and Sport modes. It’s not the worst fake noise we’ve heard, but can get irritating on the motorway. We were pleased to find out that it turns off in Eco mode or if you override it in individual mode.
But, we hear you cry, what of the handling? Well, the Kodiaq vRS might be a big old lump but, in addition to those adaptive dampers and big wheels with wide tyres, you get what Skoda calls Progressive Steering. This gets faster the more you turn the wheel, so the vRS feels stable in a straight line but requires less twirling of the wheel for tight bends.
Although precious little information filters up from it front tyres to the steering wheel, we doubt many will complain, because the steering is so direct and precise. Grip levels are predictably high, but the Kodiaq vRS is also surprisingly well balanced; you can really feel power being directed rearwards to stop it from just pushing wide at the front.
It never feels as exciting or as agile as a T-Roc R. Instead it lets you confidently carry plenty of speed on a twisting stretch of road and have a degree of enjoyment in the process. That doesn’t come at the expense of ride comfort, though. Although the vRS is firmer than smaller-wheeled Kodiaqs, there’s still plenty of compliance in Comfort and Normal modes to deal with all but the craggiest of road surfaces without you getting agitated.
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