I’ve driven the 'fastest seven-seat SUV around a racetrack' – here’s why the Skoda Kodiaq vRS is worse because of it | The Sun
THE Skoda Kodiaq is a brilliant family SUV, whichever way you look at it.
It has flexible seating for up to seven people, with its rearmost seats folded there's a huge boot and Skoda offers a range of economical engines all with sensible price tags.
Aside from, that is, this range-topping Skoda Kodiaq vRS, which costs the thick-end of £50,000 with a few options added.
Very few people pay with cash but even on a lease, it's a considerable amount more to pay every month than Kodiaqs further down the range.
So what are you getting for all this money?
All the things the standard Kodiaq got when it was given a recent refresh for starters.
But with the vRS you're also getting the fastest seven-seat SUV around the infamous Nurburgring, even if that is niche pub ammo.
But that official record was set by Sabine Schmitz in the old diesel version of this car back in 2019.
This new model is petrol and, on paper, even faster in a straight line.
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The engine is the most powerful in the Kodiaq range – a 2.0-litre turbo petrol making 245hp and good for 6.6 seconds from 0-62mph. All-wheel-drive and an automatic gearbox are standard.
Then there's a sports steering wheel, digital driver's dials and special vRS sports seats as standard inside, plus a more aggressive look and unique 20-inch alloy wheels outside.
And Skoda gives the vRS a unique suspension tune as well as a standard adaptive suspension system that allows you to firm it all up at the touch of a button for flatter cornering.
Which all sounds like quite a lot, so what's the problem?
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The problem is the Kodiaq vRS isn't huge fun to drive.
Even in its sportiest driving mode with its throttle and gearbox primed and the suspension keeping its body in better check.
Sure it'll corner quickly and accelerate swiftly, but many non-sporty SUVs can do that too. It just doesn't feel fun: its steering is pretty numb and the auto' gearbox isn't the snappiest either.
And, it makes a pretty dreadful fake noise that Skoda calls Dynamic Sound Boost, which is generated inside and outside the car to mask the fact that its petrol engine is actually quite peaceful underneath.
The real point to be made here is if you love the looks but you want an excellent family SUV there's a better option.
It's called the Kodiaq Sportline.
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It isn't as quick with Skoda's brilliant 150hp 1.5-litre petrol, but it is nearly £10,000 cheaper.
It looks pretty much the same, has the same seven seats, the same massive boot and is comfier, quieter and more economical to drive.
And if you really want an SUV and the drive has to come first, you're better off looking at a Cupra Ateca or slightly pricier entry-level Porsche Macan instead.
SKODA KODIAQ vRS
Engine: 2.0-litre petrol
Power: 245hp, 370Nm
0-62mph: 6.6 secs
Top speed: 144mph
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