Brands such as Ferrari and Lamborghini are now making SUVs, but there is one shock maker that is king of the seven-seat machines.
Skoda’s record-breaking seven-seat Kodiaq RS is its priciest and most extreme offering. Here are five things you should know.
IT’S THE WORLD’S FASTEST SEVEN-SEAT SUV
Well, the fastest timed around Germany’s famed Nürburgring. The late, great, Sabine Schmitz set a 9min 29sec lap on the 21-kilometre track in 2018, and apparently it’s not been bettered. Probably because no-one else finds it relevant. Great pub ammo nevertheless, and fun to tell BMW X7 and Audi Q7 owners who paid twice the price.
But don’t expect this 176kW/500Nm Skoda to pin you to your seat. Weighing 1858kg, it takes 6.9 seconds to reach 100km/h. It does provide sporty thrills, though, along with decent balance and grip, while its adaptive chassis has a Comfort mode for surprisingly good ride quality.
THE TWIN-TURBO DIESEL ENGINE SOUNDS BEASTLY
But Skoda has cheated. Diesel engines aren’t renowned for pleasurable notes, but the Kodiaq RS uses an artificial sound alongside its exhaust cry and channels it through the speakers.
In Sport mode it goes all burbly and rich with bass, making it far sexier than your usual four-cylinder diesel.
The bi-turbo 4WD’s optimistic fuel figure is 6.2L/100km; our test returned a 7.4L/100km average, though 10L/100km in town was typical.
The 2022 Kodiaq RS will sadly ditch the diesel for a 180kW/370Nm turbo petrol: a mighty drop in torque. Snap up the diesel while you can.
SKODA DOES SMART TRICKS VERY WELL
At the touch of a button it parks by itself. There’s an umbrella hidden in the door, while in the boot, nets and bag hooks stop cargo flying around. Middle row head rests have fold-out wings for comfort, and the tailgate opens when you wave your foot under the bumper. The designers must be parents. Kids have a tendency to fling open doors into the Porsche parked beside, so the Kodiaq’s door edges feature rubberised strips that pop out when opened. Simply clever.
SKODA’S GONE BIG ON GOODIES
Skoda can’t rival Audi or Benz for Euro badge cachet, but the Kodiaq RS rivals them for specification. Standard are 20-inch wheels, tri-zone climate, leather sport seats with Alcantara inserts and red stitching, a panoramic sunroof, digital dashboard, satnav, 9.2-inch infotainment screen, wireless charging and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. A five-star crash rating is backed by lane assist, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert and radar cruise control, while middle row passengers score heated seats just like the fronts. Oversight? For a seven-seat SUV, there’s only one USB port throughout. Third-row seats are reasonable for adults on short journeys, as long as middle seats are slid forward on their runners.
THAT’S A LOT OF COIN FOR A SKODA
At $74,990 drive away, the Kodiaq RS is the priciest Skoda available. Instead, try a Kodiaq Sportline. Less goodies, but it’s $20k cheaper and still has killer sporty looks. If you really don’t need seven seats and mild off-road ability, Skoda’s Superb Sportline wagon (with more powerful 206kW petrol engine) is $10,000 less. Two fewer seats, but the boot’s a whopping 660L — 140L more than a Kodiaq in five-seater mode. Then there’s the new 180kW Skoda Octavia RS wagon. It has a 640L boot, 6.7-second 0-100km/h time and, because it’s not an SUV, you can bet is goes faster around the Nürburgring.