Skoda Kodiaq RS 2.0 TSI 4x4 Drive Review : Kodiaq Express [COTY2022]
Singapore - If you remember, we last spent some meaningful time in the Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TSI vRS 4x4 on a long drive from Singapore to Kuantan with the whole Skoda Singapore crew.
Back then, this shortie thought he drew the short straw with the Kodiaq RS – the biggest of the Skoda lot – because we were really gunning for the Octavia Combi RS instead!
While not immediately apparent, we quickly discovered that the Kodiaq RS isn’t just big in size, it’s big in ability as well, although this should come as no surprise given the ‘RS’ in its name.
In case you’re wondering, the sportier Skoda ‘RS’ models aren’t of the same fire-breathing variety as Audi’s and Porsche’s iconic RS sportscars, but this doesn’t mean the Skoda equivalents are any less deserving of attention.
To be precise, the Skoda badging says ‘vRS’, although we’re told it’s acceptable to refer to them as RS… also, if you must know, ‘vRS’ stands for Victory Rally Sport.
In a nutshell, the higher-equipped Skoda RS models serve up sportier performance in addition to all the brand’s familiar ‘Simply Clever’ features.
Compared to its Seat/Cupra Group-mates, we’ve always found the Skodas to be more subtle and sophisticated. Even on the Kodiaq RS, the styling is stealthily restrained, yet features enough cues to clue one in to its performance prowess.
Moreover, because Skoda doesn’t go OTT with its styling with trendy cuts, slashes and sharp-edges, the smartly-styled Kodiaq RS is effortlessly evergreen and never runs the risk of falling out of fashion.
Too many folks pooh-pooh Skoda due to ill-conceived notions arising from their minds being stuck in the 80s/90s and closed to new concepts. Skoda has come a long way since then and has managed to carve out a distinct identity of its own within the VW Group.
Besides, we’re not the sort to discriminate against brands, least of all for our “Cars of the Year – Singapore-Style”, as it’s intended to cast the spotlight on the notable cars launched in the qualifying year.
The Kodiaq RS features a bespoke body-kit with massive front air-dams to complement its prominent front grille.
In true ‘Q-car’ form, it’s properly stealth with the gloss black moulding (in place of bling chrome) and blacked-out model emblems.
Also, it rides loud and proud on 20-inch Sagittarius alloy-rims and cuts a smart, sporty silhouette as it prowls the streets.
The Plus-sized seven-seat Kodiaq offers ‘plus’ performance for the petrolhead, but the pace is more brisk than blistering to allow it to serve express cross-country duties as a composed and civilised on-road all-rounder – not too fast, not too slow, but just right for town, country and highway.
It’s entertaining without being excessive, with this big package delivering big value in all its 4699 x 2087 x 1687mm glory. The Kodiaq RS may tip the scales at 1.9-plus-tonnes, but it never feels unwieldy or cumbersome, thanks largely to its perky turbo’d 2-litre’s 245hp/370Nm, an engine shared with the Golf GTI and Octavia RS.
Matched to the slick-shifting 7spd DSG dual-clutch transmission, the power delivery is punchy enough to impart some semblance of sporty sensibility – even if it is more refined than rowdy – which suits the Kodiaq RS to a ‘T’.
The Kodiaq RS's 2.0-litre may develop 350Nm from just 1600rpm for massive attack ability in the cut-thrust of city-driving, but one can easily wring it out to 6+k rpm when the roads open up for engaging cross-country excursions as well.
Unlike the Octavia RS, which requires more interaction with the touchscreen to control its various functions, we like that the Kodiaq RS has hard buttons for important features like the Drive Mode and recirculation feature for the climate control.
There’s a posh, upmarket feel to the cabin, with a fully-digitalised 'Virtual Cockpit' dash, supportive sports seats clad in quilted leather, an expansive sunroof, plenty of ‘clever’ storage compartments and enough mod-cons and in-car entertainment features to let the Kodiaq stand toe-to-toe with the premium establishment.
It’s also one of the few brands today that even comes with brollies (and dedicated compartments for them) in the front driver and passenger doors – the other is Rolls-Royce!
The Kodiaq RS may offer an express service, but no corners are cut with the leviathan. The ride is well-damped, with a suppleness and surprising level of body-control to its chassis that belie its proportions and kerbweight.
Compared to the 15 DCC (Dynamic Chassis Control) modes on the Octavia RS, there are just three on the Kodiaq RS, which makes it a lot easier to get right.
As far as we’re concerned, simple is better, because it means the engineers have sorted the chassis enough to not require much fiddling by the driver beyond the three presets for comfort, normal and sporty.
We’re hard-pressed to think of many sporty-rugged 4x4 crossover candidates (if any!) priced under S$300k (at the prevailing S$105k COE), are capable of dispatching the 100km/h sprint from standstill in 6.6secs, touch 230+km/h and carry up to seven to boot (including ample boot-space with the third-row folded flat).
Some crossovers are fast, some are practical and some are flashy, but we reckon the Kodiaq RS is a smooth operator that manages to blur the lines between MPV, crossover and executive express in vibrant, full Kodiaq-colour glory…
PHOTOS Zotiq Visuals
Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TSI vRS 4x4
Engine 1984cc, inline4, turbo
Top Speed 233km/h
Transmission 7spd DSG dual-clutch auto
Fuel Consumption 8.6-8.9l/100km