2023 Skoda Kodiaq RS turbo petrol review

Let’s face it, the Skoda Kodiaq RS is a fringe player when it comes to performance SUV, paling against its newer stablemate, the Volkswagen Tiguan R. But don’t let that stop you from putting it on your shopping list, because the 2023 Skoda Kodiaq RS is a car that oozes class and sophistication.

Sitting at the top of the Kodiaq range and priced at $74,990 drive away, the Kodiaq RS isn’t what you’d call affordable but it’s loaded with so many features it’s like a buffet of automotive technology. It’s got everything from retractable sunshades to a plastic scuff protector that deploys automatically on the doors – genius! Oh, and don’t forget the branded umbrella tucked away inside the door, just like in a Rolls-Royce.

For comparison, the related VW Tiguan R carries a price tag of $70,490 plus on-road costs but it does boasts a more powerful engine.

Nevertheless, lets dive in and have a closer look.

On the styling front, the Kodiaq RS is unlikely to set your pulse racing but it’s not without its charm. We think the Race Blue metallic paint in particular looks great on the car. But if that’s not your cup of tea, there’s also Magic Black pearlescent paint, along with Graphite Grey metallic and Steel Grey (solid). All costs $700 bar the solid paint.

The go-fast bits unique to the car also enhances its otherwise boxy exterior, while the chiselled lines give it a muscular and athletic appearance. However, the plastic aero covers on the wheels could be slightly divisive, with some people loving them and others feeling a bit ambivalent. But hey, you can’t please everyone, right?

We are a big fan of the matrix LED headlights which selectively dim individual LEDs to avoid blinding on-coming traffic and the vehicle in front by illuminating around them.

Kodiaq RS highlights:

  • 20-inch Aero wheels
  • Red brake calipers
  • RS styling package
  • Panoramic sunroof with electric sunblind
  • Adaptive chassis control
  • Off-road mode
  • Power tailgate
  • Electric front seats with memory
  • RS Sports seats
  • Carbon-look interior trim
  • 360-degree camera
  • Three-zone climate control
  • 12-speakers Canton Sound System

Inside, the Kodiaq RS is pleasant place to spend time in. The cabin is spacious and well-appointed, with good quality materials used throughout. The front bucket seats are deeply bolstered and upholstered in quilted leather with red contrast stitching, making them look sporty and comfortable at the same time.

And did I mention the front seats are heated and ventilated? It’s like having a personal climate control system for your bum! They’re perfect for Melbourne’s fickle weather.

The back seats are just as impressive, with climate control and heating for the outboard seats. Plus, there are retractable sunshades built into the rear doors, ensuring that you and your passengers stay cool and comfortable even on the hottest of days. However, the lack of rear USB ports is an oversight, especially in a family wagon.

Headroom is excellent even with a panoramic sunroof fitted to our tester, while legroom is almost as good as the first class lounge.

The third-row of seats, like most of its ilk, aren’t meant for long term accomodation as it isn’t that specious for a normal sized adult. Access is tight but with the second-row of seats folded forward, small children should have no trouble scampering through for short trips.

But perhaps the most impressive feature of the Kodiaq RS is its boot. With a massive 765L of space, you can fit everything you need for your next adventure. And even with the third-row seats up, you still get a respectable 270L of storage space. Fold both rows down (and they go completely flat), and you get a humongous 2,005L of space to play with, enough to fit a small elephant!

Other thoughtful touches abound, such as the dual gloveboxes, door bins that are big enough to fit a 1.5L water bottle, parking ticket holder on the windscreen, and a storage area for the rear cargo blind. It’s a very well packaged vehicle!

The infotainment system is top-notch, with a 9.2-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and wireless smartphone charging. And the 12-speaker Canton sound system is hard to fault, delivering crisp and clear audio that will have you grooving to your favourite tunes.

For the full specification, head to Skoda Kodiaq RS official site here.

Under the bonnet, the Kodiaq RS is powered by the familiar ‘EA888’ engine from the Volkswagen Group empire that’s found in the Volkswagen Golf GTI and R, as well as Audi S3. With 180kW and 370Nm of torque, this car is a real powerhouse, propelling the 7-seat SUV towards the horizon in just 6.6 seconds. And with a lightning-fast seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and all-wheel drive as standard, it’s as smooth and responsive as you could ever want.

The twin exhaust pipes sound good, too, with a nice subtle burble when you’re standing behind the car. Inside, we don’t mind the artificially enhanced exhaust note via the speakers, but the move could rub some purists up the wrong way.

The Kodiaq RS handles well for a family SUV tipping the scales at 1.8 tonnes, thanks in part to its adaptive dampers that endow it with an agile feel especially in sport mode. There’s plenty of traction from the all-wheel drive system, and while the steering could be more communicative, it’s still direct and responsive, making it a joy to drive. It’s also light enough to make parking manoeuvre a breeze in tight city carparks or around tight little city laneways.

If you intend to take the car on a road trip like we did, the Kodiaq RS is a true cruiser. It glides along with little road and wind intrusion, and the seats are so comfortable that you’ll forget you’re even in a car. And with an average fuel consumption of 8.7L/100km over a mix of freeway and country roads driving, you’ll be able to go the distance without breaking the bank.

The Skoda’s driver assistance systems, which includes adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, blind-spot monitoring, lane guidance and automatic emergency braking, all work well and with polish. Should you find yourself in a spot of trouble, there’s the reassurance of front, front side, rear side, driver’s knee and curtain airbags.

The Kodiaq RS comes with an impressive 7-year unlimited kilometre warranty, a first from a European manufacturer. And Skoda offers 5- or 7-year service packs priced at $2,200 and $3,200, respectively, making it even more attractive for those who want peace of mind and value for their money.

Verdict

Design & Comfort

8.0/10

Performance & Handling

8.0/10

Quality

8.5/10

Economy

8.0/10

Equipment & Features

8.5/10

OUR SCORE

4.1/5

Our Score: 4.1/5

+ Plus

  • Clever and spacious interior
  • Sporty yet comfortable
  • Muscular engine with good exhaust note

Minus

  • Tight third-row seat

Overall

The 2023 Skoda Kodiaq RS is a car that ticks all the boxes if you’re after a SUV that’s sporty yet practical and family friendly. It’s stylish (in a boxy, nerdy kind of way), comfortable, spacious, and loaded with smart features that befits the brand’s Simply Clever tagline.

And with a 7-year warranty, it’s a no brainer.

2023 Skoda Kodiaq RS pricing and specifications

Price (excluding on-road costs):From: $74,990

As tested: $75,760

Tested option: Race Blue metallic paint – $770

Warranty:7 years/unlimited kilometre
Warranty Customer Assistance:1 year roadside
Service Intervals:12 months/15,000km
Country of Origin:Czech Republic
Engine:2.0-litre turbocharged in-line 4-cylinder, direct injection petrol:

180kW @ 6,500rpm, 370Nm @ 1,600-4,300rpm

Transmission:7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Drivetrain:All-wheel drive
Power-to-Weight Ratio (W/kg):96.8
0-100km/h (seconds):6.6
Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km):Claimed: 7.5/Tested: 8.7
RON Rating:95
Fuel Capacity (L):60
Body:5-door SUV, 7 seats
Safety:5-star ANCAP, 9 airbags, AEB (forward and reverse), ABS, EBD, BA, VSC, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane-keep Assist, Traffic Jam Assist, Emergency Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Adaptive High-Beam, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, 360-degree camera, ISOFIX
Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B):4,699/1,882/1,686/2,791
Boot Space (min/max) (L):270/2005
Ground Clearance:194
Tare Mass (kg):1,860
Towing Capacity (kg):Braked: 2,000/Unbraked: 750
Entertainment:9.2-inch colour touchscreen, satellite navigation, AM/FM/DAB+, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay (wireless), Android Auto, USB, AUX, iPod, 12-speaker Canton Sound System

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