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Skoda Kodiaq vRS BI-TDI (2019 - 2020)

The independent definitive Skoda Kodiaq vRS BI-TDI (2019-2020) video review
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    By Jonathan Crouch

    Introductionword count: 92

    Skoda's idea of a performance mid-sized SUV is different to many other rival brands - and more appealing for that. The Kodiaq vRS BI-TDI diesel model launched in 2019 sold for the kind of money that could alternatively get its customers a faster premium-badged crossover, but this seven-seat Czech contender delivered more character, more space and family flexibility, cheaper running costs, more traction, more equipment: more of just about everything really. None of which would matter if this wasn't really a credible piece of performance engineering. But, rather surprisingly, it actually is.

    Modelsword count: 4

    5dr SUV (2.0 Bi-TDI)

    Historyword count: 210

    In the normal run of things, you wouldn't consider a Skoda Kodiaq, the Czech brand's mid-to-large 7-seat 'D'-segment SUV, as being an ideal candidate for performance engineering. It's a family conveyance intended for suburbia rather than Silverstone. Firming it up, adding on a body kit and shoe-horning a powerful engine beneath the bonnet ought to make little sense. All of which would be true if for the car we're looking at here, the Kodiaq vRS BI-TDI launched in 2019, all Skoda had done was to replicate the usual performance formula that Volkswagen Group brands have for their fastest hatch and SUV models: a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine with four driven wheels and around 300PS on tap. But that wasn't what was served up here. Instead, there was a more sensible bi-turbo diesel with impressive torque, startling performance and a rather lovely growl. Surprising Skoda? In this case, yes. This BI-TDI model was only on sale a couple of years. The need to lower emissions across the range forced Skoda to end its production at the end of 2020. With the Kodiaq facelift of 2021, the vRS model was re-introduced, though this time with a 2.0 TSI turbo petrol engine. It's the BI-TDI diesel version though, that we look at here.

    What You Getword count: 343

    Skoda dressed the Kodiaq vRS carefully to match its premium performance station in life. So there are eye-catching 20-inch 'Extreme' alloy wheels, along with red 'vRS' badges on the nose and tail. Plus sleeker bumpers, big bore dual exhaust tips and gloss back finishing for the roof rails, wing mirrors, window frames and front grille. None of this does anything to disguise this SUV's quite prodigious size; at around 4.7-metres in length, it's one of the biggest VW Group models to be spun off the conglomerate's MQB platform. Inside up front, you get carbonfibre trim and the obligatory sports steering wheel which, like the gearshift gaitor, features red stitching. Plus aluminium pedals and sports seats upholstered in the same classy quilted microsuede fabric that also features on the door cards. There's a 9.2-inch centre-dash infotainment touchscreen. And Skoda included its 'Virtual Cockpit' digital instrument binnacle display, which can be customised based on the kind of information you want to view. This second row bench features all the versatility you'd want from this kind of seven-seat SUV, so the backrest reclines for greater comfort on long journeys and the base slides back and forth by up to 180mm. This vRS variant retains a third seating row - the kind of thing some performance SUVs dispense with. In the very back, you're quickly reminded that this is an SUV, not an MPV. Overall though, the third row space here isn't really any more restricted than it would be in any other mid-sized SUV of this kind. Out back with the powered tailgate raised, there's 270-litres of luggage room with all three rows in place. Most of the time though, Kodiaq vRS owners are probably going to be using their cars with the rearmost seats folded into the floor, an action easy and simple to complete. In which case there's 630-litres of space on offer with the middle row sensibly positioned. With all the seats flat, a class leadingly-large 2,005-litre space is revealed. So yes, this is about as practical as performance cars tend to get.

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