WHAT TO DRIVE NOW: ŠKODA UK KODIAQ VRS

Picture Credit: Stuart Price

Celebrating the release of Skoda’s Kodiaq vRS, we put this sporting all-rounder to the ultimate test, a Silverstone circuit etched out in the icy landscape of the Swedish tundra, and, well, Silverstone…

Driving around the British home of Formula 1 is not something you get to do everyday, and we were thrilled to have the opportunity to test the full performance potential of the vRS on the acclaimed 3.66-mile Silverstone circuit. Billed as the
return of the VRS range the Kodiaq certainly has the styling to match the environs of Silverstone, but did it have the performance?

Picture Credit: Stuart Price

Well yes actually, the Kodiaq is fitted with the “most powerful diesel production engine” Skoda have ever produced. This two litre twin turbo engine packs a surprising punch, and when placed in the hands of a trained racing driver (not me), I was impressed to witness this rather heavy (2 tonne) lump of metal reach a very creditable 137mph. The ride was comfortable if hard and in sport mode it was impressive that this machine kept such a trim line.

Picture Credit: Stuart Price

The second stage, took us far north into the depths of Swedish Lapland to the European capital of condition car testing. Just a few miles south of the Arctic Circle in the extremity of -27 degrees C, an identical 1:1 ratio Silverstone circuit lay carved
onto the frozen surface of Lake Udjaur, a 3000-acre marvel. This unique world experience exploited the Kodiaq’s four-wheel drive system, and proved it can competently take on the world’s toughest terrain and conditions with ease.

Catering for six driving modes with its effective chassis control, each mode gives comfort, power and grip depending on the terrain. One might hesitate at this divergent feature’s practicality, especially as sport mode is so commonly curtailed as
an expendable feature in many SUVs – but there was certainly no room for a gimmick in Sweden’s frozen wilderness. On the low grip ice track, ‘sport mode’ accurately dialed back the traction and stability control, ultimately providing more fun, while somehow feeling surprisingly comfortable. On Sweden’s roads ‘snow mode’ noticeably prevented wheel spin when accelerating and provided smoother control and stability, delivering a more comfortable and sensible journey as we drove
to the Arctic Circle.

Picture Credit: Stuart Price

On the outside, the Kodiaq’s stylish exterior is sophisticated yet also as rugged as the environments we tested it in. Visually striking, even under a morning frosting of Swedish snow, its dynamic architectural lines sat pronounced with distinguished
style.

However, we were writing this in the depths of the Swedish wilderness and not losing our fingers to frostbite was high on our list; hiding in the Kodiaq vRS, compulsory or not, was a delight. The elegant interior didn’t disappoint and there is ample space with plenty of practical use, some compartments are air-conditioned for storing refreshments and the car even boasts in-door umbrella storage. Most importantly, for our survival in this moment at least, the intelligent temperature system kept the car toasty, the front of the car is even kitted out with Alcantara heated sport seats, a heated leather steering wheel and impressively, the humidity sensor delivered no windscreen steaming.

Picture Credit: Stuart Price

On the road the virtual 10.25” virtual cockpit displays all the information you’d need right in front of your eyes with five varied views. Skoda connect is simple to play with, meaning smartphone interaction couldn’t be easier and the simple menu
system with on wheel control allows for simple navigation whilst importantly keeping both eyes on the road. To top it all off, the Canton sound system delivers a powerful 575 watts of clarity with 10 speakers dotted around the car.

Wait there’s more? Well we couldn’t forget safety. The Kodiaq safety features are unsurpassed with all the features you’d expect from a high tech SUV and more. The vRS includes: lane assist, adaptive full beam control, front park sensors, pedestrian monitoring (automatically reducing your car’s speed to help prevent a collision),blind spot detect (flashing a subtle red light in your wing mirror to assist your awareness on the road for objects out of sight) and a multi-collision brake system.

Picture Credit: Stuart Price

Fuel-fill protection means you’ll never load up with the wrong fuel again and a particular favourite feature is the door edge protection, plastic strips ejecting upon opening and covering the door edge to assist tight parking.

The Skoda Kodiaq vRS truly breaks the mould of what a performance car is typically known for, it is both attractive but sensible, fast but practical. A car that says you are both interesting and discerning. It certainly exceeded our expectations on and off the road, will it exceed yours?

Picture Credit: Stuart Price

For more information go to www.skoda.co.uk