The ŠKODA KODIAQ RS holds the record for seven-seat SUVs on the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife. The reason behind its speed is not only the twin-turbocharged 2-litre diesel engine, but, above all, the superbly tuned suspension. How does it work in real life? Settle into the comfy sports seats and let’s go!

Sporty style inside and out

ŠKODA have always fitted their RS models with a wide array of premium features as standard. The KODIAQ is no exception to that rule. The sporty version stands out immediately, with its array of black features like the front spoiler, radiator grille, rearview mirrors and roof rails. The rear bumper has also got a diffuser and a reflector which covers the whole car’s width – a typical detail on all RS models. The rugged bodywork is perfectly complemented by the 20-inch Xtreme light alloy wheels. Underneath them, you cannot miss the 17-inch brake rotors with red painted calipers. By the way, the front rotors are 340 mm in diameter, just 15 mm less than ŠKODA FABIA R5 in tarmac specification.

The interior flaunts sporty flair as well. It’s dominated by the sports seats with integrated headrests and pronounced side bolstering, which keep the driver’s and passenger’s bodies firmly in place during dynamic driving. The seats are upholstered in Alcantara with contrasting red stitching and a pronounced RS emblem. The same is true for the multifunction steering wheel and door sills. Another standard feature is the virtual cockpit, which includes a sports instrument panel with a large rev counter in the middle. To make full use of its cavernous inner space, the ŠKODA KODIAQ RS is available both in 5-seater or 7-seater versions.

Two litres, two turbos

Under the hood of KODIAQ RS, you will find the most powerful turbodiesel engine in over 120 years of ŠKODA’s history. The 2.0 Bi-TDI, a four-cylinder, 2-litre engine with twin turbocharging, offers a maximum power output of 176 kW (240 hp) and a maximum torque of 500 Nm. What’s the benefit of twin turbocharging for the driver? Most of all, it’s about more potent thrust in a wide range of revs. The system of two parallel mounted turbochargers of different sizes works in three basic modes. In low revs, the small turbo with a variable vane geometry is active, in mid-range, both turbos are running in unison and in the highest revs, it’s the large turbocharger which provides the necessary pressure. This way, the engine doesn’t lose power, even near the rev-limiter.

This makes the supply of pressurized air into the engine smooth at all times. The driver is not able to feel the change from one mode to another, making for a really comfortable drive. The 2-litre engine is also aurally pleasing, with the Dynamic Sound Boost system taking care of proper acoustics not only in the cabin, but also outside the car. And, when the driver is not looking for fun, the KODIAQ RS can make a quiet partner for longer trips.

Suspension with lots of grip

The handling of the KODIAQ RS is different from other versions. The modifications include changes in the DCC adaptive suspension’s modes, all-wheel-drive and suspension geometry. Combined, these upgrades allow the KODIAQ RS to perfectly combine the family SUV’s day-to-day usability with dynamic driving. The main difference, though, is the amount of grip, especially on the front wheels. Even at higher speeds, in tight corners or on rough surface, the wheels hold to the ground in an impressive manner.

“I was really surprised by the KODIAQ RS. It is very stable, responsive and it’s much sportier than I anticipated. It’s got enough power and torque, the seating position is great and for its size and weight, it handles wonderfully. It’s just a well-sorted car”, the reigning WRC 2 champion Jan Kopecký explained after his test drive. “The suspension is really firm, the KODIAQ RS stays flat on the curves and the car’s also well-balanced. You can even slide it around a bit, which is admirable for a car this big. And it sounds great! The noise is well-tuned both inside and out!”, added Kopecký.

The electronics should help, not get in the way

The KODIAQ RS is very agile in response to the wheel movements, thanks to quick-geared adaptive steering. It also hides its height well. With dampers in the Sport mode, it is also able to prevent body roll on the curves. The competent suspension is supported by well-tuned ESC electronic stabilization. In the ESC Sport mode, its interventions are more benevolent and allow a skilled driver to enter the corner in a slight skid.

During a dynamic drive, the KODIAQ RS feels much more like an ordinary car than a high-bodied SUV. It’s agile, easy to handle and very responsive. The result issurprising pace in the unforeseeable conditions of the real world and in various day-to-day situations. With its four-wheel-drive, the car never loses its confidence and relaxed attitude.