Skoda Kodiaq RS 2020 review

Skoda buyers are renowned for being pragmatic, practical and partial to unusual machines… but is the Kodiaq RS a step too far even for them?

2020 Skoda Kodiaq RS

What is the Skoda Kodiaq RS?

skoda kodiaq rs

On face value, the Skoda Kodiaq RS a perfectly well sorted mid-sized seven-seat SUV, based on the bones of the VW Group’s MQB underpinnings and rammed full of valid spec.

It breaks the mould by dint of its diesel-drinking powerplant, with its 2.0-litre twin-turbocharged four-pot oiler grunting out 176kW and a healthy 500Nm.

It’ll push the 1858kg (tare) seven-seater to 100km/h from rest in a claimed 6.9 seconds, and it’ll do it sipping a claimed 6.6L/100km of the devil’s brew on the combined fuel economy cycle. 

What is the Skoda Kodiaq RS like to drive?

skoda kodiaq rs

All four wheels benefit from the engine’s output, divvied up via a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and an electronically assisted front diff and put to the ground through 20-inch rims and 235/45 R20 ContiSportContact 5s.

The suspension is steel-sprung and adaptive, while the brakes are… well, red.

In flight, the Kodiaq is composed and quick rather than rorty and fun, even though an overly-augmented exhaust noise tries desperately to convince you otherwise.

It’s odd, actually – the diesel clatter from the front doesn’t really match the macho note from the rear, but thankfully it can be muted via the selective drive modes page.

Its MQB platform provides its usual combo of sturdy composure and numb yet precise steering feel with loads of grip, but the engine spec is a strange 'un.

Fulsome rather than feelsome, it feels like there’s not enough throttle travel to tap into its latent charms. Once you’re rolling, it’s got plenty of loping pace… but is it RS enough? Not sure about that. It feels a bit R or S, but perhaps not both.

What's the Skoda Kodiaq RS like to live with?

skoda kodiaq rs

The $65,990 Kodiaq RS has all the gear, from LED lighting all 'round, advanced driver aids, a model-specific digital dash, seven seats with a sliding second row and wireless charging up front. Inside is a nice place to be, too, with terrific-looking (and feeling) front buckets and a sombre, stylish vibe throughout.

The second row offers heated seats and climate control, but bring a USB adapter for the 12v socket if the kids need to charge their devices.

Clambering into the third row is best left to the little tykes, too; it's a squeeze back there, but thankfully the pair of rearmost jumpseats fold away flat.

Skoda's typical niceties abound, too, from umbrellas in the rear doors and pop-out door guards to little bins and parking car holders in the right places.

The multimedia system is crystal clear and fully featured, spoiled only by the left-hand-drive orientation of the main controls on the screen.

The redesigned digital dash screen is clear and well laid out, too.

skoda kodiaq rs

It sits in an interesting sport market-wise – Skoda’s assertion that it’ll be cross-shopped with seven-seaters like the Ford Everest is wide of the mark, but it’s cheaper than others from Volvo and Audi.

Is the Skoda Kodiaq RS worth the money? 

skoda kodiaq rs

The Kodiaq RS will also have to live in the shadow of its smaller, older brother, the Octavia RS wagon which, for mine, is the pick of the Skoda range. It’s cheaper, faster, carries almost as much stuff (588/1718L seats up/down for the Octavia and 630/2005L for the Kodiaq) and for me, it wears the RS badge more convincingly.

Still, if you need seven seats and mile-eating comfort in a handsome jigger that sways to a different beat, Skoda’s Kodiaq RS is a worthy alternative to similarly-specced diesel rivals – if the pricing equation works out in your favour, of course.

Pros: Nice, unusual, different, plenty of spec, swift and frugal over a distance

Cons: Steep pricing, the very existence of the Octavia RS

Rating: 3.5/5

skoda kodiaq rs

Skoda Kodiaq RS specs

Model Skoda Kodiaq RS

Engine 1968cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, twin-turbo

Max power 176kW @ 4000rpm

Max torque 500Nm @ 1750-2500rpm

Transmission 7-speed DSG

Weight 1858kg (tare)

0-100km/h 6.9sec (claimed)

Economy 6.6L/100km

Price $65,990

On sale now


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