Skoda Kodiaq RS 2019: First drive review

Front and side view of blue Skoda Kodiaq driving on road

Tim Nicholson

Posted September 07, 2019

Tim Nicholson takes the second-generation Range Rover Evoque for a launch drive.

First impressions:

A brief stint on the track highlighted the Kodiaq RS’s performance capabilities, but we’ll reserve a final verdict for after we drive it on Australian roads.

Czech brand Skoda has built a solid reputation over the years in the performance car space with its RS models. The mid-size Octavia RS, offered in wagon and lift-back guise, is one of Skoda’s most popular variants. And some readers might remember the quick and quirky Fabia RS, a hot hatch rival for the likes of the Ford Fiesta ST and Suzuki Swift Sport, that was axed at the commencement of the new-generation model back in 2015.

Sensing a gap in the market, Skoda has decided to wave its RS wand over its largest SUV offering – the seven-seat Kodiaq. It’s hard to tell whether the Kodiaq RS is an answer to a question no one was asking, or a genius idea with real sales potential. We’ll reserve our full judgement until we get more time in the car early in 2020. 

Front and side view of a blue Skoda Kodiaq driving on a road


Until then, we had some lap time at Luddenham Raceway near Sydney to get a taste of its performance capabilities.

Skoda says the Kodiaq RS is the fastest three-row SUV to lap the famed Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit in Germany. We certainly did not hit those sorts of speeds on the track, but now have a good idea of what it can do.

So what are the stats? The RS is powered by a bi-turbo diesel engine delivering power of 176kW and torque of 500Nm. This makes for a 0-100kmh time of around seven seconds.

Trying to pinpoint a direct rival for The Kodiaq RS is a challenge. Some people might cross shop it with the Octavia RS wagon, but that has a turbo-petrol engine and lacks the ride height of the Kodiaq.

There are a bunch of potent diesel SUVs that are roughly the same size – the BMW X3 xDrive30d, Audi Q5 50 TDI and Jaguar F-Pace 30d – but none of them have a third seating row and they are $20,000 to $30,000 more expensive. The RS is priced from $65,990 before on-road costs.

The regular Kodiaq has an interesting, squared-off design, and the styling flourishes added to the RS make a bold statement. It’s certainly got presence.

Changes over the regular Kodiaq include an RS-specific front bumper, red brake calipers, full LED head and tail-lights, body-coloured side mouldings, twin chrome tailpipes, 20-inch ‘Xtreme’ alloy wheels and the availability of the signature Race Blue colour. It also gains a Dynamic Sound Boost system that enhances the sound of the exhaust inside and outside the car.

More sporty features have been added in the cabin including RS sports seats and red-stitched steering wheel, an RS-specific digital instrument cluster and a carbon-style dash.

Our time in the RS was brief, but it revealed a few things. One characteristic of the vehicle is how car-like it feels, particularly when pushing it through the many bends at Luddenham. It doesn’t feel top heavy, in fact it’s downright flat through corners, which is remarkable for a tall, high-riding wagon carrying a bit of weight.

The power and torque delivery is smooth and the seven-speed transmission avoids the jerkiness that some dual-clutch boxes are known for. If you’re looking for ultra-quick performance off the line, it’s not the fastest SUV out there, but the performance is unlikely to disappoint.

More detailed drive impressions will have to wait until we’ve driven the car on Victorian roads, but the signs are positive from our brief time behind the wheel.


Skoda Kodiaq RS


Model range: $65,990 before on-road costs.


2.0-litre four-cylinder bi-turbo diesel, seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, all-wheel drive.

Power: 176kW@4000rpm.

Torque: 500Nm@1750-2500rpm. 


Fuel: Diesel.

Consumption: To be confirmed.


To be confirmed.


To be confirmed.


Five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty. Three or five-year service plan. 


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