Crossovers and SUVs areso popular nowadays that automakers constantly try to fill every niche imaginable in an attempt to lure more buyers – and, for the most part, they succeed.
Take, for instance, performance SUVs; something that sounded an oxymoron a few years back has become a new, distinct segment. Until recently, though, it was reserved for luxury models. Not anymore, as mainstream brands have jumped on the bandwagon en masse, with entries like the Ford Edge ST, Ford Explorer ST, Cupra Ateca, Skoda Kodiaq RS and VW T-Roc R – and the list is growing almost by the day.
The real question with these models is obviously whether the performance part is just a marketing gimmick or is indeed backed by real substance. Carwow has taken a look at the Skoda Kodiaq RS (vRS in the UK) and found it fairly fast for a seven-seater SUV of this size, but not quite worthy of a “performance SUV” tag.
Sure, the 240 PS (237 hp) 2.0-liter biturbo diesel engine is punchy enough, and the peak torque of 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) that’s sent to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is pretty impressive. However, the 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) sprint as measured by the reviewer takes 6.7 seconds, which is reasonably quick but doesn’t snap your neck in the headrest.
Fortunately, the Kodiaq RS is quite agile and stable on twisty roads for a big, and far from lightweight, SUV, though the driver will not have much fun throwing in corners. Other drawbacks include the fake engine noise pumped through the speakers and, more importantly, the price.
The latter might be the biggest hurdle for prospecting customers to overcome, as Skoda charges £42,895 for a Kodiaq RS, whereas a base model starts at £25,775. Plus, this price tag takes it into premium SUV waters: the BMW X3, for instance, goes for £43,515 in 190 HP xDrive 20d MSport guise, and £47,070 as a 265 HP xDrive 30d SE. And that’s where you start thinking whether you really need that extra space…