Not so powerful though...

Introduced in 2016, the Kodiaq is Skoda’s first ever SUV and it’s about to become the company’s first crossover to bear the "vRS" logo. A performance mark made famous by the Octavia a couple of decades ago, the "vRS" badge returns with a new design and, for the first time, on a diesel engine.

The Skoda Kodiaq vRS is approaching its autumn reveal, and with a few months left, before that fateful moment arrives, the SUV has been spotted going about in the Alps in full production view. The spy shots leave little to the imagination as we can see the Kodiaq vRS dressed in a flashy red color with what appears to be a set of 20-inch wheels. The performance SUV will make its debut at the 2018 Paris Motor Show in October.

Update 8\23\2018:Skoda has dropped two teaser images and some specs for the new Kodiaq vRS. Check out the latest details in the "drivetrain" section below.

2019 Skoda Kodiaq vRS Exterior

  • Sportier bumpers
  • Based on the Sportline?
  • Black trim
  • New side skirts
  • "vRS" badges
The Kodiaq vRS is largely seen as the company’s pride and joy, the model that’s going to elevate the company’s status in the industry

Skoda’s not messing around. The Kodiaq vRS is largely seen as the company’s pride and joy, the model that’s going to elevate the company’s status in the industry. It’s a big reason Skoda spared no expense in developing the Kodiaq vRS to be a conqueror of sorts. Now that we actually have a good look at the SUV, it’s safe to say that, as far as looks go, Skoda has a challenger in its hands.

While it’s not a drop-dead stunner, the Kodiaq vRS is a looker. Its design is largely similar to the Sportline trim that we saw at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show a few months ago. It also follows Skoda’s design language, right down to the layout of the headlamps relative to the front grille and other components in the front section. You’ll notice that the grilles are blacked out in the test prototype. That probably isn’t an accident because if Skoda presents the Kodiaq vRS as a sporty SUV like we expect it will, it’s going to feature its share of sporting aesthetic nods, and it won’t just be the blacked-out grilles. Black bumpers could be in the mix, too, as are black roof rails, dark or smoked LED headlamps, and even sport black alloy wheels.

2019 Skoda Kodiaq vRS Spyshots Exterior
- image 783162
The whole profile of the Kodiaq vRS is upright, a suggestion that the company wants the SUV to carry more than just a sporty aesthetic

You’ll also notice that while the whole body of the SUV is completely wrap-free, there is one section on the bumper that’s still being concealed. I don’t know Skoda’s reasons for keeping that piece in the dark, but I think those are air events. Big ones, at that.

The whole profile of the Kodiaq vRS is upright, a suggestion that the company wants the SUV to carry more than just a sporty aesthetic. Look at it from the right angle, and you’ll notice that there’s something imposing about it like it’s trying to tell everyone that it’s ready to compete with the best SUVs in its segment. As far as car body language goes, that’s a great thing for Skoda and the Kodiaq vRS. It shows that the SUV isn’t backing down from the competition.

2019 Skoda Kodiaq vRS Interior

  • All-black interior
  • Some leather
  • Contrast stitching
  • Sportier seats?
2017 Skoda Kodiaq High Resolution Interior
- image 686778
Contrast highlights and stitching are also expected, as will trim badging on a number of areas in the cabin, including the seats, console, and scuff plates.

Unfortunately, all these beautiful exterior shots of the Kodiaq vRS didn’t translate to anything we can see inside the SUV. As such, there’s still a question mark on what the cabin of the Kodiaq vRS is going to look like. Fortunately, speculating is the name of the game here. It also happens that we’ve received a few nuggets of information from sources who believe that the interior of the Kodiaq vRS will get a similar all-black treatment like the one found inside the Octavia vRS. Contrast highlights and stitching are also expected, as will trim badging on a number of areas in the cabin, including the seats, console, and scuff plates.

As far as the look and layout of the interior go, that’s still up for debate. It is expected, based on recent history, that the Skoda vRS will have two rows of seating, not counting the driver and front passenger seats. A folding third row is also likely so we can at least look forward to that. The big mystery is what the front section of the interior is going to look like. Our best estimate is that this area will look like the one from the standard model. That would include a digital display unit and a stacked center tunnel serving as the highlights of the area.

2019 Skoda Kodiaq vRS Drivetrain

  • Beefed-up diesel engine
  • 236 horsepower
  • 369 pound-feet
  • All-wheel-drive system
  • Needs more power!
2019 Skoda Kodiaq vRS
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The oil burner will crank out 239 PS and 500 Nm of torque in the vRS, which converts to 236 horsepower and 369 pound-feet

Initial rumors claimed that Skoda will drop a diesel engine in the vRS. Granted, it’s a bit ludicrous to mix a performance badge with an oil burner, but as it turns out, it’s exactly what Skoda was planning all along. The vRS will indeed hit the road with a diesel mill and not a beefed-up version of the 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine of the range-topping model.

Skoda confirmed that the 2.0-liter TDI, already available in two flavors, was further upgraded for a bit more oomph. The oil burner will crank out 239 PS and 500 Nm of torque in the vRS, which converts to 236 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of twist. That’s an extra 48 horsepower and 74 pound-feet over the most powerful diesel Kodiaq available right now.

2019 Skoda Kodiaq vRS
- image 791496
The performance-oriented version still lacks the horsepower figures you'd expect from such a car

The upgrade is indeed substantial as far as figures go, but it’s the same story as with the previous-gen Octavia vRS. While Skoda added a significant amount of oomph compared to the range-topping, non-vRS model, the performance-oriented version still lacks the horsepower figures you’d expect from such a car.

Not only a sub-300-horsepower rating is insulting for the "RS" badge, but it’s also inferior to all the other performance-rated crossovers out there. Unfortunately, Skoda seems happy enough to brag about the Kodiaq vRS being the most powerful diesel it has built so far. It’s a decision I can’t understand given that the Volkswagen Group already has more powerful versions of the familiar 2.0-liter gasoline engine.

At least it gets decent torque and an all-wheel-drive system.

2019 Skoda Kodiaq vRS Prices

2019 Skoda Kodiaq vRS Spyshots Exterior
- image 783158

Skoda hasn’t released pricing details for the upcoming Kodiaq vRS, but with the current base unit starting at around £22,000, or just under $30,000, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Skoda tack on a few pounds to send the price up to around £24,000, or around $32,000. For its part, the Kodiaq vRS could also see its price elevate to around £40,000, or about $55,000.

2019 Skoda Kodiaq vRS Competition

Kia Sorento / Hyundai Santa Fe

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe
- image 770583

Kia doesn’t offer a performance version of the Sorento, but the 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel that’s available in Europe isn’t significantly less powerful than the vRS. The turbodiesel is rated at 200 PS and 441 Nm, which converts to 197 horsepower and 325 pound-feet. Granted, the Kodiaq vRS offers an extra 39 horses and 44 pound-feet, but is it enough to call the Skoda a performance SUV? Not really. If you’re not a big fan of the Sorento, then you can go for the brand-new Hyundai Santa Fe, which features the same engine with the exact same output ratings. Pricing is a key player here. If Skoda manages to keep pricing low, as in similar to these Korean crossovers, the Kodiaq vRS will make sense. If not, it’s a matter of whether you actually need the extra oomph.

Read our full review of the 2016 - 2019 Kia Sorento and 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

BMW X3

2018 BMW X3 High Resolution Exterior
- image 721390

For a long time, Skoda had the misfortune of belonging in a segment populated by hot-selling SUVs. It’s done well for itself in its own way, but the Czech automaker hopes that with the new Kodiaq vRS, it could give its rivals a serious run for their money.

That said, is it fair to put the Kodiaq vRS in the same league as, say, the BMW X3? The latter has the unquestioned edge in prestige and brand status, but the base level X3 really isn’t that far off from the Kodiaq vRS. It has a similarly sized 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel that produces 258 horsepower, which isn’t far off from the expected power output of the Kodiaq vRS. Where the Czech SUV lags considerably is in the torque department. The X3 30d has 457 pound-feet of torque at its disposal.

On the side of looks, both SUVs have something to be proud about, though at the end of the day, the Skoda will have its work cut out for it if it hopes to get mentioned in the same sentence as the BMW X3. The good news for the Skoda is that even if it may not have the same level of allure as the BMW X3, it can take comfort knowing that it’s priced a lot cheaper than its rival whose prices typically starts at $40,000.

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW X3.

Conclusion

2019 Skoda Kodiaq vRS Spyshots Exterior
- image 783167

I’m rooting for Skoda and the Kodiaq vRS to be successful. The Czech automaker has taken great lengths in becoming more of a global player, and the results are showing in the quality of its new models. The Kodiaq vRS doesn’t appear to deviate away from that path, so I’m excited to see what it has to offer when it’s unveiled later this year. Based on its looks and expected performance abilities, there’s a lot to get excited about, so, hopefully, the automaker can live up to the buzz it’s generating.

  • Leave it
    • * Not as mainstream popular as other models
    • * Does it still have a stigma?
    • * Needs more power

Further Reading

2017 Skoda Kodiaq
- image 687139

Read our full review on the 2017 Skoda Kodiaq.

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Read more Paris Auto Show news.

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Read more Skoda news.

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