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Skoda Kodiaq 2023 review: RS

The Skoda Kodiaq RS is a family car with a performance bent.

The Kodiaq seven-seater SUV is a stand-out for Skoda, the top-of-the-line RS comes with every bell and whistle included. The huge panoramic glass sunroof makes it feel even roomier inside and the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine gives the car a great drive and smooth acceleration. It also has 20-inch alloy wheels, three-zone climate control air conditioning and a vast array of storage space. 

This top-of-the-range RS version has a list price of $68,390, before on-road costs, or (at the time of writing) $74,990 drive-away. It’s unusual to have a performance-oriented seven-seater in this size, and at this price. Some rivals that come close, without the performance bent, include the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, Mazda CX-8 and the Kia Sorento

If you’re looking to spend less, there’s the cheaper Style model which starts at $48,540, and there’s also the mid-spec Sportline for $54,390, but they don’t have the punchier engine the RS has.

For this week’s family review, I drove the Kodiaq RS up the coast to visit the whole clan, and did my usual suburban and city driving, as well. Despite a lot of wet weather, it handled everything from school pick-ups to family outings well.

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What does it look like?

The RS is a good looking car. I reviewed the 'Moon White' metallic paint option, but I think it’s more of a looker in the other colours, particularly the 'Velvet Red' premium finish ($1100).

It looks sporty despite its size and the panoramic glass sunroof is a great feature that helps it stand out. 

The 2023 model has a new grille and headlight design and glossy black detailing to go with its RS badges. It also has 20 inch ‘Aero’ alloy wheels, and while I'm not a huge fan of the look, you can take off the plastic covers, but you would need new centre caps and wheel nut covers.

The RS is a good looking car. (image: Sam Rawlings) The RS is a good looking car. (image: Sam Rawlings)

Inside the sporty look feels quite masculine, and while my brother-in-law was a big fan, I found it a bit intense. There are leather-appointed seats, a sports steering wheel, gearshift and alloy pedal covers to complete the sport look, plus there's ambient lighting via LED lights that change colour depending on which driving mode you select.

For example, when you’re using the 'Comfort' setting there's a blue light in the footwells and along the doors and the dash, and of course for sport it's red to match the stitching highlights.

How does it drive?

With this updated Kodiaq RS you get the 2.0-litre 180 TSI petrol engine, it's essentially the Golf GTI engine and it’s teamed with a seven-speed dual-clutch auto.

I drove it for a week, and enjoyed the highway drive up the coast for a couple of hours. I also drove it around the city, the suburbs and in wet and dry conditions.

It’s fun to drive, it accelerates quickly off the mark and has a lovely throaty noise. Even with four adults inside and the air conditioning on, it didn’t lose any of its grunt. 

With the RS you get the 2.0-litre 180 TSI petrol engine, teamed with a seven-speed dual-clutch auto. (image: Sam Rawlings) With the RS you get the 2.0-litre 180 TSI petrol engine, teamed with a seven-speed dual-clutch auto. (image: Sam Rawlings)

The digital instrument cluster, which Skoda calls the 'Virtual Cockpit' comes with five display modes so you can configurate your dash based on what you need. There is also a selection of driving modes, I mainly switched between 'Comfort', 'Sport' and 'Normal', but there’s also a 'Snow' and 'Eco' mode. 

The reversing camera and front and rear sensors make it easy to park but I had to rely on the blind spot monitoring system as I found the visibility a bit restricted due to the pillars in the back.

How spacious is it?

The Kodiaq car comes with a decent amount of space and some thoughtful storage features. The car feels like it has been designed for long drive comfort for a family of five, but it gives you the option of two extra seats or great cargo space.

The panoramic sunroof gives the feeling of more space whether you’re in the front or the middle row, and, in theory, its better for preventing car sickness. It also has a wind deflector which pops up and reduces noise.

Skoda generally makes pretty comfortable seats and this RS is no exception. The driver’s seat has electric controls, including lumbar support and so does the passenger.

  • The Kodiaq comes with a decent amount of space and some thoughtful storage features. (image: Sam Rawlings) The Kodiaq comes with a decent amount of space and some thoughtful storage features. (image: Sam Rawlings)
  • The middle row is spacious, even for taller adults. (image: Sam Rawlings) The middle row is spacious, even for taller adults. (image: Sam Rawlings)
  • Unlike in a Kia Sorento or Mazda CX-8 and CX-9, there are no third-row child seat anchor points. (image: Sam Rawlings) Unlike in a Kia Sorento or Mazda CX-8 and CX-9, there are no third-row child seat anchor points. (image: Sam Rawlings)

My brother-in-law is 198cm (6'6") and he still had a decent amount of space in the driver’s position. You can also set up to three seat memory settings for both front seats.

The front seats and the seats near the windows in the middle row are all heated and there's cooling/ventilation in the front.

The middle row is spacious, my brother who is 196cm (6'5'') sat comfortably behind my even taller brother-in-law and thought he would be okay for a longer road trip, although he didn't have a lot of room to move around. But the third row only fits two children, maybe teenagers, but it's a very tight fit.

  • The boot space is 270 litres with all the seats up and you would struggle to fit a decent-sized pram in. (image: Sam Rawlings) The boot space is 270 litres with all the seats up and you would struggle to fit a decent-sized pram in. (image: Sam Rawlings)
  • If you fold the third row down, leaving five seats up, you have 630 litres. (image: Sam Rawlings) If you fold the third row down, leaving five seats up, you have 630 litres. (image: Sam Rawlings)
  • Need more space? You can also fold down the middle row for some extra room. (image: Sam Rawlings) Need more space? You can also fold down the middle row for some extra room. (image: Sam Rawlings)

Unlike in a Kia Sorento or Mazda CX-8 and CX-9, there are no third-row child seat anchor points, which means you can't put a child seat in the third row, either.

But the middle row does fit three seats and there's ample room in the front passenger seat when you have a rear-facing child seat behind it.

The boot space is 270 litres with all the seats up and you would struggle to fit a decent-sized pram in. I couldn't fit a car seat in there, but if you fold the third row down, leaving five seats up, you have 630 litres. 

How easy is it to use every day?

The car is decked out with an array of features that make it great for everyday use, the storage is fairly good for its size, the seats are seated and cooled, plus it has three-zone climate control air conditioning and a blanket to go with Skoda's signature door umbrella. 

Up front, there's a centre console with two cupholders but they only fit my small keep cup. The cup holders are part of a caddy that can also fit smaller items like your keys, and garage remote, but if you you don't like it and prefer more space, you can take it out.

The RS comes with two glove compartments and combined it provides a good amount of storage, you get bottle holders in every door, as you would expect, plus there is a centre armrest for the middle row that comes with cupholders as well.

Up front, there's a centre console with two cupholders but they only fit my small keep cup. (image: Sam Rawlings) Up front, there's a centre console with two cupholders but they only fit my small keep cup. (image: Sam Rawlings)

The rear doors come with shades that click in place for the kids, if you have a newborn you might need something a bit thicker. There are also directional air vents for the middle row, as well as the seat warmers, but no USB points. This is a surprise considering everything else the car has, and disappointing for my nieces.

In the boot, the RS has two bag hooks, that kept my grocery bags in place, as well as a small compartment with a variety of netting options. There is also a full-size spare wheel underneath the boot floor that drops down to give you a bit of extra space.

Pop-out plastic guards protecting the edge of the side doors is a great feature. It stops you from hitting other cars and objects. If only every car came with something similar. 

The RS also has puddle lamps that illuminate Skoda beside the car when it's parked in the dark. The idea is to stop you stepping in puddles.

How safe is it?

The Skoda Kodiaq RS comes with almost all of the safety features you would expect at this price range, including adaptive cruise control, which means it automatically slows when you approach another vehicle.

It also has auto emergency braking front and rear, so it will brake the car to prevent you reversing into an obstacle, plus there’s blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-keeping assist. 

The Kodiaq RS scored a maximum five star ANCAP rating in 2017, but a lot has changed in the market since then. (image: Sam Rawlings) The Kodiaq RS scored a maximum five star ANCAP rating in 2017, but a lot has changed in the market since then. (image: Sam Rawlings)

The car has two ISOFIX points and three top-tether child seat anchorages for the middle row which fits three child seats, but there are no points for the third row.

The Kodiaq range also comes with nine airbags including side airbags for the second row as well as the front row, and curtain airbags which cover passengers in all three rows - unlike some of its rivals including the Kia Sorento and Toyota Kluger.

It scored a maximum five star ANCAP rating in 2017, but a lot has changed in the market since then.  

What’s the tech like?

There are two screens including the digital instrument display but the media screen is a bit small at 9.2 inches. The German Canton sound system comes with 12 speakers and provides a great surround sound audio experience. The RS also has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus Bluetooth, an in-built satellite navigation system and voice control.

I tried an Android device and my iPhone during my trip to the coast and found the Android integrates a little better. My iPhone’s Siri function often took a few goes to work.

The media screen is a bit small at 9.2 inches. (image: Sam Rawlings) The media screen is a bit small at 9.2 inches. (image: Sam Rawlings)

The car comes with three-zone climate control air conditioning but I found the climate controls overly complicated and the whole screen hard to interact with while I was driving. There are no dials to operate it, just the touchscreen, which makes it particularly hard on the highway.

There is a small covered console area with a wireless charging pad and two USB points, but keep in mind they are the only USB points in the car so the kids can't easily charge their devices on long trips.

How much does it cost to own?

There are no optional extras for the Kodiaq RS because it comes with everything and Skoda does pretty well compared to some of its European rivals in terms of ownership and maintenance costs.

My petrol usage was 9.5 litres per 100 kilometres on average during my time with it, which is fairly good given the range of driving I did, but the official number is 7.5L/100km on the combined cycle.

The RS is expensive, and compared to the Kodiaq Sportline I’m not sure it’s worth the hefty price difference for my family. (image: Sam Rawlings) The RS is expensive, and compared to the Kodiaq Sportline I’m not sure it’s worth the hefty price difference for my family. (image: Sam Rawlings)

The Kodiaq comes with a five year warranty with unlimited kilometres but that is considered standard for its class. The RS needs a service every 12 months or 15,000 kilometres and you can choose from either pre-paid servicing or pay as you go at a capped price, and you get roadside assist if you get the RS serviced by Skoda. 

The RS is expensive, and compared to the Kodiaq Sportline I’m not sure it’s worth the hefty price difference for my family. But if you want a seven-seater with a real performance bent, then it's worth it if you can afford it - for the drive.


The Wrap

The Skoda Kodiaq RS looks sporty, accelerates smoothly and feels great behind the wheel. Plus, it’s packed with loads of tech features and a great sound system. I think it’s very comfortable for a family of five, but for my sister who has five kids, it is too small for everyday life - mainly because you can't fit a pram in the boot with all seven seats upright.

I’m giving the car 4.0 out of five because I really liked the drive, it’s a great all-around family car and I found it easy to park for its size, which is a big plus. Although I think it is expensive for the price tag, it’s a lot sexier to drive than some of its rivals. I found it to be more fuel efficient than I expected, and the maintenance plan is a decent price. 

My niece gave it a 3.5 because while she loved the seat warmers, she marked it down for no USB ports in the back.

Likes

2.0-litre petrol engine
Great sporty drive
Spacious for five

Dislikes

Limited boot space for seven-seater
Only two USB ports
Small cupholders

Scores

Helen:

4

The Kids:

3.5

$44,980 - $77,990

Based on 130 car listings in the last 6 months

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