- Doors and Seats
5 doors, 7 seats
2.0T, 4 cyl.
- Engine Power
Petrol (95) 7.5L/100KM
7 Spd Auto (DCT)
5 Yr, Unltd KMs
- Ancap Safety
5/5 star (2017)
Those who think practicality and personality can’t coexist clearly haven’t met the sporty, seven-seat Skoda Kodiaq RS yet.
- Boot space is impressive, particularly with the third row flat
- Fake engine noises really amp up the fun (and you can turn them off if you want to lay low)
- Punchy yet polished powertrain
- Third row is really only appropriate for kids
- Thirsty engine and minimum 95RON required
- Price could push buyers towards the well-appointed next grade down, the Sportline
The 2022 Skoda Kodiaq RS is something of an oxymoron.
As a seven-seater SUV with a powerful engine, it faces the tall order of successfully combining space and safety with sportiness and sex appeal – not things that typically coexist.
Now, all 2022 Kodiaqs get the same 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo petrol engine, but the RS’s is tuned to produce more power and torque than the other two variants – 180kW and 370Nm to be precise.
That means the car can sprint to 100km/h almost two seconds faster than the regular Kodiaq – but we don’t recommending testing that claim on the school run.
Across the range, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission drives all four wheels – although the Kodiaq operates predominantly in front-wheel drive until extra traction is required.
At $68,390 before on-road costs, the RS is the most expensive Kodiaq money can buy – a full $10,000 and change more than the next grade down, the Kodiaq Sportline.
Opting for the RS adds visual intrigue to the exterior with RS badging, 20-inch alloy wheels with a bold basket-weave detail, black accents and stainless steel exhaust tips.
The basket-weave wheels are an acquired taste, and certainly proved a divisive look in our office.
Aside from the added looks and performance over and above the lower-grade Kodiaq, you’ll also receive more safety and driver assistance features as standard, plus a hands-free electric tailgate, three-zone climate control, front ventilated seats and a sunroof.
So, is it worth the extra spend? And does anyone really need a sporty seven-seat SUV?
While the Kodiaq’s interior space feels positively vast, it actually has a fairly modest exterior footprint – only slightly bigger than a Kia Sportage.
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While it’s technically still a large SUV, it’s more like a large SUV that’s been placed on a juice cleanse, meaning it’s an ideal car for inner-city dwellers whose extra baggage won’t squeeze into a medium SUV.
Getting into the car is made easier thanks to the elevated ride height, but I found Skoda’s door-edge protectors – plastic devices that swing out when the door is opened to prevent it from hitting and damaging surrounding objects – make closing the heavy doors problematic. You really have to slam them to ensure they shut properly.
The interior of the RS feels particularly spacious thanks to a massive standard-inclusion sunroof that spans almost the entire roof.
In the front seat, the suave black and red sports seats are heated, ventilated, snug and firm – although a headrest that slopes forward may have you feeling like your neck is a little bent out of shape (particularly if you wear your hair in a bun, like me).
Ergonomics are excellent and the layout makes everything accessible, plus it looks clean and streamlined.
Storage options are plentiful, including a central glovebox with removable tray, umbrella holders in the doors, cupholders, and a cleverly designed split glovebox that has separate compartments that open at the top and the bottom.
Legroom in the passenger seat is great, but with our Britax Brava child seat behind it in rear-facing mode, my husband found his legroom was minimised somewhat.
In the back seat, space continues to be accommodating, even for taller adults. With Drive’s photographer, who is roughly 193cm tall, in the driver’s seat, I still felt like I had ample legroom.
The rear seats are heated too, and back seat occupants get their own separate climate controls for added independence.
Retractable sunblinds store neatly below the rear windows and reduce sun glare for kids, although they don’t remove it entirely.
Getting into the third row isn’t the easiest task. The Kodiaq’s seats fold and slide, but it’s not the smoothest process, and they don’t flip up for maximum clearance like the ones in some Honda or Mitsubishi models, so adults will have to squeeze.
Once you’re in the back row, most grown-ups will find their heads are grazing the roof and their knees feel cramped, but large side windows and plenty of light from the sunroof counteract the sense of claustrophobia.
Still, it’s not the most cramped third row I’ve sat in, and kids will certainly appreciate the novelty factor. Meanwhile, adults will appreciate keeping any stints in the third row nice and short.
If you’ve got the key in your pocket, the boot is accessible with a swift kick under the centre of the hands-free power tailgate – particularly helpful when you have arms full of supermarket shopping.
Even with the third row in play, there’s 270L at hand. That’s still a bigger boot that the Mazda CX-3 compact SUV and you’ll be able to squeeze a grocery shop in there if you’re strategic.
Under the floor, there’s a spot to slot in the cargo blind when the third row is in use, plus a temporary spare wheel.
|2022 Skoda Kodiaq RS|
|Boot volume||270L to third row|
765L to second row
2005L to first row
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Kodiaq’s infotainment system feels up-to-date and user-friendly, without being distracting or overly convoluted.
There’s a wireless phone charging pad (which accommodates larger devices), wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and two USB-C ports to connect your devices.
I found the Apple CarPlay connection was consistent throughout my week with the Kodiaq, effortless re-pairing upon entering the car and ensuring my calls and music were clear and uninterrupted.
In all Kodiaq grades, the infotainment control centre is a 9.2-inch touchscreen with crisp graphics and excellent positioning for use on the move.
This screen and ‘virtual cockpit’ driver display screen aren’t huge or particularly revolutionary in their design, but they’re well-executed, responsive and functional enough to hold their own against offerings from more upmarket brands.
Managing audio from the steering wheel is easy, but I found it frustrating that there’s no quick way to hang up phone calls when using CarPlay (when using Bluetooth or Android Auto, you can end a call by holding the volume dial down).
If you’re so inclined, you can drop an extra $2900 on the Tech Pack, which adds a 12-speaker Canton sound system, but I really enjoyed the quality of the standard-fit system and found it more than satisfactory for playing Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush on repeat.
The Skoda gets a five-star ANCAP rating and was last tested in 2017. That rating predates some key changes to ANCAP scoring and testing introduced in 2018 and again in 2020.
The Kodiaq range received a 92 per cent score for adult occupant protection and 77 per cent for child occupant protection, while pedestrian protection was rated at 62 per cent and safety assist received 54 per cent.
All Kodiaqs have nine airbags, including rear curtain, side and knee airbags to protect back-seat occupants.
Because the RS is the top-grade Kodiaq, it gets plenty of safety and driver assistance tech as standard.
This includes additions like Skoda’s park assist, which will manoeuvre into a space for you, and traffic jam assist that utilises the lane assist and cruise-control systems to start, brake and turn the car to copy the movement of surrounding vehicles in a traffic jam.
Unfortunately, as a result of ongoing semiconductor shortages, Skoda has had to remove blind-spot detection and a rear cross-traffic alert from the Kodiaq range. Both are extremely helpful active safety features that are particularly useful on a large SUV, but neither are essential safety inclusions.
Additionally, the car I drove had an overhead-view monitor that gives you a bird’s-eye view of your surroundings. It’s an inclusion that was temporarily dropped from the car due to semiconductor shortages, but will make its return for the 2023 model-year.
Otherwise, all Kodiaq grades receive autonomous emergency braking for the front and rear, front and rear parking sensors, and adaptive cruise control. The rear parking sensors are pretty full-on and there’s no way to lower their sensitivity, so you’ll have to settle for being something of a Nervous Nelly when parking.
The Kodiaq RS is priced from $68,390 before on-road costs, but my test car was finished in metallic paint, which adds $770 – bringing the as-tested price to $69,160 before on-road costs.
Skoda’s current drive-away pricing for the Kodiaq RS is $74,990 – a big jump up from the drive-away price for the Sportline, which starts at $57,990.
That $17,000 difference can be semi-justified with the inclusion of the panoramic sunroof, which is typically an additional $1900, plus interior features like seat ventilation, electric adjustment for both front seats, rear seat heating, plus the extra active driver assistance technology.
But even if you were to add those things up, you’d struggle to get to $10,000 – and it’s hard to put a monetary value on the additional 48kW and 50Nm of torque from the engine.
As a result, it’s worth test-driving both the RS and Sportline grades given they offer the same level of cabin space, all-wheel-drive capabilities, and the Sportline features a solid level of standard equipment.
As for competitors outside of its own model family, the Kodiaq RS is in something of a league of its own thanks to its unique combination of seven seats and enhanced performance.
The Volkswagen Tiguan R is the most natural competitor at $68,990 before on-road costs, but it doesn’t offer seven seats.
If you’re willing to sacrifice the sporty leanings but still crave seven seats and that prestige feel, then the price of a Kodiaq RS will get you into a middle-of-the-range Mercedes-Benz GLB.
As for ownership costs, it costs $2000 to service the Kodiaq RS over five years, or $2900 over seven years.
That works out to roughly $400 for each annual service visit – which is more affordable than a premium brand, but higher than a mass-market brand like Mazda, which charges $387 per year for its Mazda CX-8.
Skoda offers a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty across all its cars, but opting for a pre-paid seven-year service pack boosts that warranty term to seven years.
|At a glance||2022 Skoda Kodiaq RS|
|Warranty||Five years / unlimited km|
|Service intervals||12 months or 15,000km|
|Servicing costs||$2000 (5 years), $2900 (7 years)|
Where the Kodiaq RS could also prove a strain on the bank account is at the bowser.
Interestingly, Skoda quotes a lower average combined fuel use in the RS than in the Style or Sportline grades – 7.5L/100km. Meanwhile, claimed urban consumption is 9.6L/100km.
My week of urban driving returned an overall figure of 10.7L/100km, and I found that I burned through half a tank of fuel with a combination of short freeway stints and inner-city commuting.
Additionally, all Kodiaqs require a minimum of 95RON, so the combination of elevated fuel usage and more expensive petrol is definitely something that’s worth weighing up over the course of ownership.
|Fuel Useage||Fuel Stats|
|Fuel cons. (claimed)||7.5L/100km|
|Fuel cons. (on test)||10.7L/100km|
|Fuel type||95-octane premium unleaded|
|Fuel tank size||65L|
Before we get into the driving experience, we need to talk about the Kodiaq RS’s fake engine noises.
At first, I found them a little cheesy, but as I spent more time in Sport mode, I realised they added a sense of fun and excitement that’s otherwise lacking from most large SUVs.
Additionally, when my son was a newborn, I wanted any car I was driving to be as silent as possible so he wouldn’t wake up, so the concept of a car that can tailor its exhaust noises to your circumstances is actually sort of genius.
So too are the Kodiaq’s various drive modes, which enable you to customise the level of engine noise as well as the damping and steering characteristics, with the option or Normal, Comfort and Sport.
I found that the ride with the Kodiaq in Comfort mode is ideal – it’s supple but without the wobbly, top-heavy feeling you sometimes get in larger cars.
The steering feel is also fantastic. The Kodiaq RS gets something called progressive steering as standard, which basically means it becomes more dynamic at speed and requires less input, but is nice and light around town.
As a result, the Kodiaq is actually a really easy car to manage around town.
On paper, a 12.2m turning circle appears on the larger side, but somehow the combination of light steering and moderate footprint meant I was able to complete a surprising number of manoeuvres I wouldn’t normally pull off in a larger car (three-point turns in dead-end streets, or U-turns on main roads, for example).
All Kodiaqs are all-wheel drive and can offer extra traction whenever they detect wheel slippage, which adds to the overall balanced and capable behind-the-wheel feel.
The whole range also features a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, but the RS grade adds paddle shifters for those who really want to lean into the sporty vibe.
I found this dual-clutch transmission particularly well-executed. It moves smoothly through the gears without any lag and is punchy when you really kick down – without being jumpy at lower speeds.
Acceleration from a standstill is immediate and you have to be careful, as the car can get up to speed quickly.
The idle-stop system incorporates well into this overall package and is virtually imperceptible, even in stop-start traffic.
If I had one complaint it’s that the rear-vision mirror could be larger, but otherwise visibility is good and the driving position is comfortable but not so high you sacrifice driver feel.
|Key details||2022 Skoda Kodiaq RS|
|Engine||2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol|
|Power||180kW @ 5250–6500rpm|
|Torque||370kW @ 1600–4300rpm|
|Drive type||All-wheel drive|
|Transmission||Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|Power to weight ratio||101kW/t|
|Tow rating||2000kg braked, 750kg unbraked|
I’ve driven so many SUVs in my time at Drive and, I’ll admit, at a certain point they all blend into one. The best thing about the Kodiaq RS is that it’s memorable.
It’s a car that has plenty of personality and, while some of its eccentricities might not be to everyone’s liking, you could never accuse it of being boring.
Without the fake engine noises, you could be forgiven for thinking the Kodiaq RS was a regular SUV, but switch it into Sport mode and it’s a sharp, polished and highly punchy driver experience.
Often I find a car that handles beautifully at freeway speeds tends to sacrifice some around-town practicality, but the Kodiaq RS does both well and is right in the sweet spot of having a moderately sized footprint with excellent visibility, ride height and sensors for around-town driving.
Practicality is the big win, though. The boot is huge, the third row is a bonus, and luxurious inclusions like the sunroof, rear heated seats and self-park might almost help you forget that $75,000 price point.
If you’re not too preoccupied with performance, it’s definitely worth taking a look at the next grade down, the Sportline, which is slightly more affordable and still packs an enticing amount of standard equipment.
It just doesn’t have quite as much street cred for the school run.
2022 SKODA Kodiaq RS Wagon
Interior Comfort & Packaging
Infotainment & Connectivity