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Skoda Kodiaq 2021: RS bins diesel for turbo-petrol, gains a handsome new face


Now four years into the lifespan of the Kodiaq, Skoda has given its popular large SUV a makeover that will prove to be controversial for some.

Skoda has unveiled the facelifted version of the 2021 Skoda Kodiaq which will arrive in Australia in the fourth quarter of this year.

In a somewhat controversial move, Skoda has ditched the 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin-turbodiesel in the Kodiaq RS for an updated version of the single-turbo petrol found in the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI.

SKoda Kodiaq RS 2021 rear
Skoda have give the seven-seat Kodiaq a facelift and ditched the diesel in the RS

Skoda says the change is an inherent advantage with weight dropping by 60kg and power up from 176kW to 180kW. Torque drops massively by 130Nm to 370Nm but the manufacturer claims the engine will provide a more usable and linear powerband.

For comparison, the mechanically similar Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace with a 162kW tune of the same petrol engine accomplishes the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.8 seconds which beats out Kodiaq RS’s current claim of 6.6 seconds.

Performance-oriented diesels were once a flourishing segment, but with the Kodiaq turning to petrol options the Audi SQ5 midsize SUV remains one of the few options in this segment, alongside bigger vehicles such as the SQ7, SQ8 and Volkswagen Touareg V8 large SUVs.

Skoda Kodiaq 2021 base front 3/4
To give the base model a more prestigious appearance the Kodiaq now has silver trim under the bumpers

Skoda has given the Kodiaq RS a subtle exterior makeover with a new face that gives the seven-seater a cleaner appearance with a wide front intake, with rounder standard LED headlights fitted as standard and Matrix LED headlights also now an option.

The profile at the rear of the Kodiaq RS has stayed largely the same, with the single rear reflector cut into two smaller pieces with either side of the boot with grey trim in the centre to match the rest of the range.

Skoda has given the more pedestrian versions some subtle but important upgrades, with the plastic underbody bumpers now sporting silver trim at the bottom of the mould at both the front and rear to create a more premium appearance.

SKoda Kodiaq 2021 interior
Buyers now have the option to fit a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster

Nestled in the arches are a new set of alloy wheels that Skoda has redesigned across the range with up to 20-inch sets on offer in the Kodiaq RS, including a special ‘Aero Wheel’ option.

Skoda says the re-designed bumpers along with a revised spoiler with supporting side wing tips cut down on drag, though the impact on fuel economy is not likely to be dramatic.

Moving inside, the Kodiaq now offers perforated-leathers seats with electric adjustability, ventilation and a massage function in the top-trims while the entry-level models feature recycled vegan materials.

Skoda Kodiaq 2021 spoiler
Skoda has refined the aerodynamics by adding styling changes including supporting wing tips to the spoiler

A 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster is now an option across the range but standard in the full-fat Kodiaq RS, also available is a Canton premium sound system which throws in an extra two speakers for a combined total of ten. 

The family SUV also receives a more comprehensive safety suite with the rear sensors gaining the ability to monitor cars behind it to better respond to drivers who are likely to cause a collision, though it’s not clear how effective this will be just yet.

While exact Australia specification has yet to be released, we expect Skoda to closely follow the recipe overseas with exact details to be confirmed later this year.