New 2021 Skoda Kodiaq facelift brings tougher looks and new vRS

The updated Skoda Kodiaq SUV gets design tweaks with a more imposing front end, while the hot Kodiaq vRS gets Golf GTI power

Skoda has revealed a mid-life facelift for its largest SUV, the Kodiaq. It arrives four years into the model’s lifespan, and it marks a milestone in the brand’s current SUV offensive – this was the car that kickstarted the brand’s push into several SUV markets, with smaller offerings such as the Karoq and Kamiq, and the new all-electric Enyaq, too. 

According to Skoda design head Oliver Stefani, design changes for the facelift are intended to give the Kodiaq a “crisper” look, with the biggest alterations coming at the front end of the car. 

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The nose has been raised with a new, taller and more upright grille and a flatter bonnet. The headlights are slimmer than before and powered by LED technology as standard, with matrix LED headlights now available on the Kodiaq for the very first time, reserved for high-spec models. There’s also a new front bumper. 

Around the back, new LED taillights contribute to a more intricate look. On SE trim variants and above, dynamic indicators are included. New wheels 17 to 20 inches in design are available too. 

On the inside, the Kodiaq is a recipient of a new steering wheel available in two and three-spoke designs depending on the trim level. New decorative trim strips and contrasting stitching are available, while the interior ambient lighting system is more expansive than before. 

The Kodiaq is now available with both heated and ventilated front seats with a massage function – these are standard on the range-topping L&K trim version. The optional surround sound system from specialist Canton is now a ten speaker setup, compared with the eight speaker setup of old. 

The infotainment hardware remains as before, meaning central touchscreens eight and 9.2-inches in size are available, alongside a 10.25-inch fully digital instrument panel. Skoda’s ‘Laura’ voice assistant software is available alongside smartphone connectivity and navigation. 

Driver assistance and safety technology is built upon with the inclusion of Crew Protect Assist. This features additional radars at the rear of the car that can read and respond to vehicles approaching from behind that could pose a risk of a rear end collision. 

The regular petrol and diesel engine line-up carries over unchanged. It kicks off with a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder TSI petrol engine developing 148bhp and sending drive to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed automatic. A 187bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine with four-wheel-drive is also offered. 

Both diesel options are based on a 2.0-litre TDI engine with either 148bhp or 197bhp – both with a seven-speed DSG transmission and the latter fitted by default with four-wheel-drive. 

The facelift marks the return of the vRS model to the Kodiaq line-up. Like the facelift applied elsewhere in the range it gets a visual update along the same lines with a more imposing front end, new headlights and taillights, and a new front bumper, while the sporty interior complete with large sports seats is upholstered in black microfibre. The 10.25-inch virtual cockpit is standard equipment. 

The biggest change reserved for the new vRS, however, is the fitment of a petrol engine. While the previous version used a bi-turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel unit, the new hot Kodiaq borrows its motor from the latest Volkswagen Golf GTI. It’s a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine developing 242bhp. No performance specifications have been announced, but Skoda says it’s 60kg lighter than the diesel unit in the old model. 

The new Kodiaq goes on sale in July and will be available in S, SE, SE L and SportLine trim variants, plus the luxury oriented L&K model and the performance tilted vRS. If the UK line-up is to remain consistent with the pre-facelift model, the range will open in Britain with the SE car, with prices likely around the £27,000 mark.

Click here to read our in-depth review of the pre-facelifted Skoda Kodiaq…

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