Skoda has been pretty silent so far this year. But soon, things are about to change as it will be launching the much anticipated Kodiaq SUV and Octavia RS in September 2017. And, as I write this, my colleagues are driving the Octavia facelift which will also be launched soon. The Skoda Kodiaq is the first 7-seater SUV from the brand and will be a direct rival to the Ford Endeavour and the Toyota Fortuner in India. A lot of people have been waiting for the Kodiaq to arrive as it is seriously loaded with features and has some off-road capability as well. The Octavia RS, on the other hand, has every driving enthusiast in the country excited as the much-awaited performance sedan finally makes a comeback.
The Skoda Kodiaq looks upmarket. It is an example of what Skoda does best – combine European build quality with stylish looks and premium features. In terms of size, the Kodiaq is a direct rival to the Hyundai Santa Fe. The length (4,700mm) and width (1,880mm) are the same as the Hyundai but the Kodiaq has a longer wheelbase by 90mm. In terms of height, it is lower than the Santa Fe. This makes the Kodiaq possess a more estate-like stance rather than an outright SUV. In India, the Kodiaq will be available with two engine options – a 180PS 2-litre petrol and a 150PS 2-litre turbo diesel. In terms of transmission, the Kodiaq will get a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with a possible all-wheel drive setup. There are a lot of clever features in the Kodiaq as well. The last Octavia RS came to India in 2011. Since then, the driving purists of the country have been longing for an affordable performance sedan. The last one, the Skoda Laura vRS, carried a price tag of Rs.15.19 lakh and was powered by a 1.8-litre turbo petrol which produced 160PS of peak power and was mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. But now, the vRS badge has really stepped up its game. The current generation Octavia vRS produces 230PS of power and 350Nm of max torque from a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine. And, for the first time, it gets a 6-speed DSG as an option and the 0-100 dash takes 6.7 seconds.
But, if we were to get really hopeful, there is an Octavia RS 245 as well. It gets 15 more horses and is faster to 100kmph by 0.1seconds compared to the standard RS. But these sedans will be CBUs and could be priced near the Rs.23 lakh mark. Both the Skoda Kodiaq and the Octavia RS are targeted towards select audiences. The Kodiaq will appeal to buyers who want a comfortable and feature-loaded 7-seater for city use whereas the Octavia RS will become the daily driver of performance enthusiasts or a heavily tuned track weapon for the weekends. Nonetheless, both these cars will help Skoda reach deeper into the market. Expect both these cars to be priced around the Rs.20-23 lakh mark.