In a bid to widen their product portfolio and also to enter the lucrative entry level premium SUV segment, Skoda will be launching the Kodiaq SUV for the Indian market. At a press conference, Skoda revealed details of the Kodiaq, Octavia RS and Rapid Monte Carlo. Here's the lowdown.
The Skoda Kodiaq made its global debut at the German International Motor Show in September, 2016. The SUV then went into production for International markets just a month after.
The Skoda Kodiaq is the first seven-seater SUV from the czech car manufacturer, in the Indian market and is based on Parent Company Volkswagen's MQB platform, which also underpins the Volkswagen Tiguan.
The Kodiaq features Skoda's latest crystalline design language, with sharp lines and creases all over the bodywork. The LED headlamp and taillamp, are used as character-defining elements in the design. The radiator grille features the signature Skoda butterfly design and the raked LED headlights gives the front end a modern and menacing stance.
Skoda has said that the Kodiaq is available in various states of tune and different engine options around the world, but failed to mention what the Indian version would be powered by. However, given that the 1.4-litre to 2.0-litre engine range is also available in other Indian Skoda models, it is safe to assume that this is what the Skoda Kodiaq will be powered by.
We expect the Skoda Kodiaq to be powered by the same range of engines currently found in Skoda's Indian product range. The 1.8-litre TSI turbo-petrol engine and the 2.0-litre TDI turbo-diesel in two states of tune.
Skoda Kodiaq customers would also get choices when it comes to transmission, as the engines will be available with either a 6-Speed Manual gearbox, or a 6-speed DSG transmissions. A 4×4 drivetrain would also be available as an option on the top-spec variant.
Inside the cabin, the Skoda Kodiaq features premium upholstery and a host of other features including a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, electric driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, engine start/stop button, etc.
Safety is top notch on the Skoda Kodiaq, as it received a Five-Star safety rating in the Euro NCAP crash tests. The model which received the Five-star rating was the Europe-spec Ambition Trim with seven airbags, seatbelt pretensioners with load limiters, ISOFIX rear child seat mounts and seat belt reminder.
It also features driver aids such as autonomous emergency braking, speed assistance and an optional lane-assist system. We can expect the Indian version also to be safe, but not as safe as the European one.
Skoda Octavia RS
The Octavia RS is a high-performance version of the regular Octavia. The Octavia in itself is no slouch, but Skoda has gone ahead and put the vRS badge on it, meaning that the car is equipped with several features enabling it to go faster.
The vRS badge first made an appearance on the Skoda Octavia in 2004 and has now made a comeback with the 2017 model. The Octavia RS is based on the Octavia facelift that was launched last month.
Cosmetic changes include a new sportier body kit, bigger alloys and a dual exhaust pipe. The Sports performance though, comes from 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines. The 2.0-litre TSI petrol unit produces a maximum power of 227bhp and a peak torque of 350Nm. The front wheels are driven through a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed DSG transmission.
The 2.0-litre TDI diesel unit produces 181bhp and 400Nm, and transmission duties are handled by either a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed DSG transmission. Skoda also is offering the diesel-powered variant with an AWD (All-Wheel-Drive) drivetrain as an optional extra.
We expect the AWD drivetrain to be given only on the top-spec variant. Furthering the performance roots is the electronic limited slip differential on the front axle on both powertrain options. The Skoda Octavia RS is capable of accelerating from 0-100km/h in 6.7 seconds before topping out at an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h.
Details of the Skoda Octavia RS and Skoda Kodiaq were revealed at an event where Skoda also revealed the Skoda Rapid Monte Carlo edition. The three cars are set to be launched in the upcoming months with the Rapid Monte Carlo being launched first. The Octavia RS would follow suit and only then would the Skoda Kodiaq be revealed.
Skoda also revealed that the special edition Rapid and the Octavia RS would be launched in August, leaving the Kodiaq, which would most likely be launched by the end of September.
Skoda has come to be known as a manufacturer of premium sedans, priced lower than other European cars in the same segment. Skoda has not really created an image for itself as an SUV manufacturer, not in the Indian market at least.
Skoda had earlier sold the Yeti in India, which was an extremely capable SUV, but did not sell-well, maybe because it was a small, 5-seater SUV with a high price. But Now, the Kodiaq is here, and things look good. It will, however, be entering a highly competitive segment. Will it be able to sustain against the Toyota Fortuner's reign? Only time can tell.
With the Octavia RS though, it is obvious that it would be a success with that much performance packed into it, and also because, technically, it has no competition. However, this is not a high-volume model and will not sell in big numbers.