Skoda has confirmed that its diesel-powered Kodiaq vRS is being gradually phased out of production thanks to the introduction of tighter EU6 AP emissions limits next year. In an official statement, the Czech brand said the 240hp oil burner will be succeeded by a vRS using a different engine when the Kodiaq range is facelifted. It remained tight-lipped on further details, but given the incoming limits on NOx, we’re pretty confident that it won’t be a drinker of the black pump.
“The Kodiaq vRS is one of the most successful variants of the Kodiaq,” said Skoda in the statement. “[The model] keeps attracting new customers,” so “the Kodiaq vRS will be an integral part of the Kodiaq family”, it added. “We can confirm that an updated vRS will be re-introduced with the upgraded Kodiaq PA”; that's something down for arrival in 2021, at which point that new European Union emissions standard will be in full force.
Our best guess is, predictably, for the VW Group’s 2.0-litre petrol to fill the updated vRS engine bay, as it would be a technically easy switch because the EA888 evo4 and MQB platform aren’t exactly new acquaintances. It might take from the Skoda’s biggest USP, that enormous breadth of ability, enabled in part by the delivery of low-rev grunt and mid-thirties combined economy. But as far as petrol motors go, the four-pot is arguably the most rounded one out there.
It’s also easily capable of achieving a peak power output to at least match the 240hp diesel’s; the new Golf GTI, for example, gets 245hp out of the box with the evo4 lump. Its 273lb ft of torque is well down on the current Kodiaq vRS’s 370lb ft, but we’d expect the SUV to get a different spec of motor so the deficit could be smaller. That’s our best guess, anyway, given the targets of the new emissions standard and the vRS’s performance targets.
What about plug-in power for the 2021 model? Earlier comments from Skoda bosses have suggested the Kodiaq range-topper will remain pure-combustion-powered through this generation. It’s probably got lots to do with keeping costs down, the top Kodiaq presently starting from £45,740. Those to drive one will realise just how extensive the machine’s talents are, but expect Skoda to be doing everything it can to retain a high level of value for money in the next version. The car's success will surely count on it, no matter the power source.
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