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Australia’s hot climate could halt Skoda Kodiaq RS

Cold comfort: Skoda is evaluating a hot RS version of the Kodiaq but it has to be able to cope with Australia’s often scorching temperatures (Sportline pictured).

Hot weather puts a cloud over Skoda’s warmed-over Kodiaq RS SUV

5 Jun 2017

MORE performance-focused RS variants are on the cards for Skoda in Australia, but Australia’s hot climate could prevent a warmed over version of the freshly launched Kodiaq SUV from being offered Down Under.

Skoda has just launched the Kodiaq in a single 4x4 132TSI grade, powered by a 132kW/320Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol unit, with a 140kW/400Nm turbo-diesel version set to hit showrooms before the end of the year.

But given the high take-up of hot RS variants in the Octavia range – currently sitting between 40 and 50 per cent of its overall monthly sales – and the insatiable appetite for performance models in Australia, Skoda Australia is keen on a spicy Kodiaq.

As previously reported, Skoda is likely to eschew the 169kW/350Nm turbo-petrol unit in the Octavia RS in favour of a diesel powerplant for the Kodiaq RS.

Skoda is yet to confirm it, but a number of European reports have suggested that RS will use a twin-turbo 2.0-litre diesel unit delivering 176kW and 500Nm that currently sees service in the European-spec Volkswagen Passat.

Speaking with GoAuto at the Kodiaq media launch last week, Skoda Australia director Michael Irmer said that the Kodiaq RS was “under evaluation” for the local market, but acknowledged the difficulties relating to the engine.

“Australia has certain different requirements,” he said. “When it comes to aspects such as the cooling system of the engine, and being such a high output engine.

“You test it in at the maximum temperature you ever have in a heat wave with a trailer on the steepest hill you could find under full load and full throttle, and under the circumstances it must be in a certain bandwidth.

“So we will see the outcome of that.” Australia’s hot climate means that Skoda would have to update the cooling systems in the RS to better handle the scorching conditions here. It is usually calibrated for European conditions,which are generally much cooler.

Skoda general manager of international sales Petr Solc told GoAuto that the company was hoping to bring the RS to market as early as possible in much the same way the local launch of the standard Kodiaq was brought forward by several months.

“We are evaluating the same that we did with the engine on Kodiaq, and so to pull it forward, because it is really important for us,” he said. “Also, here we are really pushing and discussing internally how to make this happen but nothing is decided yet.” If the Kodiaq RS gets the green light, it will be a unique offering in the Australian market, with no other mid-size or large non-premium SUVs available with a sports variant.

Volkswagen’s mechanically related Tiguan would be the closest contender, with the 162TSI Highline AWD powered by the Volkswagen Group’s 162kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that also propels the Golf GTI.

Skoda recently revealed the Scout and Sportline versions of the Kodiaq at the Geneva motor show, with the latter offering a sports bodykit and other enhancements, while the Scout features a more rugged look.

Another RS variant that is still under consideration is the Superb, and while Mr Irmer told GoAuto last November that the company was looking at a business case for it, he sounded less convinced about the chances of such a model last week.

“If there was an RS variant made available by the factory, we would definitely take it. The factory had said that it is under evaluation. I don’t actually know if the status has changed or not. It is not confirmed, that is for sure. It is about priorities. Obviously SUVs are booming. Passenger markets is (being) substituted by SUVs.

“The question is, when you have the choice of making another variant of a passenger car, or make an all-new SUV, which one are you going to go as an entrepreneur? You think about it like this. As much it is as nice to have, maybe it is even nicer to have something else.” One model segment that is unlikely for now is a halo sportscar, with a company spokesperson saying that it was not on the radar, as Mr Solc poured cold water on the idea.

“If you have to prioritise, what would you prioritise, and at the moment we head more towards the SUV.”

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