The Skoda Kodiaq is one handsome hunk of a motor.

Now this large SUV (sports utility vehicle) with seven-seat capability has been to the automotive gym to pump iron for more power and performance.

The new vRS version boasts the most powerful production diesel engine in the marque’s history, delivering 237bhp. And it looks the part, too, with a bold and dynamic design to carry that vRS badge, which references a proud rally sport history.

Sitting on 20in alloys, the car has a purposeful air, with gloss-black elements for the bodywork, including the radiator grille, window frames and wing mirror housings.

The bumpers have been redesigned, and the rear features a deflector that spans the width of the car, while the exhaust system’s decorative tailpipes with chrome effect are visible below the rear apron. 

The interior also has a performance feel with carbon-finish dashboard and door inserts, three-spoke leather sports multi-function steering wheel and Alcantara-trimmed sports seats and door panels, featuring vRS stitching and logo. 

A black roof headlining, aluminium pedals, and door sill panels with Kodiaq logo also enhance the look.

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A wealth of features include electrically adjustable driver’s seat with memory function, electrically adjustable, heated, foldable and auto-dimming door mirrors also with memory function, cruise control, electrically operated tailgate, full LED headlights with adaptive front light system and LED daytime running lights, posh satnav with 9.2in touchscreen, dual zone air conditioning with humidity sensor and control, infotainment online and Skoda Connect’s mobile online services.

You will also find light and rain sensors, privacy glass, front and rear parking sensors, rear spoiler with integrated LED brake light, and red brake calipers.

Our test car had the seven-seat option. The five-seater offers an impressive 725-litre boot with the seats in position and 1,960 litres when the seats are folded down. 

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With all of its seats occupied, the seven-seater has a boot capacity of 230 litres; this increases to 715 litres with the third row of seats folded down and 1,950 litres with the second and third row of seats folded down. 

There is great attention to detail too, with handy features including boot nets, an umbrella compartment in the front door and ice scraper in the fuel filler flap, a ticket holder on the driver’s side windscreen pillar and a removable LED torch in the boot. 

The driving experience is rewarding and the car feels agile, belying its size, with bags of smooth power laid down via a seven-speed automatic gearbox.

There is a driving mode selector and an on-demand four-wheel drive system. I didn’t have the opportunity to try out the Kodiaq vRS over the rough stuff but previous experience of other Skoda models in testing conditions suggests the performance will be more than capable.

Performance figures are 0–62 mph in seven seconds and a top speed of 136mph. Fuel consumption – WLTP combined: 35.3 - 34.0mpg (all manufacturer’s figures).

Price: £44,680 inc options.