Skoda Australia has set its sights on the performance SUV market with confirmation that its hot Kodiaq RS high-rider will be offered in local showrooms, complete with a full-fat 176kW/500Nm 2.0-litre twin-turbo-diesel powertrain.

With drive sent to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the Kodiaq RS can blitz the zero-to-100km/h sprint in a warm-hatch-bruising 7.0 seconds.

As Skoda’s second RS-badged model next to the 180kW/370Nm Octavia RS, the seven-seat Kodiaq RS easily outpowers the likes of the 147kW/500Nm Holden Trailblazer, 147kW/440Nm Hyundai Santa Fe, 140kW/450Nm Mazda CX-8 and even the Ranger Raptor-powered 157kW/500Nm Ford Everest. Skoda Australia has yet to confirm pricing as order books will open before year’s end ahead of an expected launch in early 2020, but except a premium over the current 140kW/400Nm Kodiaq 140TDI that retails for $52,990 before on-road costs.

Full specification is also yet to be locked down, but Skoda Australia has already confirmed 20-inch wheels, red brake callipers, leather interior and all-digital instrumentation, as well as blacked-out side mirrors, front grille and roof rails.

Except to also see Australian-delivered versions equipped with the brand’s 8.0-inch touchscreen multimedia system and a bespoke ‘Dynamic Chassis Control’ system with selectable driving modes. Safety gear should also carryover from the standard Kodiaq line-up to the RS-badged variant, which includes front and rear parking sensors, nine airbags, and adaptive cruise control. Though a cloud has hung over the viability of the high-performance engine for Australia since the Kodiaq RS’ debut at last year’s Paris motor show due to hot-weather climates, Skoda Australia boss Michael Irmer said the Czech brand had been hard at work to validate the new flagship SUV for local conditions.

“Since its launch, we have been working tirelessly to bring the Kodiaq RS to our shores, he said.

“The project to bring the high-performance bi-turbo diesel-powered Kodiaq RS has seen collaboration between Australian and Czech technical teams sharing data and know-how. It is because of their shared passion for the Skoda brand, and this exciting car, that we can finally offer an RS-spec SUV.” The Kodiaq RS also nabbed the Nurburgring lap record for a seven-seat production SUVlast year, setting a time of 9:29.84.

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