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2021 is shaping up to be an important year for Skoda considering the new model arrivals. We’re mainly talking about the fully electric Enyaq SUV and the next-generation Fabia (with a Combi confirmed), but next year we’ll also see a swoopy Enyaq GT and this – the Kodiaq facelift. The big bear in Mladá Boleslav’s lineup is about to get a nip and tuck for a mid-cycle update, which was recently spotted undergoing testing.

Caught by Pavel Srp on the D11 highway in the Czech Republic where the new Fabia was spied last week, the 2021 Kodiaq prototype had camouflage exactly where you’d expect – at the front and rear. Being only a facelift, the cosmetic surgery will be mainly limited to the lights and bumpers. We can already tell the headlights (bound to feature matrix LED tech) have new DRLs with the light bar gradually rising as it approaches the grille.

Speaking of which, the front grille has been tweaked as it appears to have a flatter design and might incorporate a different (but still quite obtrusive) radar sensor. The bumper's front air intakes seem to be a tad more prominent and there might be some changes to the lower grille as well, but the camouflage gets in the way.

Moving at the back, the shape of the taillights will probably be carried over to cut costs as any change in the cluster’s shape would require a new fender and/or tailgate design. To spruce up the Kodiaq a bit, the LED taillights seem to have slightly modified graphics, but it’s a minor change that only Skoda fans are going to notice.

With this being only a facelift, the interior will be essentially carried over from the current Kodiaq introduced a little over four years ago. Skoda is likely to install its latest and greatest infotainment system and the updated digital instrument cluster as seen on the Octavia. New upholstery and trim options are on the menu, but nothing to write home about.

Bigger changes will occur under the hood where we’re expecting the seven-seat SUV to gain a plug-in hybrid system for the Kodiaq iV. We’ve also heard through the grapevine the Kodiaq RS might lose its twin-turbodiesel engine in some markets and switch to gasoline power, but nothing is official at this point.

As you may recall, the Kodiaq RS holds a very specific Nürburgring record as it’s the fastest three-row SUV to lap the Green Hell. Sabine Schmitz needed 9 minutes and 29.84 seconds to complete a lap of the Nordschleife in the Czech family hauler, putting the 2.0-liter BiTDI’s 236 hp and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) to the test.

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