A fleet of 30 Skoda Kodiaq SUVs has joined West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to help senior staff attend incidents. The family 4x4s have all been adapted for the task, with communications systems in the cabin and emergency lights fitted to the roof.
The all-wheel-drive SUVs were selected by West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to ferry senior staff not based at headquarters to incidents and emergency situations. As well as fires, the team also responds to road traffic accidents, with more than 630 such incidents in the log during 2019.
To meet the challenges they will face, the Kodiaqs have been tricked out with a full fire-and-rescue conversion, including the adaptation of the central infotainment system. A first for Skoda, the set-up sees the emergency service’s warning system and communication platform blended with Skoda’s existing touchscreen navigation system.
Other tweaks specified by West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service included a light bar and siren, as well as 360-degree lighting. There’s a dedicated livery, too, which was added alongside the more technical details by Skoda’s approved specialist partners, Pressfab EVO Limited.
Under all the fire service modifications, though, the Kodiaqs are basically the same 2-litre diesel SE models you might find on a neighbour’s driveway. As such, they get 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control and ‘keyless’ push-button ignition, as well as LED daytime running lights and electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors.
Powering it all is a 2-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that churns out 148 bhp. That’s chunky enough to take the SUV from 0-62 mph in just under 10 seconds, while it will also return more than 40 mpg when driven more sedately, according to the official WLTP economy and emissions test.
“These new vehicles mark a significant investment in the fire and rescue service, and will ensure our officers are equipped with the very latest technology to help them respond in an emergency situation,” said Paul Mace, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s area manager for fleet operations.
“We have been delighted with the specification of the Kodiaq and were able to work closely with Skoda throughout the manufacturing process to ensure all of our officers’ needs are met. A key benefit of these new models is that they have allowed for the full integration of multiple additional systems into the vehicles’ standard systems, allowing for all controls to be coordinated in one central location.”