During the golden days of Top Gear, episode 1 from series 16 put Jeremy Clarkson behind the wheel of the Skoda Yeti – the Czech automaker's very first SUV. In a bid to show the toughness of the quirky high-riding vehicle made in Kvasiny, the TG crew slapped on a 100-kilogram (220-pound) roof rack on a completely standard Yeti and then landed a 600-kg (1,323-lbs) helicopter on top of it.
Fast forward to 2021, Skoda has now performed a similar stunt with the recently facelifted Kodiaq. As was the case with the Yeti a decade ago, the firm's largest SUV was not reinforced prior to becoming a helipad. That said, the VW Group brand says the rear suspension had to be strengthened to "ensure the axles were optically balanced."
Attached below is the scene with the Yeti from episode 1, series 16, which originally aired in January 2011.
Truth be told, TG did it in a more spectacular fashion as the helicopter landed on the Yeti's roof while the car was in motion. The Kodiaq was standing still, with its roof-mounted steel structure designed to distribute the weight evenly. Skoda explains the platform – which consists of wooden boards – was attached to the roof frame, replacing the roof rails you'll find on a standard version of the SUV.
The red helicopter is a Robinson R22, which costs about $325,000 (approx. £238,000) and has a maximum gross weight of 622 kilograms (1,370 pounds). Skoda's flagship SUV with the unusual "accessory" was showcased recently at the Robinson Helicopter Session 2021, a meeting of helicopter owners and pilots held at home in Mladá Boleslav.
Gallery: Skoda Kodiaq becomes helipad
The Kodiaq received a mid-cycle update a few months ago, bringing matrix LED headlights and a 2.0-litre petrol engine for the sporty RS version, which used to have a twin-turbodiesel unit before the facelift. Named after the largest brown bear, the three-row SUV is also available in a sleeker GT specification with a coupe-like roofline, but this version is only sold in China.