Skoda's large Kodiaq SUV makes even bigger impression
Skoda has now shaken up the large sport utility vehicle market with its Kodiaq. It's a big, roomy family wagon with loads of style, space and value. Motoring editor Andy Russell climbs aboard.
Get the big things right and the smaller things fall into place… sound advice followed by Skoda which kicked off its new sport utility vehicle range with the large Kodiaq.
It certainly got noticed, pulling in awards for its style, value, driving appeal and towing ability which bodes well for the smaller Karoq which is waiting in the wings.
Looks and image
Skoda’s debut large sport utility vehicle, and first seven-seater, is a handsome car that is wooing Skoda new customers – it had record levels of pre-launch interest for the brand and attracted plenty of comment while I was driving it.
It takes the Skoda family styling to a new level, transferring the strong creases and angles to the SUV sector for a robust, rugged look.
Under the bonnet
Despite refined 125 and 150PS 1.4-litre and 180PS 2.0-litre turbo petrols, which could appeal to lower-mileage drivers, it’s diesels to the fore with 150 and 190PS 2.0-litre TDI models. The 150PS version, in all but entry S spec, will be most popular, offering manual or automatic gearboxes, front or all-wheel drive. In 190PS guise it’s seven-speed auto, 4x4 and top two trim levels only.
The more powerful version costs £1,160 more but if you regularly tow, or get off the beaten track, you might feel it’s worth it for the extra pulling power. It goes well but still returned a respectable 40mpg overall and 47mpg on a run.
How it drives
The Kodiaq is one of the more civilised SUVs with exceptionally good ride quality even with the SE L’s 19in alloy wheels which, thankfully, have deep-walled tyres – comfort is more important than a sporty drive in this sector.
That said, the Kodiaq’s handling makes it quite at home on country roads with well-weighted, responsive steering, plenty of grip and not too much body sway for a tall SUV through corners but its bulk is the limiting factor on narrow, twisty roads.
Space and comfort
Big on the outside, it feels even bigger inside with oodles of space up front and in the 60/40 split second row of seats which slide back and forth to vary legroom and the backs recline. Seven-seat models get a third row of two seats which fold up from the boot floor. They’re best suited to children but there’s decent access and small adults can manage short hops if supple enough to get into them.
The extra two seats cut load space – 630 against 720 litres in five-seat mode and 2,005 compared to 2,065 litres with all back seats folded flat – but you’ve still got a vast boot as good as most large estate cars. Even with all seven seats up, there’s still 270 litres of space for shopping bags and soft holdalls. Full marks for being able to store the roller load cover under the boot floor with the flip up cover also restraining smaller cargo.
The Kodiaq has taken Skoda interiors to a new level of quality and aesthetic design with top-notch materials and thoughtful, innovative Simply Clever features which are at the heart of Skoda’s user-friendly ethos. Family wagons need lots of cabin storage and the Kodiaq delivers.
At the wheel
With plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment, drivers – small or tall – will feel at home behind the clean, uncluttered fascia with clear, white-on-black instruments.
Most functions are controlled via the high-set, responsive touchscreen which does away with lots of buttons on the dashboard, apart from traditional rotary controls and buttons for the heating and ventilation which are much easier to use. Connectivity is a strong point to link smartphones to keep in touch on the move.
The Kodiaq takes Skoda into new territory but this large SUV certainly has all the qualities and talents to make a big impression.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: Skoda Kodiaq SE L 2.0 TDI 4x4 DSG auto £34,035 (range £22,190 to £36,330)
Engine: 1,968cc, 190PS, four-cylinder turbo diesel mated to seven-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox
Performance: 0-62mph 9.1 seconds; top speed 129mph
MPG: Urban 42.8; extra urban 53.3; combined 49.6
CO2 emissions: 151g/km
Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 32pc
Insurance group: 21E (out of 50)
Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles
Will it fit in the garage? L 4,697mm; W (including door mirrors) 2,087mm; H 1,676mm