Motoring review: Skoda Kodiaq
PUBLISHED: 12:46 04 July 2017
Skoda's new Kodiaq has made a big impression on the large SUV market - even before it arrives in showrooms. Motoring editor Andy Russell finds out why
When it comes to bums on seats Skoda is sitting pretty. As its all-new Kodiaq – Skoda’s first seven-seater and large sport utility vehicle – goes on sale, the brand is riding high with a record 80,732 UK sales last year.
This year it launches two new models and facelifts four others. Leading the way is the Kodiaq, named after the Alaska bear, which attracted 30,000-plus expressing serious interest after seeing the VisionS concept.
Looks & image
Bold, strong angles and sharp creases give this SUV an imposing presence. Shown off best in strong, metallic colours it brings a premium edge to the Skoda line-up.
The face is unmistakably Skoda with a dominant grille while the twin double-headlights’ intricate crystalline detailing is inspired by traditional Czech crystal glass art.
The back end has a hint of BMW’s X range – no bad thing as Skoda aims to woo more upmarket buyers.
Under the bonnet
The turbo engine line-up sees 125PS and 150PS 1.4-l petrol – the latter cutting to two cylinders to save fuel on a light throttle – and 180PS 2-l petrol and 150 and 190PS 2-l diesels. The 150PS units are offered with manual and DSG automatic gearboxes and two and four-wheel drive, the more powerful engines are auto and 4x4 only.
Diesels will take 70 per cent of sales, led by the 150PS unit which is refined, even revved hard, and brisk enough to whip past slow-moving traffic. The 150PS 1.4-l petrol revs sweetly but also has good low-down flexibility with maximum torque from just 1,500rpm for useful mid-range urgency.
How it drives
Skoda engineers have nailed the combination of ride and roadholding with the Kodiaq both rewarding and comfortable to drive, especially the heavier 4x4 diesel which feels even more planted on the road and up there with the best in this class.
Agile and well-mannered on twisty, cross-country routes with good steering feel, body roll is kept in check through fast corners which makes it thoroughly entertaining.
What you also notice, or rather don’t notice, is what’s going on under the tyres with supple suspension doing a fine job of soaking up poor surfaces.
Space & comfort
One of the largest SUVs in its class, the well-appointed interior takes Skoda to new levels of quality. It’s a really pleasant place to be. It’s bright and airy, adding to the feeling of space, with shapely and supportive seats. Long-legged passengers can stretch out in the back with the 60/40 split bench sliding 180mm lengthways and having adjustable back rests. A third row of two seats that fold into the boot floor are standard on SE L and flagship Edition and a £1,000 option on SE but they’re best for children when it comes to space and access.
The biggest boot in its class sees the five-seater model’s capacity rise from 720 to 2,065 litres with rear seats flat. The extra two seats eat into load space but there’s still 630 litres, growing to 2,005 litres. Even with all the seats in use the 270-l load space is on a par with a supermini.
At the wheel
You soon feel at home with a good range of seat and steering wheel adjustment, user-friendly controls and instruments, smart, upmarket trim and plenty of storage including two large gloveboxes. Simply Clever features include new door-edge protectors that wrap round the edge automatically when it is opened. It also debuts Skoda Connect with live journey information, real-time navigation, remote access via an app and help if you break down or have an accident.
Skoda’s broadest range of driver assistance systems include features to steer when reversing with a trailer and a bird’s eye view to help manoeuvring in tight spaces.
S includes LED daytime running lights, 17in alloy wheels, leather multi-function steering wheel, air-con, front collision warning to prevent low-speed accidents, keyless entry and ignition, touchscreen infotainment, DAB radio and smartphone connectivity.
SE gains cruise control, rear parking sensors, upgraded touchscreen, dual-zone climate control and automatic wipers and lights.
SE L gets seven seats, powered tailgate, 19in alloys, satellite navigation, heated front seats and LED headlights.
New Edition trim has leather seats, metallic paint, chrome roof rails and a host of driving aids.
Skoda has every reason to be optimistic about the Kodiaq. It can compete with the best in class, is hugely spacious, family friendly and competitively priced with affordable, attractive finance deals.
SKODA KODIAQ 1.4 TSI 150PS DSG FWD automatic
Engine: 1,395cc, 150PS, four-cylinder turbo petrol with active cylinder technology
Performance: 0-62mph 9.6 sec; top speed 123mph
MPG: Urban 37.7; extra-urban 50.4; combined 44.8
CO2 emissions: 143g/km
SKODA KODIAQ 1.4 TDI 150 4x4 manual
Engine: 1,968cc, 150PS, four-cylinder turbo diesel
Performance: 0-62mph 9.5 sec; top speed 122mph
MPG: Urban 44.1; extra urban 58.9; combined 52.3
CO2 emissions: 141/144g/km
Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles
Size: L 4,697mm; W (incl mirrors) 2,087mm; H (incl roof rails) 1,676mm