Vehicles in the SUV class, whilst being very popular, are not generally designed to make an emphatic statement. Certainly they are versatile but the nature of the design means they all tend to look alike.
Once in a while though a brand will pull off a real success story and the Skoda Kodiaq is a case in point. It is a big, bold shape that maximises the potential of a vehicle in this sector. It is Skoda’s first attempt at a seven-seat car and they have hit the bulls-eye.
With prices starting at under £22,000 it is great value too. Even the range-topping, 2.0L 178bhp turbo-petrol model featured here, loaded with extras, still only rings the till at £35,000. With what you get it is something of a bargain.
Technology fans will not be disappointed. At higher spec levels all the goodies we have come to expect are on board: Columbus satellite navigation and infotainment packed into an 8” screen with DAB, Bluetooth, Smartlink and SD card-readers and the like means contact with the outside world remains as comprehensive as being in the office.
Safety and security is taken care of by multi-collision brake, ABS and all the usual road safety suspects known by their acronyms; plus the optional all-wheel drive and KESSY – keyless entry with alarm and interior monitoring.
Available with five or seven seats, the Skoda Kodiaq has the capacity to carry the long distance load when only one car has to do for business or family fun. Quality is very good, too. No longer the poor relation brand, Skoda have, with the Kodiaq (and the Superb hatchback), delivered an interior that isn’t far off the level of classy perfection and comfort found in higher-end Volkswagens. Plastics are solid and details like the door bins and soft-touch materials help to further diminish the reputation of old.
The driving position is high, mighty and just about perfect. There’s plenty of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel to set everything up to suit most sizes of driver. Passengers have loads of room and even with the rear seats in the up position the boot is more than ample for a big shopping trip. With the seats down it is cavernous. I thought I heard an echo.
On The Road
The Skoda Kodiaq is big all right but it is very manouverable. Depending upon engine choice performance varies from acceptable to really quite sporty as in the 2.0L TSI featured here with a 7 ratio DSG gearbox. Automatic is the way to go here, being superior to the bog-standard six-speed manual which somehow doesn’t really suit the car.
There’s a variety of petrol and diesel engines on offer with a hybrid on the way for 2019. Even though diesel is out of favour these days, I would suggest that it is still the way to go. The 2.0L petrol is a tad thirsty especially, as was the case during this test week, when the car was loaded to the roof with luggage and people. There are more economical petrol engines available though.
Big SUVs have a tendency to sway a bit through the corners – but not the Kodiaq. Compared with rivals it’s remarkably agile and good to drive. There’s loads of grip, especially with AWD and ride comfort is up there with the best.
I can see this car as being a good business / family choice. Running costs and BIK rival the prestige saloons with the added benefit of immense practicality.