Can Skoda's big bear question the need for a German badge?
ARE YOU IN THE market for a 7-seat SUV but definitely do not want anything like a Fortuner or its ladder-frame rivals? Even with budget no bar, the choices are quite limited – the Mahindra XUV 500 and Hexa at one end and then a big gap till you get to the likes of the Discovery Sport and then eight-figure Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS. It's that gap that Skoda is set to plug with its first full-size SUV, the Kodiaq. Keen readers will remember that Skoda did fill the gap previously as well, with the quirky Yeti, but that was just too small, too overpriced, and specced all wrong. Why it never got an automatic transmission, even in the mid-life facelift, is one of the car industry's enduring mysteries.
Strictly speaking, the Kodiaq isn't the Yeti's replacement, that job being
Adone by the recently unveiled Karoq that has a 50:50 chance of coming to India. But for now the Kodiaq is Skoda's only SUV for India and it moves Skoda into the positioning that it has always been comfortable with in India – a premium positioning. Named after the Alaskan brown bear it sits right on top of the range, above even the Superb, and is the most expensive offering from the Czech brand, testing the appetite of Indian buyers for a Skoda.
Does it have more presence? SUVs have a job at hand: scare the heck out of other cars on the road with their massive proportions. The Kodiaq is properly big too. At 4697mm and 2087mm, it is longer and wider than many SUVs, be it the GLA or even the GLC, to put it into perspective. It may not have the