Can Skoda's big bear ques­tion the need for a Ger­man badge?

Evo India - - CONTENTS - Pho­tog­ra­phy: Gau­rav S Thom­bre

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

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