The addition of a sporty flavour to our 2017 Car of the Year winner goes down well with Cathy Parker.
Sporty and SUV – two words not often heard in the same context, but Skoda has pulled it off with the two Sportline versions of its award winner Kodiaq SUV. You can get the Sportline in TSI (petrol) or TDI (diesel) versions, the one we tried was the petrol. The Sportline sits at a $6,000 premium over the previous top of the line Style ($62,990 for the TSI version and $67,990 for the TDI). The changes are primarily cosmetic inside and out (the drivetrain is unchanged). At the front you get blacked out mirrors, grille frame and spoiler, along the flanks there are black strips around the windows and body coloured side trim and at the rear silver trim in the lower bumper. Along with the Sportline alloys these make for a substantial difference in the Sportline’s appearance, aided by the striking red colour of the test vehicle. Inside the changes are more significant with very grippy front sports seats finished in black Alcantra and leather with this trim repeated in the door panels. The interior sporting feel is completed with some steel pedals and leather steering wheel. This was our first drive of the petrol version of the Kodiaq. It loses about 8kw of power and 80 Nm of torque compared to the diesel but does hold its peak torque over a bigger rev range. This shows on the road with very smooth power delivery that lack a final ‘urge’ at the top end. The gear changes are smooth from the DSG gearbox. The ride seems firmer than the Style – which may be due to the lower profile tyres, this does result in a somewhat choppy ride feeling round town but amazingly flat cornering on the open road hustling around corners with aplomb where it doesn’t really feel like a typical SUV. For what is not a huge vehicle the load space is impressive as is the rear leg room, the second row of seats can be adjusted fore and aft to suit the user. We like the cargo blind which can be stored in a compartment under the load floor when not in use. The large eight-inch multi-function screen gives easy access to all functions including Apple Carplay and Android Auto along with Navigation, reverse camera and audio. The interior ergonomics are good with everything easy to reach and key controls duplicated on the steering wheel. And that is not to forget the usual Skoda surprise and delight features such as an umbrella in each of the front door handles, rechargeable torch in the luggage area and the protectors that pop out to protect the rear edges of the front doors when you open them. So, feeling a bit sporty but need a practical seven-seater SUV, then all is not lost as the Kodiaq Sportline ticks the sporty boxes whilst delivering SUV practicality with all the features that made it our Car of the Year.