SKODA’S LARGE SUV IS A CRACKER
The Skoda Kodiaq is the first large SUV to be produced by the Czech manufacturer. Jack Evans gets behind the wheel to see if it’s any good.
This is a huge car for Skoda. Tapping into the ever-flourishing SUV market, the Kodiaq aims to give consumers a large, spacious and comfortable vehicle – but for a much lower price than those found with more premium rivals. Equipped with one of three engines – a 1.4-litre petrol, 2.0-litre petrol or 2.0-litre diesel – the Kodiaq is aiming squarely at larger families who still want to keep running costs low.
That means that even base-specification cars get a huge amount of standard equipment, while buyers of higher-grade models won’t feel shortchanged either, given the increase in the amount of tech on pricier versions.
This is a completely new segment for Skoda, and shows a lot of intent from the Czech brand. Well-known now for making reliable and well-priced cars, the Kodiaq comes as an extension of that ethos. With the decline of MPV and rise of SUV, the Kodiaq is a natural progression for the company – but it has to get it right first time if it hopes to succeed.
LOOKS AND IMAGE
We think Skoda has hit the nail on the head with the Kodiaq. It looks purpose- ful enough, but not too intimidating. The brand is doing well to shake off the ‘ boring’ image it was associated with for many years, with the Kodiaq helping this endeavour. Even base-specification cars ride on 17-inch alloy wheels, while top-of-the-range ‘Edition’ cars are fitted with large 19-inchers. Everything about the car feels solid and well put together – though there’s no mistaking that the Kodiaq is a Volkswagen group car, with plenty of tech included.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
If you’re looking to transport a large family, space is essential. Thankfully, this is where the Kodiaq does exceptionally well. The five-seat car affords its users a colossal 2,065 litres of boot space with the rear seats folded flat – the largest load area in the class.
The boot’s lip isn’t too high either, which makes loading larger items in and out a little easier, while the completely flat bed with the seats lowered adds to the excellent usability of the boot.
For those looking to take two more people, there’s a seven-seat version, giving another string to the Kodiaq’s already well-strung bow. You’re not going to incur much of a penalty in the practicality stakes for picking the seven-seater either, as its seats-flat load area is reduced to a still respectable 2,005 litres – which isn’t bad at all.
However, with that final row raised, the boot space is somewhat tight – something worth remembering if you’re planning on using the Kodiaq as a seven-seater most of the time.
WHAT’S UNDER THE BONNET?
The Kodiaq is offered from launch with two petrol engines, a 1.4-litre turbocharged unit producing 123bhp, and a 2.0-litre turbocharged one putting out 178bhp. There’s also a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel, which produces either 148bhp or 187bhp – the former of which is undoubtedly set to become the best seller.
Of course, the petrol units will suit those looking to drive the Kodiaq mainly around town, though the diesels will be the better option for people who plan on undertaking more miles. In short, there’s a good range of engines that offer something for everyone.
You’ve also got the option of either a six-speed manual, six-speed DSG or seven-speed DSG gearbox. Of course, four-wheel drive can be specified on all powertrains, though you’ll see a slight premium for this option. For example, while the base 1.4-petrol with a manual gearbox and two-wheel drive comes in at £21,495, the four-wheel-drive version – albeit only available in higher grade SE trim – retails for £25,445.
BEHIND THE WHEEL
When you first get into the Kodiaq, it can feel a little intimidating. Make no bones about it, it’s a big car. However, once you’re up and running, these reservations quickly disappear, as it’s surprisingly agile through the bends.
The steering is quite light, which can make it feel a little nervous at high speeds, but you quickly get used to this.
The advantage of such light steering is that the Kodiaq is a breeze to drive around town – although its size can sometimes be a hindrance.
Our car was equipped with the base 2.0-litre engine, which produces 148bhp and 240Nm torque. It’s this that is likely to be the most popular – it offers the best combination of power and efficiency, with a claimed 51.4mpg combined figure downright impressive.
The engine can feel a little lethargic at times, but we’re being particularly harsh here, as for the most part it whisks along rather nicely and doesn’t suffer too much with the car’s bulk.
It’s actually surprisingly easy to park, too. Large wing mirrors give you a decent view of the area behind you as well. Se-specification cars – due to be the most popular – get a reversing camera, which is something we’d highly recommend.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Skoda cars have always excelled at offering consumers quite a lot for their money, and the Kodiaq is no different. Base-level S cars get 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning and a leather multifunction steering wheel. There’s also DAB radio and smartphone connectivity. The S, however, is only available with the 1.4-litre petrol engine, with prices starting at £21,495.
Middle-grade SE cars get 18-inch alloy wheels, cruise control and rear parking sensors. There’s also an infotainment system controlled via an eight-inch display – and this comes with a car priced at £22,495.
Move up the specification table and you’ll start adding elements such as 19-inch alloys, Alcantara upholstery and full LED headlights. In short, in any spec the Kodiaq features a lot of technology, which will be popular with those looking to get a little bit more for their money.
WHO WOULD BUY ONE?
The Kodiaq is ideal for families looking for a smart and spacious way to get around. With a seven-seat option, as well as an impressively large boot, the Kodiaq affords its owners a decent amount of practicality that is crucial in this segment.