Skoda Ko­diaq

While soak­ing up the ad­mir­ing glances, Charlie Flindt finds that he, too, is im­pressed with this new SUV. It’s even a “like” with his par­ty­ing teens

The Field - - MOTORING -

The new Skoda Ko­diaq has been a long time com­ing. While SUVS have been ar­riv­ing from Jaguar, Bent­ley, Maserati, Un­cle Tom Cob­ley and all, the Skoda show­rooms have re­mained free of the must-have ve­hi­cle of the age. So why the de­lay? Did Skoda think that the Oc­tavia Scout and Yeti cov­ered all bases? Did it con­sider fol­low­ing the herd to be a tri­fle undig­ni­fied?

We now know the rea­son for the long wait: Skoda wanted to make sure it got its SUV ab­so­lutely right – and if it meant a lengthy de­lay, so be it.

The first de­light is the styling. Truly, the Force is with the team who wield the magic pens at Skoda; the Ko­diaq’s lines and an­gles are stun­ning. I’m used to be­ing gaw­ped at while driv­ing the low-slung and ex­otic but fin­ger-point­ing and ap­prov­ing nods are a bit of a sur­prise while at the wheel of a Skoda. There seems to have been a tiny mix up with the front badge: the grille team and the bon­net team were both un­der the im­pres­sion that they had to leave room for the fa­mous winged ar­row. The bon­net team won.

The in­side is also a rev­e­la­tion. Cab­ins have been get­ting darker, pil­lars thicker and vis­i­bil­ity worse and worse. The Ko­diaq mer­rily re­verses this trend. You’ll spot it at your very first junc­tion: you can see out eas­ily. And, call me old fash­ioned, but that’s true safety. Mind you, there’s noth­ing new about the con­trols: they have been kept sim­ple and straight­for­ward and that, too, is a good thing.

I was blessed with the chance to carry out the ul­ti­mate SUV road test, which was to fetch tipsy teenagers from a party deep in the semi-ur­ban sprawl of what was once charm­ing south hamp­shire coun­try­side. The post-mid­night sprint down the M27 showed how lively the new gen­er­a­tions of small petrol en­gines can be and how good the Skoda’s sound­proof­ing is over a var­ied se­lec­tion of mo­tor­way sur­faces. A big­ger chal­lenge was ne­go­ti­at­ing the speed bumps in the ex­clu­sive gated de­vel­op­ment but the Ko­diaq skipped over them so well that it sort of de­feated their pur­pose.

“Dad, can we take three more home?” As it hap­pened, I could, thanks to the third row of seats. The small­est and most nu­bile were cho­sen (sad dads, look away now) and in they got. The trip round hamp­shire drop­ping them all off could have turned hor­ri­bly messy – es­pe­cially over those speed bumps – so more praise to the sus­pen­sion is due. My pas­sen­gers gig­gled and squealed and said “like” a lot, as they re­lived the events, the gos­sip and the scan­dal of a lively evening. But more than one com­mented on how much they liked (us­ing the word cor­rectly, for once) the Ko­diaq, so they weren’t that drunk. I smiled qui­etly to my­self and chuck­led at my stage in life; a 4x4 road test would, once upon a time, have in­volved mud and dif­fer­en­tials.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Skoda. The Ko­diaq is a fan­tas­tic ad­di­tion to its sta­ble. It may have been an unusu­ally long time com­ing but it was cer­tainly, like, worth the wait. Like.

The Ko­diaq skipped over the speed bumps so well that it sort of de­feated their pur­pose

Clock­wise from top: nice lines and styling; a light cabin and good vis­i­bil­ity; con­trols re­main sim­ple

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