Skoda’s su­per sleuth

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Keenan

SKODA goes far be­yond the bear ne­ces­si­ties to make its new Kodiaq stand out from the herd – or sleuth to be tech­ni­cally cor­rect. Why use the col­lec­tive term for a group of bears? Well the moniker and design for this SUV are in­spired by one of the world’s largest spec­i­mens – the Ko­diak – which lives on the Alaskan ar­chi­pel­ago of the same name.

But while the Czech mo­tor man­u­fac­turer’s Kodiaq is as durable and mus­cu­lar as the 3,500 bears left on the is­lands, it is also a clever Hec­tor.

In a sec­tor packed with top-notch com­peti­tors, Skoda has loaded the Kodiaq with a num­ber of com­mon sense in­no­va­tions un­der its ‘Sim­ply Clever’ ban­ner to add to the en­gines, prac­ti­cal­ity and hi-tech gad­getry needed to be a suc­cess in this mo­tor­ing part of the world.

As the name im­plies they do not pre­tend to be stun­ning tech­ni­cal ad­vances but rather neat ideas to make life eas­ier. They in­clude a ticket holder on the side of the wind­screen to clip car park­ing vouch­ers to and a rear-folding arm­rest that also in­cor­po­rates a holder for two half-litre bot­tles. There are also pre-loaded springs to pre­vent the metal edges of the doors from scrap­ing a wall or other ve­hi­cles and an um­brella hid­den in each front door panel.

Sim­ply Clever is the ic­ing on a tasty SUV cake that of­fers a choice of five power units – three petrol and a diesel duo with power out­puts from 125 to 190ps – and four trim grades, in­clud­ing the SE model I drove.

All the en­gines in­clude stop-start while gear­box choice is ei­ther man­ual or the slick DSG twin-clutch au­to­matic I came to know and love. As well as my front-wheel drive ver­sion there is also all-wheel drive avail­able.

I drove the 2.0 TDI model but with diesel mo­tors look­ing to be­come an en­dan­gered if not ex­tinct species in the not too dis­tant fu­ture it is the petrol op­tions that are more likely to catch the car-buy­ing pub­lic’s eye.

To that end the 1.4-litre TSI power unit may be favourite as it of­fers 150ps on tap and av­er­ages 44.8mpg with car­bon emis­sions of 143g/km.

Ev­ery model – even the en­try level S – gets a boat­load of kit with air con, digital ra­dio, touch­screen info set-up and SmartLink phone con­nec­tiv­ity thrown in.

The SE front-wheel drive model adds trin­kets such as cruise con­trol, pow­ered and heated door mir­rors, plus an ar­ray of clever elec­tronic and safety gad­gets to help keep you out of trou­ble and, should that fail, help pre­vent in­jury to oc­cu­pants.

An Amund­sen sat nav sys­tem was a natty op­tion adding £755 to the SE’s price-tag of £27,115.

The in­te­rior uses good qual­ity ma­te­ri­als and is com­fort­able with an abun­dance of leg and head­room so five adults are eas­ily catered for. If you wish to carry sub­sti­tutes as well as a five-a-side team then seven-seater ver­sions of the Kodiaq are of­fered.

The ex­te­rior is typ­i­cally Skoda with bold design cues catch­ing the eye such as the LED day­time run­ning lights and smart 18-inch al­loy wheels.

The front fog lights and LED rear lights plus a spoiler with an in­te­grated brake light all make their pres­ence felt.

By the way, if you’re won­der­ing why the Kodiaq has a dif­fer­ent spell­ing from its furry name­sake then Skoda ex­plain: “The Alu­tiiq, the na­tives, call the bear Taq uka ‘aq – the let­ter q at the end is a char­ac­ter­is­tic of an­i­mal names. Skoda’s use of the let­ter q cre­ates a dis­tinc­tive name for a very dis­tinc­tive new Skoda.” So there you go.

It shares a name but Skoda will be ex­pect­ing to sell many more than the num­ber of bears left liv­ing in the Alaskan wilder­ness.

TEST DRIVE SKODA KODIAQ SE

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