Skoda’s super sleuth
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