Doing it for the kids
A Skoda SUV, itted with seven seats and a bunch of child-friendly extras… Hmm. Is there anything in it for the driver? By Phil McNamara
THERE’S A RUNNING joke in the office that editor Ben Miller won’t leave HQ without 400bhp at his disposal. It’s not strictly true, and it only makes one person chuckle: me. But there’s an inexorable truth behind it: we all have our niche but immutable car criteria, and mine is space for three children under six years old.
So welcome Skoda Kodiaq, naturally with seven seats (a £980 premium over the standard five-seater). We’ve gone for the Edition trim level, which at £31,650 sits slap bang in the middle of the big Skoda SUV range.
Unfortunately a third child seat won’t fit slap bang in the middle of the second row, because the car doesn’t have three individual seats with Isofix brackets – unlike Peugeot’s narrower 5008. Which means I have to halve the generous boot space with a sixth perch permanently erect. And then there’s the challenge of forcing a daughter’s head through the crack behind the middle row: she’s going to end up with cauliflower ears like a rugby hooker. Not to forget the sheer awkwardness of then fastening her belts, in a seat which isn’t secured by Isofix because there aren’t any back there. Hmmmph.
But let’s not get off on the wrong foot. There’s much to admire about this Skodiaq, such as its blue-chip drivetrain combining smooth but torquey 2.0-litre diesel, seven-speed dual-clutch ’box and all-wheel drive. That bumps the list price up to £37,620.
The Edition might be mid-range, but it’s got more goodies than Santa’s warehouse on 23 December. Metallic paint – cheek- ily a cost-option on so many cars these days – is standard on every Skodiaq: we’ve selected Business Grey, to blend in with the Great British Winter. Edition trim bundles in blind spot mirror monitoring – typically an option on premium cars – along with LED lamps, keyless entry, privacy glass and rear parking sensors. You also get a vast and crystal-clear 9.2in touchscreen with SmartLink to mirror your cellphone’s screen, plus leather upholstery (and electrically adjustable, heated front seats) and 19-inch Triglav polished alloys.
With so much included, I only needed to add a measly £1615 of options. The £180 Children’s Pack involves rear sunblinds and a button behind the driver’s window-switch pack to child-lock the rear doors. I only discovered this after Florence yanked her door handle on the M25 – for once I was thankful for motorway gridlock. An electrically folding towbar is the costliest item at £860, floor mats and boot-mounted seat release the cheapest at £85 and £95 respectively. And given my hideously bad luck with tyres (four blow-outs in four years), a space-saver wheel looks £110 well spent. Business Class-style winged restraints come in the £325 Sleep Package, though not for the front passenger, weirdly. Appropriately the driver goes without.
Over the next few months we’ll find out if the Skodiaq is a total snooze, or something much more impressive…
Skoda, playing on its dull image, calls this hue Business Grey. Risky strategy