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

CAR (UK) - - Our Cars -

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

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