Bear-faced Czech

The Skoda Ko­diaq, named af­ter a large brown bear which lives on a re­mote Alaskan is­land, is the first large SUV to be pro­duced by the Czechs. JACK EVANS gets be­hind the wheel

EDP Norfolk - - Motoring -

WHAT’S NEW?

This is a huge car for Skoda. Tap­ping into the ever-flour­ish­ing sport util­ity ve­hi­cle (SUV) mar­ket, the Ko­diaq aims to give con­sumers a large, spa­cious and com­fort­able ve­hi­cle – but for a much lower price than those from more premium ri­vals.

The Ko­diaq is aimed at larger fam­i­lies who want to keep run­ning costs low. So even base-spec­i­fi­ca­tion cars get a huge amount of stan­dard equip­ment, while buy­ers of higher-grade models won’t feel short-changed with lots of tech.

Well-known now for re­li­able, well-priced cars, the Ko­diaq is an ex­ten­sion of Skoda’s ethos. With the de­cline of multi-pur­pose ve­hi­cles and the rise of SUVs, the Ko­diaq is a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion.

LOOKS AND IM­AGE

Skoda has hit the nail on the head with the Ko­diaq. It looks pur­pose­ful but not in­tim­i­dat­ing.

Ev­ery­thing about the car feels solid and well put to­gether – there’s no mis­tak­ing this is a Volk­swa­gen Group car, with plenty of tech we’ve seen on other cars.

SPACE AND PRAC­TI­CAL­ITY

Space is es­sen­tial for large fam­i­lies and the five-seat car has a colos­sal 2,065 litres of boot space with the rear seats folded flat – the largest load area in the class. The boot’s lip isn’t too high and the com­pletely flat bed with seats low­ered adds to the ex­cel­lent us­abil­ity.

The seven-seat ver­sion adds an­other string to the Ko­diaq’s al­ready well-strung bow. You’re not go­ing to in­cur much of a penalty in the prac­ti­cal­ity stakes either as its seats-flat load area is still a re­spectable 2,005 litres but with that fi­nal row raised boot space is tight.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

There are 123bhp 1.4-litre and 178bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol and 148 and 187bhp 2.0-litre turbo diesel en­gines with the lower-power diesel set to be the best seller.

You’ve also got the op­tion of six-speed man­ual, sixspeed DSG or seven-speed DSG au­to­matic gear­boxes and four-wheel drive can be spec­i­fied on all pow­er­trains.

BE­HIND THE WHEEL

It’s a big car but these reser­va­tions quickly dis­ap­pear, as it’s sur­pris­ingly ag­ile. The steer­ing is quite light – it can feel a lit­tle ner­vous at high speeds but you get used to it – but it’s a breeze to drive around town, although its size can be a hin­drance.

The base 2.0-litre en­gine of­fers the best com­bi­na­tion of power and ef­fi­ciency, with a claimed 51.4mpg com­bined. The en­gine can feel a lit­tle lethar­gic with the car’s bulk, but for the most part whisks along nicely.

It’s easy to park with large wing mir­rors giv­ing a de­cent view be­hind. SE-spec­i­fi­ca­tion cars – due to be the most pop­u­lar – get a re­vers­ing cam­era.

VALUE FOR MONEY

Base-level S gets 17in al­loys, air con­di­tion­ing, mul­ti­func­tion steer­ing wheel, DAB ra­dio and smart­phone con­nec­tiv­ity but only the 1.4-litre petrol en­gine. Mid­dle-grade SE get 18in al­loys, cruise con­trol, rear park­ing sen­sors and in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with eight-inch dis­play. Move up the spec­i­fi­ca­tion and you add 19in al­loys, Al­can­tara up­hol­stery and full LED head­lights.

In any spec the Ko­diaq fea­tures a lot of tech­nol­ogy.

WHO WOULD BUY ONE?

Fam­i­lies will like the seven-seat op­tion and im­pres­sively large boot, busi­ness own­ers the low emis­sions and high stan­dard equip­ment. There won’t be many peo­ple who wouldn’t see the Ko­diaq as an at­trac­tive prospect given its low en­try price.

Above: Skoda Ko­diaq

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