Skoda's Class-Leading Kodiaq SUV On Test
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
Skoda has been selling great value cars in the UK for many years. The current range comprises the family sized Octavia, funky urban runabout Citigo, practical Fabia hatch and range-topping Superb, a car well named.
Sharing many components with premium Volkswagen and Audi models, Skoda has been where the smart money goes.
However, in a world where family buyers are increasingly turning to SUVs, Skoda has until now only had the Yeti in its arsenal. This practical and distinctive car is due to be replaced later this year and continues to sell well.
New in the showrooms is the new Kodiaq and having just spent a week behind the wheel, I can confirm that this capacious and stylish SUV looks set to sell like hot cakes.
Clever packaging has allowed Skoda to produce a car little bigger than the Octavia, yet with a Tardis-like interior with seating for up to seven people.
The Kodiaq is unmistakably a Skoda, the wide grille and crisp headlights echoing the look of the Superb. Using the Volkswagen Group's MQB platform has kept the Kodiaq's weight down, to the benefit of performance and economy.
Three familiar trims will be offered; S, SE and SE L, though a new celebratory Edition grade is offered for a limited time.
The entry level S model comes at a class-beating price of just £21,495. The low price does not mean a lack of standard equipment, with a touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio, LED daytime running lights, smart alloy wheels and air conditioning being the highlights. Only the 125PS 1.4-litre TFSI is available.
Move up to SE spec (from £22,945) and a wide choice of familiar petrol and diesel engines are now available. Not only that, but there is now the option to specify four-wheel drive and the DSG gearbox.
Of greater interest perhaps is the availability of seven seats (add £1,000).
Also included in SE specification is cruise control, dual-zone climate control and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The SE L model can be bought from £28,595 and most pre-orders are for this model. The attraction no doubt is the standard fitment of the rearmost seats, Columbus navigation system with WiFi, Alcantara upholstery and heated front seats.
The Edition model aims to showcase all the Kodiaq's range of equipment. Leather upholstery is standard as is metallic paint, wireless phone charging, Lane Assist and Blind Spot Detection. Prices start at £30,695.
It is this model I have been driving in 4x4 guise, powered by a familiar 150PS diesel engine. Headline figures are 0-62mph in 9.8 seconds and a combined economy figure of 51.4mpg.
Over 400 miles of mixed driving, I recorded 44.5mpg according to the trip computer - a good result, though most of those miles I was travelling alone.
The Kodiaq's all-wheel drive system is designed to deliver excellent traction in all conditions. An electronic multi-plate clutch allows the SUV to operate in front-drive mode on overrun or at low load, sending as much power as required to the rear axle depending on conditions. It works well and coped admirably with a little wet grass test.
Versions thus equipped will use more fuel, so town dwellers may be better to save the cash.
The Kodiaq generally rides quite firmly (I'd happily forgo the 19" alloys for some extra compliance) and handles the twisty stuff with competence. Safe and secure would seem to be the watchwords here and keener drivers may feel a little underwhelmed. Sportline versions will be available early in 2018 and should offer a more involving driving experience.
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There is space for five large adults to spread out, whilst the extra rear seats will be enjoyed by children and young adults.
Should maximum load lugging be the order of the day, the Kodiaq offers the largest boot in its class with up to 2,065 litres of space available with all the seats folded flat.
Skoda engineers have equipped the Kodiaq with a raft of clever safety features, though not all come as standard. Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist and City Emergency Braking will be familiar, but Trailer Assist and the Area View system may not be.
Coming late to the large SUV party has done Skoda no harm. The Czech manufacturer has created a well thought out family car that is affordably priced and packed full of features. I expect it to sell exceptionally well and were my sons still of school age, then I would be beating a path to my nearest Skoda dealer, keen to sign on the dotted line.
My choice would be a 1.4-litre TSi petrol engine, SE trim and 7 seat option, £24,990 and a veritable bargain. Rivals look expensive - Czech mate I'd say!
Skoda Kodiaq Edition
150PS 2.0-litre TDi engine
Six speed manual gearbox
0-62mph in 9.8 seconds
Top speed 121mph
Combined economy 51.4mpg
Emissions 144g/km CO2
Skoda's Class-Leading Kodiaq SUV On Test, 19th August 2017, 15:19 PM