Skoda’s first venture into seven-seat territory is an absolute cracker. The stylish Kodiaq looks fabulous, is packed with technology, offers all the versatility you could wish for and it won’t break the bank. This car will send many rival manufacturers back to the drawing board – it’s that good.
The goodStyle, practicality, technology, handling and price
The badSo fiercely competitive in SUV segment
Skoda Kodiaq SE 1.4 150PS DSG
Big is better! That’s clearly the message that Skoda is shouting loud and clear with the launch of its mighty Kodiaq model which opens up a whole new field for the Czech manufacturer.
The SUV sector is growing at a rapid rate and the Kodiaq, with its five or seven-seat flexibility, choice of trim levels, smart pricing plans, wide range of economical engines, two or four-wheel drive options plus manual or automatic gearboxes is another outstanding contender vying for sales.
Whatever model is chosen, the Kodiaq is guaranteed to stand out from the crowd. It has a real presence on the road and eye-catching design cues include sporty yet aggressive styling with a large black grille, 18-inch alloys, black roof rails, LED daytime running lights, sunset glass, LED rear lights, front fog lights and a rear spoiler with integrated brake light.
Step inside the Kodiaq and it’s impossible not to be wowed by the amount of space within the car. I opted for the five-seat model and the leg, head and shoulder room in the back was exceptional. It is a vehicle that can easily accommodate five adults – of the taller variety.
There is a whole host of on-board technology to be explored too, including the likes of an Amundsen sat nav system with eight-inch touchscreen and integrated Wi-Fi, SmartLink+ which connects your smartphone via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB digital radio, Bluetooth, dual zone air conditioning with humidity sensor and plenty more besides.
My test car was the five-seat model in SE trim with 2WD priced at £25,300 (£26,790 with options fitted). The car was powered by a 1.4-litre 150PS petrol engine mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. It can sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 9.6 seconds, maxes out at 123mph and, according to official figures, can deliver combined fuel economy of 44.8mpg with carbon emissions of 143g/km.
The car also featured ACT cylinder deactivation technology which allows two cylinders to shut down when less throttle power is necessary. This is to aid fuel efficiency.
The interior of the Kodiaq is beautifully laid out with a premium feel to it. It is clutter-free with all dials, controls and read-outs perfectly placed for drive usability. The sat nav system is simple to programme and it is easy to connect a smartphone to the car. I mention this because some manufacturers claim their cars boast all manner of connectivity systems, but they are so overcomplicated to operate you feel your life slowly ebbing away in the process (I mention no names). That’s definitely not the case with the Kodiaq.
The elevated seating position means the driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility and the rear parking sensors are an added bonus when squeezing into tight parking spaces. These are key factors when driving a vehicle the size of the Kodiaq in busy town centres. In fact, the car proved deceptively agile and easy to manoeuvre as it weaved its way through the traffic.
But this is a car that is designed for the active family and hitting the open road will be a frequent requirement. That’s no problem for the Kodiaq either and it excelled out the on faster lanes and motorways. The acceleration through the DSG automatic gearbox was smooth and responsive and there was a constant supply of power on tap which helped make light work of overtaking.
The cabin was nicely insulated against any engine, road surface or wind noise even when the car was pushed along at quite a pace. And the comfort levels are also first rate with the highly effective suspension ironing out the uneven surfaces along the way. I should add at this stage that the test car was on 18-inch wheels – I have driven the Kodiaq on larger 19-inch wheels and there was a little extra body sway on that occasion. That wasn’t the case with this test car which was very controlled into bends with confident, assured road holding.
In fact, my only gripe after a week-long test drive covering more than 600 miles was the fuel efficiency. I was only seeing 34.0mpg on average which is considerably lower than the official 44.8mpg figure. But that aside, the Kodiaq was a great all-round performer.
Skoda always prides itself on making the most of every inch and the Kodiaq is no exception. The boot on the five-seat model is class-leading in its size with a capacity of 720 litres that can be increased to a whopping 2,065 litres with the rear seats dropped flat. Elsewhere there are some very handy storage compartments, including a practically-sized glovebox, overhead sunglasses holder, an umbrella tucked away in each of the front doors and a central jumbo box complete with a USB port and cup holders.
Skoda has packed the Kodiaq with safety features which helped it achieve the maximum five stars in the recent Euro NCAP tests.
All in all, the Skoda Kodiaq is a fabulous piece of kit. It is beautifully styled, competitively priced, dynamic to drive and will be a worthy challenger to opposition such as the Nissan X-Trail, Land Rover Discovery Sport and Kia Sorento.
Skoda Kodiaq – first drive (2017)
The overwhelming demand for SUVs is showing no sign of easing up – in fact it’s still gathering pace, so it comes as little surprise that Skoda has launched its first ever seven-seater into the mix.
It’s called the Kodiaq and is named after an Alaskan bear. Priced from £21,565 the car is available in four trim levels with a choice of highly efficient petrol or diesel engines, the option of manual or automatic gearboxes, two or four wheel drive and with either five or seven seats. There are actually 24 different variants from launch with two more spec levels being added later on – a Scout version with more aggressive styling and a SportLine with lots of black trim.
The eye-catching Kodiaq is a modern looking vehicle with an athletic stance and plenty of neat styling cues, including a wide three dimensional grille, raked headlights, clamshell bonnet and squared-off wheel arches. It is available in 10 colours, eight of which are metallic.
The trim grades are called, S, SE, SE L and Edition with seven seats fitted as standard on SE L and upwards. But even the entry level models feature plenty of kit. For example S grade boasts LED daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, a touchscreen infotainment system, DAB digital radio and SmartLink for seamless smartphone connectivity plus manual air-conditioning. The S model is only available with a 1.4 TSI 125PS petrol engine.
Move up a level to SE and you will see the addition of 18-inch alloys, sunset glass, rear parking sensors and cruise control, along with a Bolero touchscreen infotainment system with eight-inch display, rain and light sensors, dual-zone climate control and auto-dimming rear view mirrors. Seven seats are available as an option on SE versions.
Next in the line-up is SE L complete with seven seats, 19-inch alloys, a powered tailgate, Drive Mode Select, heated front seats and sat nav with WiFi.
Finally, the range-topping Edition models introduce leather upholstery, metallic paint and chrome roof rails. Technology features on this spec include lane assist, high beam assist and blind spot detection.
At launch, the Kodiaq is available with five engines – three TSI petrol units and two TDI diesels. Capacities range from 1.4- to 2.0-litres with output ranges from 125PS to 190PS.
We tested two models on a lengthy road route that comprised congested town centres, motorways and fast country lanes and the car certainly lived up to all the big build up and hype.
First up was the Kodiaq SE 2.0 TDI 150PS 4X4 with six-speed manual transmission priced at £27,300 (£28,940 with options fitted). This model could reach 62mph from a standing start in 9.5 seconds and maxed out at 122mph. According to official figures, it can deliver combined fuel efficiency of 52.3mpg with carbon emissions of 141g/km.
The first thing to mention is how beautifully spacious the car is. Whilst the Kodiaq is only 40mm longer than the Octavia, it certainly offers a larger interior than many rival SUVs. There is ample space for three adults in the back (this was the five seat model) and there are generous levels of leg, head and shoulder room. Storage options are plentiful with a boot capacity ranging from 720 to 2,065 litres (the seven seater Kodiaq has luggage space ranging from 270, 630 and 2,005 litres depending on the seat configuration).
The interior has a truly premium feel to it with lots of soft touch materials and there is a wealth of on-board technology to explore as the car features all the latest infotainment facilities with full connectivity to multi-media devices. The controls, dials and read-outs are ideally placed for ease of use and the driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility thanks to the elevated driving position.
In busy town centres, the Kodiaq cruised along with ease and the car was deceptively agile for its size. Manoeuvring through narrow and twisting streets posed no problems and parking was simple thanks to sensors and the on-board camera.
Then out on the faster roads, the Kodiaq was also most impressive. The road holding was confident and assured with next-to-no body roll into tight bends, and the steering proved nice and precise. There is a little wind noise when pushed really hard, but generally the car is well insulated against outside sounds. Another plus-factor is the instant power at your disposal which helps to make very light work of overtaking slower moving vehicles at short notice.
Next up was the 1.4 TSI 150PS DSG priced at £30,750 (£31,780 with options). This car can reach from 0-62mph in 9.6 seconds, tops out at 123mph, has combined fuel economy of 44.8mpg with CO2 emissions of 143g/km.
Once again the Kodiaq was an absolute peach to drive. Being the range-topping model, it featured all the bells and whistles imaginable including luxurious leather upholstery, a drive mode selector to switch between normal, eco, sport and individual modes, plus wireless charging, electric seats, an 8-inch touchscreen and plenty more besides.
This model offered seven seat practicality and raising or lowering the third row is a simplistic operation. And unlike some rivals there is actually room in the duo of back seats for an adult to travel, albeit only for short journeys.
The petrol model seemed a little quieter than its diesel sibling and proved slightly livelier where driving dynamics and performance were concerned. The automatic gearbox is beautifully smooth and despite being on huge 19-inch wheels there was very little body roll or swaying motion to speak of.
All in all, both models proved a delight to drive and as one has come to expect from modern Skoda the car features lots of clever touches, including umbrellas tucked into the front door panels, an ice scarper hidden in the fuel flap and automatically deployed door protectors.
Although it is difficult to accurately predict sales patterns for a new model, Skoda believes the splits will be 55 per cent retail, 60 per cent automatic, 70 to 80 per cent diesel, 65 per cent 4X4 and 80 per cent SE L trim and above.
When you look at the Kodiaq from the front, it seems to have a face that smiles right back at you. And after a day of test driving the car, it would be fair to say Skoda has plenty to smile about too.