There’s quite a buzz when a car maker enters
a market for the first time. There’s the anticipation of something genuinely new and genuinely different,
even if that market has been around for a long time. It shakes up the rule book on what
buyers can expect for their money. So the world was certainly paying attention when
Skoda announced it was building it’s first ever large SUV. The Czech car maker already
had the Yeti sure, but this is the first Skoda has entered the significantly larger, and
no less competitive market. It’s called the Kodiaq, and whilst it’s got
a lot in common with the other Volkswagen Group SUVs including the Seat Ateca and Audi
Q2, it’s also up against some of our favourite large SUVs including the Land Rover Discovery
Sport and Kia Sorento. Will it be a clear winner then? Or is Skoda
too late to make its market in an already crowded market?
Keep watching to find out… There’s a choice between two petrols and two
diesels and most come in a variety of power outputs.
You might think that the entry-level 1.4 petrols would struggle with a car this size, but they
actually cope pretty well. As long as you’re not expecting any swift progress.
There is a more powerful 2.0 litre petrol that comes in four-wheel drive, if that’s
the sort of thing that you’re after. The vast majority of UK buyers will head straight
to the trio of diesels. Available with 113bhp, 148bhp and 187bhp. Our favourite is the mid-range
because it’s gutsy at low revs and has enough power to haul around seven people.
Go for front-wheel drive and you get this DSG automatic gearbox as standard while buyers
with four-wheel drive can spec a six-speed manual.
For those who are looking to do a lot of towing, the 187bhp version will suit well. Be warned
though, this does push the price up considerably. When it comes to ride comfort, the Kodiaq’s
standard suspension set up works well and is generally comfortable giving you a decent
amount of control through corners. Most large SUVs sway through the corners,
but the Kodiaq feels remarkably stable and agile, especially for a car of this size.
Unfortunately, the steering is inconsistent and is too light in all but sport mode.
Inside the Skoda Kodiaq is a pleasant place to be. There’s plenty of soft-touch materials
and it does feel good quality. Infact, it makes a Nissan X-Trail or Hyundai’s Santa
Fe feel a little low rent. Being an SUV, there’s a good, demanding driving
position and visibility is excellent out of the front and sides, although if you’ve got
the third row of seating up it’s quite tricky to see out the back.
That means you’ll probably want to go for the SE and get rear parking sensors and then
front and birds-eye view can be specced as an optional extra. You can even get this car
to park itself, but that’s only if you’re a very nervous parker.
To get adjustment to find a comfortable driving position, that is easily done with the seat
and steering wheel. Although if you’re looking for a bit of lumber support you’ll have to
go for the SEL model. The dashboard is logically laid out, and these
chunky buttons are even hard to find in the dark.
This touchscreen is easy to use and the menus are clear and logically laid out. It’s got
all the functions that you would expect including DAB radio, USB-in and iPhone and android mirroring
systems, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. And if you go for the SEL and above, you’ll
also get sat-nav. There are a couple of clever features to mention
too including wireless phone charging on Edition models, while a system which turns the Kodiaq
into a wi-fi hotspot is on the options list for high-end versions.
So, let’s see how easy it is to pair my mobile phone and set a destination in the sat-nav.
Connecting automatically, select telephone, find telephone. And, bluetooth is on. There
we are, Rebecca’s iPhone. Now set a destination in the sat-nav.
Where would i like to go? Let’s go to Manchester.
Street? The high street. Excellent, well that was easy.
The good news is you’re unlikely to feel cramped in here because there’s plenty of head and
leg room, there’s large door bins that can accommodate a big bottle of water, more storage
under here and a decent sized glove box. You can specify the Kodiaq with just five
seats, however higher end SEL model and range-topping Edition only come with seven seats.
This middle row slides backwards and forwards, split 60/40 and has an adjustable back.
There isn’t as much room as a Kia Sorento, however if you’ve only got four adults in
this car there is loads of space. Adults and teenagers relegated to this third
row will find it very squashy. Small children however will be absolutely fine.
When these seats are not in use, they fold down like that.
And with those rear seats stowed away or in five-seater guise, this boot is absolutely
huge. There’s not much that you wouldn’t be able
to fit in here. Even with these two seats in place, there’s still enough room for a
couple of small suitcases or a modest weekly shop.
And the boot floor is virtually flat, as long as you go for the variable boot floor which
is standard on our recommended SEL model. With its low starting price, the Kodiaq looks
like a very tempting proposition. Bare in mind though that the entry-level model comes
with a petrol engine and five-seater guise only. More popular is going to be the 2.0-litre
diesel, although that still undercuts the Kia Sorento, and the Kodiaq is expected to
hold onto its residual value better than a lot of its rivals.
In terms of equipment, we’d go for SEL trim which gets you most of the kit you’re going
to want in the Kodiaq including those all-important extra seats.
LED headlights, Alcantara seats, keyless entry and start and a powered tailgate.
It’s worth noting though that even the entry-level versions get air-con and all models get automatic
emergency braking as standard. The Skoda Kodiaq is one of the best seven-seater SUVs around. For a car in this market it ticks almost every
box. It’s practical, affordable and good value for money. This may be Skoda’s first large
SUV but straight away it’s produced one of the best.
If you’re looking for a car in this market, your decision has just got a whole lot harder.
For plenty more on the Skoda Kodiaq, including our full online review, head to WhatCar.com.
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