Skoda Kodiaq: road test

Posted on February 17th, 2017 by James Luckhurst

The new Skoda Kodiaq is one of the very best family SUVs.

Skoda Kodiaq: road test

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What is it?
Skoda’s first full-sized SUV, available in five- and seven-seat versions, is a rival for the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento and Nissan X-Trail.

How safe is it?
All models come with comprehensive safety kit, including City Emergency Brake which can stop the car to prevent a collision at speeds of up to 21mph.

Who should buy one?
If you need a roomy, practical SUV the Kodiaq has a lot going for it. Anyone in the market for this style of car would be wise to take one for a test drive.

Road test by David Motton 6 February 2017

 

 

DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
Skoda Kodiaq: road test
To begin with, the Kodiaq is available with five engines. Go for petrol power, and the range starts with a 125PS (123bhp) 1.4 TSI. This engine comes with a six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive. Step up to the 150PS (148bhp) 1.4 TSI and there’s a choice of manual and DSG automatic transmissions, and the option of four-wheel-drive with the auto. There’s also a 180PS (178bhp) 2.0 TSI, matched to a DSG 4×4 transmission.
We put in a few miles behind the wheel of the 150PS engine. Like many modern turbocharged petrols, it’s livelier than you might expect from its modest cubic capacity. The mid-range is punchy and the engine remains smooth at high revs.
Even so, most customers are expected to choose diesel power. A 115PS (113bhp) model is on the way, but we’ve driven both the 2.0-litre diesels which are available from launch. The 150PS (148bhp) engine is not as quiet as the 1.4 TSI, but what noise it does make isn’t too intrusive. There’s plenty of pulling power to cope with steep hills and deliver decisive overtaking. Go for this engine and you can choose between manual 4×4, DSG front-wheel-drive, and DSG 4×4 models.
The 190PS (187bhp) 2.0-litre diesel sits at the top of the range, and it’s only available in DSG 4×4 form. In isolation the 150PS engine seems more than up to the job, but the most powerful engine is noticeably quicker. Even if you’re not a press-on driver, the extra performance will be welcome when travelling fully loaded, or towing.
Whichever engine is under the bonnet, the Kodiaq handles well for such a big car. On twisting mountain roads the Skoda cornered neatly, resisting lean and gripping the road securely. Sharper steering would make the Kodiaq more fun, though.
With either the optional adaptive dampers or the standard suspension we found the Skoda rode comfortably, and aside from some wind noise it was quiet at speed.

SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
Skoda Kodiaq: road test

The Kodiaq is only 4cm longer than an Octavia hatchback, but Skoda has used that extra length to good effect, creating a cabin that’s not only roomy but very well made.
There’s plenty of room up front, and enough adjustment for the driver’s seat and steering wheel to keep both tall and short drivers happy. The dash is clearly laid out, and there’s a quality feel to the plastics and switchgear.
In the second row of seats there’s lots of room to stretch out – legroom really is remarkable for a car that’s barely any longer than a family hatch. You have the choice of five or seven-seat versions. Five-seaters have a cavern-like boot with a 720-litre capacity. In seven-seaters, this drops to 630 litres with the third row folded away.
Predictably, luggage space is tight if the third row is upright but there’s still room for a few bags of shopping. However, seats six and seven are best kept for kids or occasional use.

SAFETY
Skoda Kodiaq: road test

Yet to be tested by Euro NCAP, the Kodiaq has strong safety credentials. The windscreen pillars aren’t too thick so all-round visibility is good, and even the basic models have a healthy roster of safety kit, including City Emergency Brake. This system, which works at speeds of up to 21mph, can slow the car down if the driver fails to do so. There are other aids on high-spec versions.

EQUIPMENT
Skoda Kodiaq: road test

The S has 17-inch alloys, touchscreen infotainment, digital radio and more. SE cars gain 18-inch wheels, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors and uprated infotainment. Step up to SE L spec for seven seats as standard, a powered tailgate, 19-inch alloys, satnav, in-car WiFi, and heated front seats. Edition cars have a different alloy design and leather upholstery.

COSTS

Skoda Kodiaq: road test

Prices start from £21,495 for the petrol in S trim, rising to £34,895 for the most powerful diesel in Edition spec. For our money, the best value is to be found in the middle of the range with either the 150PS petrol or diesel models. Running costs will be affordable, with an official combined figure of 56.5mpg for the front-wheel-drive 150PS diesel. Resale values should prove strong.

WE SAY
The new Skoda Kodiaq is one of the very best family SUVs.

AT A GLANCE:
Price: £31,895
Performance: 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds
Economy: 50.4mpg combined
Insurance: Group 19E
Tax: £200 first year, £140 standard

Figures for the 2.0 TDI 150PS SE L DSG 4×4