Jack Evans is impressed by the cutting-edge exterior looks of Skoda’s latest offering – not forgetting the up-to-the-minute technology.
What is it?
Skoda is breaking into a completely new segment. Well known now for making reliable and well-priced cars, the Kodiaq represents an extension of that ethos. With the decline of the MPV and the rise of the SUV, it’s a natural progression for the company – but it has to get it right first time if it hopes to succeed.
What’s under the bonnet?
From launch, the Kodiaq is available with two petrol engines: a 1.4-litre turbocharged unit producing 123bhp and a 2.0-litre turbocharged one putting out 178bhp. If you’re looking for a diesel, there’s also a 2.0-litre turbocharged unit that produces either 148bhp or 187bhp and will be the better choice for people who cover more annual miles. You’ve also got the option of either a six-speed manual, six-speed DSG or seven-speed DSG gearbox. Four-wheel drive can be specified on all powertrains, though you’ll see a slight premium for this option.
What’s the spec like?
Base-level S Kodiaqs – equipped with the 1.4-litre petrol engine only – get 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning and a leather multifunction steering wheel, plus DAB radio and smartphone connectivity. It’s not a bad deal, with prices starting at £21,495. It’s unsurprising, as Skoda cars have always excelled at offering consumers quite a lot for their money. Middle-grade SE cars get 18-inch alloy wheels, cruise control and rear parking sensors. There’s also an infotainment system controlled via an eight-inch display. Top-spec cars get 19-inch alloys, Alcantara upholstery and full LED headlights.
What’s it like to drive?
It can feel a little intimidating when you first get in – this is a big car. However, once you’re up and running, these reservations quickly disappear, as it’s surprisingly nimble on weaving roads. The steering is quite light, which can make it feel a little nervous at high speeds, but you get used to this. The advantage of such light steering is that the Kodiaq is a breeze to drive around town – although its size can sometimes be a hindrance.
What do the press think?
Autocar said: ‘The new Kodiaq combines seven-seat usability with neat tech and decent value for money.’ Auto Express said: ‘The Skoda Kodiaq is an impressive amount of car for the money, and powered by the 1.4 TSI is a smooth performer. For city dwellers or those doing low miles it will be a great fit. However, the torquier, more effortless and considerably more economical diesel is still a better fit for an SUV of this size.’
What do we think?
The Kodiaq is one of the most attractive real-life prospects to come out of 2016. It’s well priced, well specified and well finished, and that’s a hard combination to ignore. Yes, it’s not exceptionally exciting inside, but everything is put together well and it feels as though it’s going to stand up to the kind of abuse that family life can give a car.
Add to that a competitive entry price point, as well as a good range of engines and gearboxes, and you have a package that will really give its rivals a bit of a fright. The seven-seat option is also a game-changer, as it means that the Kodiaq can really offer something for just about everyone. Just remember that on models lower than ‘Edition’ cars, it’s a £1,000 optional extra, and isn’t available on S cars.
It would appear that Skoda is managing to shake off the last of its image of old and the Kodiaq, with its cutting-edge exterior looks and interior technology, is a heavy contributor to that change.