Kodiaq new bear necessity for family life
Skoda's new Kodiaq has made a huge impression in the large SUV market before it even arrives in showrooms. Motoring editor Andy Russell finds out why.
When it comes to bums on seats Skoda is sitting pretty. As its all-new Kodiaq, the brand’s first seven-seater and large sport utility vehicle, goes on sale next week, the brand is already riding high with a record 80,732 UK sales last year.
This year it launches two new models and facelifts four others. Leading the way is the Kodiaq, named after a bear on an island off Alaska, which attracted 30,000 plus ‘hand-raisers’ expressing serious interest after seeing the VisionS concept – the most ever for Skoda.
Looks and image
Bold, strong angles and sharp creases give this SUV an imposing presence, shown off best in strong, metallic colours, and bringing something more premium to the Skoda line-up.
The face is unmistakably Skoda with the dominant grille while the twin double-headlights’ crystalline detailing is said to be inspired by traditional Czech crystal glass art.
And the back end has a hint of BMW’s X range of SUVs – no bad thing as Skoda aims to woo more upmarket buyers, and 85% of early inquiries are for top trims.
Under the bonnet
The turbo engine line-up sees 125PS and 150PS 1.4-litre petrol, the latter cutting to two cylinders to save fuel on a light throttle, and 180PS 2.0-litre petrol and 150 and 190PS 2.0-litre diesels.
The 150PS units are offered with manual and DSG automatic gearboxes and two and four-wheel drive, the more powerful engines are auto and 4x4 only.
Diesels will take 70% of sales, led by the 150PS unit which is refined, even revved hard, and brisk enough to whip past slow-moving traffic.
The 150PS 1.4-litre petrol revs sweetly but also has good low-down flexibility with maximum torque from just 1,500rpm for useful mid-range urgency.
How it drives
Skoda engineers have nailed the ride and roadholding, both rewarding and comfortable to drive, especially the heavier 4x4 diesel which feels even better planted on the road, up there with the best in this class. Agile and well-mannered on twisty, cross-country routes with good steering feel, body roll is kept in check through fast corners which makes it thoroughly entertaining.
What you also notice, or rather don’t notice, is what’s going on under the tyre with soothing supple suspension doing a fine job soaking up poor surfaces.
Space and comfort
One of the largest SUVs in it class, the well-appointed interior takes Skoda to new levels of quality and ambience. It’s a really pleasant place to be.
It’s bright and airy, adding to the feeling of space, with shapely and supportive seats. Long-legged passengers can stretch out in the back with the 60/40 split bench sliding 180mm lengthways and having adjustable back rests.
A third row of two seats, which fold into the boot floor, are standard on SE L and flagship Edition and a £1,000 option on SE but they’re best for children when it comes to space and access.
The biggest boot in its class sees the five-seater model’s capacity rise from 720 to 2,065 litres with the rear seats flat. The extra two seats eat into load space but there’s still 630 litres, growing to 2,005 litres - even with all the seats in use the 270-litre load space is on a par with a supermini.
At the wheel
You soon feel at home with a good range of seat and steering wheel adjustment, user-friendly controls and instruments, smart, upmarket trim materials and plenty of storage including two large gloveboxes.
Even more convenient Simply Clever features include new door-edge protectors that wrap round the edge automatically when it is opened.
It also debuts Skoda Connect with live journey information, real-time navigation details, remote access via an app and help if you break down or have an accident.
Skoda’s broadest range of driver assistance systems includes features to steer when reversing with a trailer and give a bird’s eye view to help manoeuvring in tight spaces.
Available in S, SE, SE L and Edition trims, S includes LED daytime running lights, 17in alloy wheels, leather multi-function steering wheel, air-con, front collision warning to prevent low-speed accidents, keyless entry and ignition, touchscreen infotainment, DAB radio and smartphone connectivity.
SE gains cruise control, rear parking sensors, upgraded touchscreen, dual-zone climate control and automatic wipers and lights.
SE L gets seven seats, powered tailgate, 19in alloys, satellite navigation, heated front seats and LED headlights.
New Edition trim has leather seats, metallic paint, chrome roof rails and a host of driving aids.
Skoda has every reason to be optimistic about the Kodiaq. It can compete with the best in class, is hugely spacious, family friendly and competitively priced with affordable, attractive finance deals.
TECH AND SPEC
SKODA KODIAQ 1.4 TSI 150PS DSG FWD automatic
Engine: 1,395cc, 150PS, four-cylinder turbo petrol with active cylinder technology
Performance: 0-62mph 9.6 seconds; top speed 123mph
MPG: Urban 37.7; extra urban 50.4; combined 44.8
CO2 emissions: 143g/km
SKODA KODIAQ 2.0 TDI 150 4x4 manual
Engine: 1,968cc, 150PS, four-cylinder turbo diesel
Performance: 0-62mph 9.5 seconds; top speed 122mph
MPG: Urban 44.1; extra urban 58.9; combined 52.3
CO2 emissions: 141/144g/km
Pricing: £21,565 to £34,050
Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles
Will it fit in the garage? L 4,697mm; W (including door mirrors) 2,087mm; H (including roof rails) 1,676mm