New Skoda keeps fast

wives in check

Skoda Kodiaq, 2016, front, action
Skoda Kodiaq, 2016, side, action
Skoda Kodiaq, 2016, rear, action
Skoda Kodiaq, 2016, app display
Skoda Kodiaq, 2016, interior
Skoda Kodiaq, 2016, front, static
Skoda Kodiaq, 2016, side, static
Skoda Kodiaq, 2016, rear, static
Skoda Kodiaq, 2016, door trim, ambient lighting
Skoda Kodiaq, 2016, TDI engine
Skoda Kodiaq, 2016, boot
Skoda Kodiaq, 2016, rear seats

SKODA'S newest car could be set to spark off some marital strife.

For buyers of the new Kodiaq will find they can download an app onto their smartphone which will alert them whenever their partner exceeds the speed limit - so it could be a rocky road ahead.

The Remote Access app is part of a sophisticated connectivity system developed for the new car, which will arrive in Britain in April.

But there is far more to this clever technology than just checking the vehicle's speed.

"This facility means that if, for example, an owner lets his son borrow his Kodiaq as long as they don't go more than 30 miles from home he could set the system to alert him if the son goes too far," Michal Maruska, Skoda's connectivity co-ordinator said at the international launch of the Kodiaq in Spain.

For many, however, the most likely benefits will be the ability to remotely check the fuel level in the car or even locate the vehicle in a busy parking area.

And soon after the on-sale date you will be able to pre-heat the car's interior before setting out on cold mornings, using the same app.

The new Kodiaq will be available as either a five or - for a £1,000 premium - a seven seater, with a choice of three petrol engines and two diesel.

And for buyers who need off-road ability this large SUV is available with either four or two-wheel-drive.

It's very much an up-market car featuring the best the brand has to offer, yet on-the-road prices start from a realistic £21,495 for a model which will join the Skoda Superb as a joint flagship for the marque.

The entry-level version comes with a 1.4-litre, 125bhp petrol engine but there is also a 150bhp petrol version and a 2.0-litre 180bhp model available. It's rated at 47.1mpg with a CO2 figure of 140g'km.

Diesel enthusiasts have the choice of either a 150 bhp, 2.0-litre or the range-topping 190bhp 2.0-litre with four-wheel-drive and seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox from £32,795. The 150bhp diesel has a claimed fuel average of 56.5mpg and emissions of 131g/km.

Sampling 150bhp versions of both diesel and petrol models the first impressions were just how quiet and refined both cars were. Skoda has done a lot of work on this aspect and it's paid off.

The best seller in Britain is expected to be the smaller-engined diesel and it's a car which is set to impress.

With a 0-62 miles per hour acceleration figure of a very respectable - for such a large car - of 9.9 seconds and a top speed of 124mph it's a model which never feels lacking.

Switch the drive mode selector to Sport to firm up the suspension and sharpen up the gear changes and the this Kodiaq handles superbly and offers surprisingly brisk motoring.

And while I had my doubts about the pulling power of a 1.4-litre petrol engine in a big seven seater model my fears prove to be unfounded, the car being surprisingly responsive for such a big vehicle, sprinting to 62mph in 9.4 seconds.

The DSG gearbox on all models is smooth and seamless and the cars offer a ride which makes light work of long distances.

The power steering is nicely weighted ensuring that the Kodiaq is highly manoeuvrable and never feels bulky.

Interior space is generous to say the least and the second row of seats can be moved backwards or forwards to create either more leg room or more luggage space.

The third row of seats is more suited to children but there is definitely enough leg room for adults on short journeys, although access can be a little tricky.

Luggage space ranges between 720 litres and a hefty 2,065 litres depending how many seats you have folded down.

The high stance of the car gives you good all round vision and there is very much a quality feel to the cabin.

The brand prides itself on its "Simply Clever" features and on the Kodiaq these include plastic door edge protectors which spring out as you open the doors to protect the edges from being damaged, as well as the obligatory Skoda umbrella in one of the front doors and the ice scraper behind the fuel filler flap.

The one I liked best, however, was the new rear-seat head supports which fold down from the headrests simulating the effect of neck cushions used by passengers on long haul flights.

Also new are wide-angle surround-view cameras located at the front and rear as well as in the wing mirrors so that the area around the car can be displayed on the dashboard touch screen to ensure you don't collide with anything.

And if you plan to tow a trailer or caravan the optional Trailer Assist takes all the hard work out of reversing by taking over the steering.

More than 26,000 people in the UK have already registered their interest in the new car so the Kodiaq looks set to get Skoda off to a flying start in 2017.

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