Skoda Kodiaq SE 1.4

DSG

Skoda Kodiaq, front
Skoda Kodiaq, front
Skoda Kodiaq, front
Skoda Kodiaq, front
Skoda Kodiaq, side
Skoda Kodiaq, rear
Skoda Kodiaq, side
Skoda Kodiaq, rear
Skoda Kodiaq, interior
Skoda Kodiaq, rear
Skoda Kodiaq, interior

BIG is best. That's clearly the message embraced by Skoda with the arrival of its all-new Kodiaq model which opens up a whole new area for the Czech motor manufacturer.

The SUV sector is growing at a rapid rate and the Kodiaq, with its seven-seat flexibility (it is possible to get five-seat models), range of economical engines, along with a choice of two or four-wheel drive plus manual or automatic gearboxes is another great contender for sales.

Whatever model is chosen, the Kodiaq is guaranteed to stand out from the crowd.

It has a real presence on the road and eye-catching design cues include sporty yet aggressive styling, 18-inch alloys, black roof rails, LED daytime running lights, front fog lights, sunset glass, LED rear lights and a rear spoiler with integrated brake light.

Move inside and it's impossible not to be impressed by the amount of space within the car.

I tried out the five-seat model and the amount of leg, head and shoulder room in the back was exceptional. It can easily accommodate five adults - of the taller variety.

There is a wealth of on-board technology to be explored too, including the likes of an Amundsen sat nav system with eight-inch touchscreen and integrated Wi-Fi, SmartLink+ which connects your smartphone via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual zone air conditioning with humidity sensor, DAB digital radio, Bluetooth and plenty more besides.

This model in SE trim with two-wheel-drive (2WD) was priced at £25,300 - increased to £26,790 with options fitted.

It was powered by a 1.4-litre 150ps petrol engine mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox and can sprint from 0-62mph in 9.6 seconds, tops out at 123mph and, according to official figures, can deliver a combined 44.8mpg with carbon emissions of 143g/km.

The car was also fitted with the company's ACT cylinder deactivation technology which allows two cylinders to shut down when less power is necessary. This is to aid fuel efficiency.

The interior of the Kodiaq is beautifully laid out. It is clutter-free with all dials, controls and read-outs perfectly placed for drive usability.

The sat nav system is quick and easy to programme and it is simple to connect a smartphone to the car. I mention this because some manufacturers claim their cars boast all manner of connectivity systems, but they are so overcomplicated to operate you feel your life ebbing away in the process. That's not the case with the Kodiaq.

The elevated seating means the driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility and the rear parking sensors are a bonus when squeezing into tight parking spaces.

These are key factors when driving a vehicle the size of the Kodiaq in busy town centres where it actually proved deceptively agile and easy to manoeuvre as it weaved its way through the traffic.

Out on country roads and motorways, the Kodiaq truly excelled. The acceleration through the DSG automatic gearbox was both smooth and responsive and there was a constant supply of power on tap.

Noise within the cabin remains nicely hushed even when the car is pushed along at quite a pace. Comfort levels are also first rate with the highly effective suspension ironing out most of the uneven surfaces along the way.

I should add that the car was on 18-inch wheels - I have driven the Kodiaq on 19-inch wheels and there was a little extra body sway on that occasion. That wasn't the case with this one which was very controlled into bends with assured road holding.

My only gripe after an evaluation covering more than 600 miles was the fuel economy. I was seeing 34.0mpg on average which is considerably lower than the official 44.8mpg figure.

Skoda always prides itself on making the most of every inch and the Kodiaq is no exception.

The boot on the five-seat model is class-leading in its size with a capacity of 720 litres that can be increased to a whopping 2,065 litres with the rear seats dropped flat.

Elsewhere there are some very handy storage compartments, including a practically-sized glovebox, overhead sunglasses holder, a umbrellas tucked away in the front doors and a central jumbo box complete with a USB port and cup holders.

The Kodiaq is also packed with safety features which helped it achieve the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP ratings.

FAST FACTS

Skoda Kodiaq SE 1.4 DSG

Price: £25,300

Mechanical: 150ps, 1,395cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 123mph

0-62mph: 9.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 44.8

Insurance Group: 15

C02 emissions: 143g/km

Bik rating: 27%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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