Skoda recently jumped in the SUV arena with both feet.
The SUV sector is hotly contested with competition coming in all shapes and sizes so Skoda had to bring something serious to the party, and they did.
Kodiaq uses the Volkswagen Audi Group's modular MQB platform, also used by cars such as Volkswagen Arteon, Passat, Tiguan, Skoda Superb, Audi Q3 and more. It’s a very accomplished an versatile platform.
As you would expect, Skoda’s Kodiaq is available with a range of engines and transmissions and with 5 or 7 seats. There’s a 1.4 TSI turbocharged petrol engine, producing 150ps or 180ps with great fuel economy, or if you prefer, there’s a 2.0 TDi producing 150ps. Both petrol and diesel engines are available as 2wd or 4x4 which is where our first impressions of the Kodiaq where born.
We were lucky enough to get a taste of the Kodiaq’s off road ability on a 4x4 course and can testify it is very capable. We climbed and descended sand banks that you simply couldn’t walk up. The Kodiaq didn’t so much as break a sweat. It’s simple to use too, you just push the offroad button and you will be amazed where it can go.
Modern SUV’s are often criticised for being pretend offroaders, labelled as mock-roaders that will never actually seeing the dirty stuff. There is some truth to this. Most SUV’s are unlikely to see more than a grassy carpark, but that’s missing the point. Just look at the state of the roads, crumbling, congested, potholed and full of speed bumps. What better way to deal with modern roads than in an SUV? You sit up high which allows great visibility, big 19" Sirius alloy wheels and long travel suspension soaking up the bumps while the size make you feel safe among trucks, busses and vans.
Our test car car was the SE L 1.4TSi 150ps 4X4 DSG. There are 5 levels of specification within the Kodiaq range; S (From £22,190), SE (From £23,640), SE Technology (From £27,740), SE L (From £28,725) and Edition (From £30,825).
Being the SE L meant it had it’s fair share of toys which made it a particularly nice place to spend time.
Black alcantara upholstery adorned the seats and the entire cabin reeked of quality. The dash was covered in a kind of soft touch, rubberised plastic and were accented with inlaid mock wood in dark grey while the doors were upholstered in leather. It really is a class act if a little conservative.
There’s plenty to keep you safe in the Kodiaq. On the move the adaptive cruise control makes sure you don’t get too close to the car infront while the lane assist helps to prevent you wondering out of your lane. The lane assist gently turns the steering wheel if it sees you are wondering close to the white lines.
Direct tire pressure monitoring system adds to the security and lets you know your tyres are topeed up and safe and there’s a plethora of airbags. Driver and front passenger airbag with knee airbag and side airbag in front, with curtain airbag.
Parking sensors front and rear make parking a doddle and the automatic wipers and headlights leave you free to enjoy the drive.
Kodiaq has a host of clever features that just demonstrate how well thought out the car is. Skoda designers have incorporated drawers under driver and front passenger seats to keep the clutter at bay and best of all, there are umbrellas in the doors. Yes, umbrellas in the doors, now that's a great adea.
Hill start assist/hill descent has your back to prevent you rolling back at the light or at that awkward junction and there’s keyless entry to make it easy to get in and get moving. Simply touch the door handle with the key in your pocket, and the car unlocks. Oh, and there’s a clever luggage compartment lamp too. The lamp in the luggage compartment doubles as a torch. What a great idea.
Skoda have made Kodiaq ownership more than just simply necessary transport. They have focused on connectivity and making Kodiaq experience a more involving and sentimental experience. They have done this by using an array of apps to connect you to the Kodiaq. Some examples;
SmartLink is an app that connects your car to your phone. SmartLink supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirrorlink™ technologies, allowing you to access your phone’s functions through your Kodiaq. You can select and listen to music on your phone or use the satnav and all the information is mirrored on the central display. Standard on all models.
SmartGate is a system that uses Wi-Fi to send selected vehicle data to a connected device. This allows you to view more than 40 specs telemetrically, including vehicle speed, engine speed, the fuel level, the trip computer or g-meter, brake status and the throttle position, allowing your Kodiaq to communicate with you. Optional only.
Skoda Connect With the ŠKODA Connect application, you can access the most important functions of your car from anywhere. Check the fuel level, or explore the statistics of the recent drives at any time. Check if the car is locked or even use the “Last parking position” function to find it. Are you planning a trip? Send the destinations directly from the application into the navigation system of your car.
Some cars need a period of adjustment before you feel at home. Some take a while to figure out the controls and to become comfortable with them. The Skoda Kodiaq was immediately familiar. From the first drive, it felt like our car. Even using the apps to connect to the car was simple and logical.
Everyone is doing the SUV thing now, it’s a crowded market. The Kodiaq has a lot to contend with, Ford, Honda, Land Rover, Peugeot, Mercedes, Jaguar, Volvo and even in their own back garden from Seat and VW…….everyone. Our test Kodiaq was around £30k give or take and all of the manufacturers here offer something in that ball park.
Why would you choose the Skoda Kodiaq then? That’s not so easy to answer. One big plus is that this Kodiaq offers a 7 seat variant like our test car. Not many others can offer that.
Kodiaq is well built, well thought out, great to drive, easy to live with, will have a strong residual and feels good to own.
If you’re in the market for an SUV, 5 or 7 seats, you really should try the Skoda Kodiaq, you won’t regret it. They even have a virtual live tour where you connect with a Skoda technician, a bit like face timing someone, and they’ll show you around the car. Very cool.