Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TDI

SEL 4x4

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

YOU could say that Skoda is the Aldi or Lidl of the car world.

The Czech brand's mission - just like supermarkets - is to provide good quality stuff at bargain prices. And the formula works ...galloping sales prove it.

But now Skoda has stepped slightly out of its natural comfort zone of offering cheap, no frills motoring for those on a tighter budget, into an area dominated by style-conscious designers producing cars for middle and high income families with a keen eye on what's cool.

The model in question is the recently introduced Kodiaq, a seven-seater SUV which does most of what a Land Rover Discovery does, at a lower price...naturally.

In fact the Skoda Kodiaq has a veritable army of rivals with its price band spanning a range from £22,000 to £36,000 and taking in options of diesel, petrol, five or seven seats, two or four wheel drive and various levels of trim.

To see just how the Skoda measures up to the more prestigious competition I borrowed one of the more elevated versions - a 2.0 TDI 4x4 SEL equipped with VW's excellent twin clutch automatic gearbox.

It has to be said that to most eyes, Skoda's design room has got the proportions of the Kodiaq just about right. Despite being long enough to accommodate seven, it looks tidy and pleasing without a cumbersome overhang. For an SUV to look this graceful is quite an achievement.

The cabin is far from austere, but neither is it fussy. An eight-inch touchscreen takes centre stage and works well and efficiently and all the switchgear feels solid and user-friendly. Seats are large enough and supportive for those in the front two rows.

Passengers in the back row are inevitably more cramped for space and sit slightly lower, but for school runs or short trips they are more than adequate.

The Kodiaq isn't quite as wide as some rivals such as the Hyundai Santa Fe or Kia Sorento, but there's still sufficient shoulder room between driver and passenger.

Boot space with rear seats folded down is massive - 720 litres - and there are wide door pockets and ample oddment space for all those odds and ends that end up cluttering the cabin.

Ride standard is among best in class with a fluid-like ability to flow over poor surfaces and absorb jolts from the road. Despite this quality, roll angles are kept well in check allowing press-on driving along windy routes. The steering is quite light, emphasising the car car-like aspect of driving this SUV.

The 188bhp, 2.0-litre turbo diesel is a common power unit across the VW range and its installation in the Kodiaq is among the best as far as sound insulation is concerned. It's quiet at idle and remains so until higher revs are reached when it become more vocal.

The seven-speed DSG gearbox works a treat and all but removes the need for higher revs through its intuitive changes.

Economy is miserly considering its size and power. My average was 43mpg which compares well with the official combined figure of 49.6mpg.

FAST FACTS

Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TDI SEL 4x4

Price: £33,260

Mechanical:188bp, 1,998cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four-wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 129mph

0-62mph: 9.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 48.6

Insurance Group: 17

C02 emissions: 151g/km

Bik rating: 30%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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