IT'S hardly a new formula. The big SUV market has been around for donkeys' years.
Probably kicked off by the illustrious Range Rover half a century ago, the sector really exploded when the MPV or people carrier went out of favour a decade or so ago.
But, the fact remains, some makers do the job better than others. And one of the most skilled firms at producing vehicles that are superbly practical, good to drive and easy on the eye is Skoda.
Its representative in the large SUV market is the Kodiaq, a sensibly proportion seven-seater with a range of petrol and diesel power and the option of four wheel drive for those who regularly hit the rough stuff.
Though not as popular as it was, the 2.0-litre diesel with 148bhp makes much sense for its blend of economy, high gear urge and decent acceleration.
We sampled the 4x4 SE L Executive with an extra row of seats in the rear. Priced at a little over Â£40,000, it's both affordable and good value.
Some of the smaller appealing features you'll find in the Kodiaq include, a brolly hidden in the door in case of a shower, double glove boxes for the passenger, reversible boot floor covering for muddy wellies, and a net in the rear luggage area to secure bags. Details many other manufacturers don't even think about.
The lesser powered diesel - there's also a more powerful 200bhp version - isn't exactly lightning swift but with a 62mph time of under 10 seconds doesn't get left behind. And when coupled to the excellent twin clutch automatic gearbox, it gets around the 45mpg mark, pretty good for a large four-by-four.
There's some of the typical diesel clatter at low speed but it soon quietens down as higher gears are selected. Ride is absorbent and comfortable but firm enough to allow brisk cornering. Front seats are supportive and well shaped - we completed a 250-mile non-stop drive without a sign of back ache.
The middle row of seats has ample legroom, head height is also moiré than sufficient. The final row of small seats are good enough for two adults making a short trip, but otherwise are best left for youngsters.
The boot is huge. 720 litres huge to be exact - but the rear seats eat somewhat into the space . You're still left with a capacity of 630 litres. Fold down both rows and there's around 2,000 litres of space.
In keeping with its practical image, the Kodiaq's cabin is sensibly laid out and lacks gimmicks. Maybe not as flashy and opulent as some, but the straight forward approach will probably be appreciated by its buyers.
The eight inch infotainment screen and sat nav is sited central dash with rotary knobs and switches below to operate the heating and climate control. All are solid and feel well-made.
The SE L Executive gets a few extra treats including leather seating, additional chrome flashes, heated front seats and electrically operated boot.