For a new entrant to be seen and stand out in the bulging mid-size SUV market it needs to have something very special. That’s what Skoda’s new Kodiaq needs to do.
For Skoda that challenge has been met by a combination of fresh design, generous space, good functionality, coupled with the latest driver assistance systems and new connectivity solutions.
This new SUV has obviously ticked the boxes of the competition and came out with more on offer at a price that’s sure to be competitive.
The Kodiaq is not quite the stand-out fresh design, but it has identity and size to make it different.
More and more mid-size SUV drivers are looking for space and flexibility and the Kodiaq goes a longer way than most in achieving these. I took it for a lengthy test run that included some modest off-road, but mainly tarmac driving.
That experience was memorable not in a fast car motoring excitement sort of way, but more in that I was almost instantly comfortable in the car.
The complete driving dynamic seemed to be just right; a combination of engine power, six-speed gearbox and comfort were all included in a package that has genuine family appeal.
Skoda has built on the Volkswagen Tiguan experience and added some extras to give the Kodiaq more appetite. For starters, the Kodiaq is longer and has a longer wheelbase than all five of the other mid-range SUV’s that I’ve looked at when comparing its key features.
And the wheelbase, the distance between front and back wheels, is also the longest and that’s part of the reason why the Kodiaq delivers well on driving comfort. The extra length ensures better passenger leg space too, compliments of the sliding middle row of seat. And for the Kodiaq, extra vehicle length has ensured that it has the biggest boot capacity in the segment at 630 litres, extending to 2,005 litres when all three rows of seats were folded down.
The Kodiaq performs well in terms of economy. I drove more than 700km and found that the range was well in excess of 850km.
The six-speed gearbox was easy to use and allowed a motorway cruising speed of 120km/hr to be achieved at relatively low engine revs of 2,250rpm approx. That gearbox ratio, along with the smooth start/stop system for city driving, are both helping to keep fuel economy levels under control.
I was impressed with the economy figures, given that the version that I drove was fitted with Skoda’s automatic 4×4 system. This adds additional weight to the Kodiaq and engages when the front wheel shows signs of even the most minor levels of slippage.
Dry roads meant that a run across the field was the only way to ensure its engagement, but it would be useful in now much forgotten snow and ice driving conditions.
The Kodiaq comes with solid seating and the test car was fitted with three rows, enough for seven passengers. There were only two Iso-Fix seats, which is a pity as younger families often need the third and some now come fitted in the third seat row as well.
It is well equipped in the safety sense and just recently came out with a top score in the Euro NCAP crash test assessment. The new Skoda Connect is an annual subscription option for Kodiaq buyers and this offers additional online infotainment services and navigation in real time.
The system also provides remote access for increased connectivity and driver assistance. One such driver assistance feature is the emergency call (e-Call) function which will automatically call the emergency services once an airbag is activated to ensure occupant safety.
The Kodiaq claims to offer over 30 simply clever features that offer practical and convenient assistance in everyday life.
These include split folding and length adjustable rear seats as standard, the optional third row of seats costing an additional €1,000, a crafty door-edge protection system, electric child safety locks. The Superb model feature of Skoda umbrellas fitted to the front door pockets comes on the mid-spec Ambition model.
This new Skoda SUV choice is impressive in terms of value with the entry prices starting at €35,495 for the entry level two-wheel-drive diesel version that’s offered as standard with the DSG automatic gearbox.
That puts it more expensive than Volkswagen’s entry level Tiguan or the Nissan Qashqai with the third row of seats opportunity that they can’t offer.
The extra’s listing from Skoda is now growing, so choose wisely based on practical use opportunities.
The Kodiaq is bigger than some of the competition; I believe that many families will appreciate that extra space. It offers good comfort and the extra length, while adding marginally to the turning circle, is well worthwhile for needs of a busy family.