► Skoda’s family-friendly SUV tested
► We try it in petrol auto form
► A great crossover all-rounder?
Volkswagen needs to watch its back for some in-house competition from Skoda. With no current direct equivalent, the Kodiaq shouldn’t worry VW too much for now, but it’ll certainly have its rivals shaking in their boots if Skoda’s latest cars are anything to go by (we’re thinking of the aptly-named Superb here).
So what’s the Skodiaq about? It’s a large, seven-seat SUV taking aim at the likes of the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento and even the Land Rover Discovery Sport, trading on space, value for money and a quality interior.
There’s a bewildering number of engines, trims and transmissions to choose from, but we’ve got our hands on a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol mated to a familiar DSG gearbox. With diesels seemingly falling out of favour, we’re keen to see how this stacks up as an alternative…
Impressive where it matters most
The interior is what Kodiaq customers will be paying attention to most, so it’s a good thing it’s a high-quality, spacious place to spend time.
By no means is it exciting, but if you’re buying for practicality, you’ll surely be excited by the amount of storage on-board, how easy it is to fold the seats down and if your little darlings can be spread about the cabin to avoid long-journey-induced scuffles in the back.
Adults will feel the squeeze in the third row, so it’s a good thing the middle row can slide back and forth to accommodate them. Otherwise there’s plenty of space throughout, with a sizeable boot in two- and five-seat form.
At the business end, familiar controls and a new glass touchscreen contribute to a solid, quality feel, and the Kodiaq is packed to the rafters with kit for its reasonable price. The Alcantara and leather seats are particularly nice in mid-range SE L trim – the expected best-seller.
Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TDI review
Is a 1.4-litre engine enough for the Skoda Kodiaq?
A small-capacity petrol is an interesting proposition in a car as big as the Kodiaq (it’s almost 4.7m long), but the turbocharged 1.4 TSI works surprisingly well combined with the slick-shifting DSG ‘box. This comes with a caveat, though…
If you’re pootling around with one or two people in the car, its 148bhp and 184lb ft of torque easily haul the big Skoda around without fuss. The intuitive and responsive gearbox contributes to its effortless nature, too, but it could become unstuck if you load the car up with passengers and luggage.
What’s remarkable is just how well suppressed the engine noise remains, pretty much all the way to the redline. It takes a lot of revs to make the engine really raucous and intrude into the cabin, but most drivers will find there’s enough punch to avoid this in day-to-day family duties.
If you need cold, hard performance figures, this front-wheel drive version will get you from 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds and onto a top speed of 122mph, so it’s not exactly a slouch.
On the move the Kodiaq belies its size with a well-controlled body and supple suspension – even on the chunky 19-inch rims. Granted, it’s no Golf GTI, but it doesn’t feel like a wayward off-roader and grip is impressive.
Skoda cars for sale
It's a Skoda. Is it good value for money?
Over 85% of orders placed for the Kodiaq are for SE L trim and above, with all models coming packed with kit.
This version costs a reasonable £28,650, and for that Skoda will load the Kodiaq up with 19-inch alloys, Alcantara and leather upholstery, a slick infotainment system with online services, LED headlights, selectable drive modes, a raft of safety kit and some useful touches such as deployable door protectors to prevent any car park dings and scrapes with other cars.
You can add more kit if you want to, but there’s little reason to do so with this much as standard.
The petrol-powered Kodiaq is an interesting proposition if the car isn’t regularly full of passengers and spends most of its time in town. It won’t be quite as cheap to run as a diesel, but it also costs less to buy and is surprisingly punchy despite the car’s heft.
The diesel comes into its own when you do load it up with people and their things, and that’s exactly what the Kodiaq is designed to do. We’d advise you think about what kind of journeys you make and if the petrol provides enough shove, but overall the Kodiaq is an excellent family car – the Land Rover Discovery Sport needs to watch out.
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