Fashion-conscious families after an affordable seven-seat SUV could do a lot worse than check out the popular Skoda Kodiaq. Since its launch in 2017, the Skoda has established itself as ideal transport for families on a tight budget, blending punch with economy and generous space with decent running costs.
Most buyers so far have opted for the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which is gutsy enough to haul around seven people with little drama and more economical (on paper) when fitted with the DSG automatic gearbox than it is when specified as a six-speed manual. For those who need a little extra poke, the 2.0 TDI 190 packs 188bhp. There are some petrol options, too, beginning with the entry-level 123bhp 1.4 TSI 125, which actually copes reasonably well in a vehicle this big.
But if you intend to drive long distances or frequently travel fully loaded with people and paraphernalia, the 148bhp 1.4 TSI 150 petrol is a better bet. In 2018, this engine was replaced by a 1.5 TSI 150 unit with lower emissions that provides similarly eager performance and good economy. The 2.0 TSI is the strongest petrol option, but it’s a rare sight on UK roads.
Trims start with entry-level S, which is a little sparsely equipped and available with only five seats, rather than seven. Next-up SE provides dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, a decent infotainment system and cruise control. The SE L trim above that adds sat-nav and adaptive LED headlights, Alcantara seats, keyless entry and start and a powered tailgate. The upper levels, SE Tech and Edition, while fulsomely equipped, are a little pricey on the used-car forecourts.
The Kodiaq handles well, with a surprising amount of agility for something so commodious, and it has plenty of grip. It rides well, too, although there’s a slightly unsettled nature to the car around town, over potholes and across road imperfections. It’s also pleasingly refined, regardless of which engine you choose. Wind and road noise are low around town but can be a touch too much at higher speeds.
But it’s inside where the Kodiaq starts to flex its muscles. The driving position is excellent, with good visibility, and the dashboard and all the surrounding areas are full of soft- touch materials and well-damped switches. There’s also a logical and easy-to-use 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system that comes with smartphone mirroring.
Space up front is excellent, too, while the second row of seats will happily accommodate three passengers. The rearmost row has enough space for two children that don’t require child seats, but adults will only be comfortable for short journeys. These seats fold away easily for increased boot space, and the boot becomes cavernous with all the rear seats folded down. Boot space, with the second row in place, is good, even though some of the Kodiaq’s larger rivals offer a little more capacity.