The interior is often where Skodas really make the difference. They don’t do so with Rolls-Royce-esque material richness but with lots of space for the money, and with subtle but useful features Skoda calls ‘simply clever’.
In the Kodiaq – vRS or not – that mostly applies, but since Skoda’s largest SUV entered the market in 2016, other rivals have emerged with even more generous space and a more up-to-date style.
However, the Kodiaq is still a breath of fresh air in many ways. Where most recent Volkswagen products have been shorn of buttons in favour of touchscreens, the Kodiaq’s controls remain resolutely tactile. The climate and heated seats are controlled using buttons, while a row of toggle switches gives easy access to the start-stop system and parking sensors.
Particularly in vRS form, with its black Alcantara seats, black headliner and imitation carbonfibre dash trim panels, the Kodiaq’s interior does look somewhat sombre, and you’re reminded you’re not in an Audi by the coarser plastics. None of that detracts from the fact that the cabin is well built, with very few distractions. The facelift has introduced a new steering wheel, which feels good in the hands and lifts the atmosphere a little with its chrome highlights.
Where the Kodiaq disappoints is in its lack of practical features. That sort of thing is normally a Skoda hallmark, and while the car has the customary umbrella in the door and a parking ticket holder in the windscreen, there is little else. In fact, the centre console storage is a bit of a mess. In front of the gear selector is a tray with the 12V socket, two USB-C ports and the optional wireless phone charger. Plug something in and you won’t be able to close the (flimsy) lid.
Behind the gear selector and under the centre armrest is a big bin with a removable plastic insert. The plastic piece has gaps on the side for cups, as well as a spot for the key. However, wider cups won’t fit properly and it’s a matter of time before one tips over and spills coffee over the key. For Skoda, the whole centre console is an uncharacteristically poor design.
Thankfully, things are as expected in the back, with generous leg and head room and a mostly flat floor. The seats also have an adjustable backrest and slide up to 180mm fore and aft. Some rivals are roomier still, and only the two outer seats have Isofix points, but the Kodiaq is still among the most capacious in its class.
The third-row seats are tight for adults but fine for children. The seats can be stowed neatly, creating a flat boot floor. When they’re up, the pull-out luggage cover can also be hidden in an underfloor compartment.
Skoda Kodiaq infotainment and sat-nav
While most current Volkswagen Group cars can be let down by a disappointing infotainment system that is shared across brands, Skoda usually manages to put its own interface over the common bones and end up with something a little more usable. The system in the Kodiaq isn’t the latest version and nor is it the greatest, but it could be worse.
There are a handful of shortcut buttons either side of the screen and the whole thing works quickly enough. We also experienced no system crashes. Apple CarPlay works wirelessly, but Android users will need a cable. Even without the upgraded Canton sound system, audio quality was up to scratch.
The built-in navigation is quite poor, though. It sometimes picks very impractical routes and it can be difficult to view and choose an alternative one. It’s also not great at finding points of interest. Finally, switching between CarPlay and the built-in navigation takes too many button presses.