Cleverly packaged size will be a key part of the Kodiaq’s appeal.

This is a five/seven-seat SUV measuring less than 4.7 metres at the kerb – and therefore only 40mm longer than an Octavia hatchback and shorter than a Superb saloon.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Disappointed to see the Kodiaq arrive without a really innovative ‘simply clever’ thing to its name. I don’t count the door edge protectors, done first by Ford

It’s very marginally longer than a Mitsubishi Outlander and a Nissan X-Trail – the cars whose market position the Kodiaq most closely threatens – but considerably shorter and smaller than the decidedly less European-feeling Sorento.

To those who want an SUV that delivers large on interior space without looking so large outwardly, that may be a strong selling point.

As a result of being comparatively compact and using the advanced MQB platform as its basis, the Kodiaq is relatively light.

Entry-level models, powered by a 123bhp 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine and driven exclusively by their front wheels, weigh less than 1.5 tonnes, says Skoda. Although the claimed kerb weight of our diesel, four-wheel-drive, fully loaded test car tops 1750kg, that’s still a good 150kg less than many equivalent seven-seat 4x4s.

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In all, there are three turbocharged petrol engines and two diesels to choose from, with the petrol range made up of two tunes of the 1.4 TSI engine and topped by a 178bhp 2.0-litre TSI. The oilburner range consists of a 2.0 TDI available in two guises - 148bhp and 187bhp respectively

The pick of the range for private buyers may well be the middle-order petrol unit: a 1.4 TSI combining 148bhp with CO2 emissions from 141g/km, boosted by active cylinder shutdown technology.

Those who choose diesel will mostly go for the 148bhp 2.0 TDI engine, as fitted to our test car, and it can be partnered with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive and a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

The Kodiaq gets one up on many of its sister-model SUVs by offering independent rear suspension on every version in the range.

Steel coil springs are standard across the range. Dynamic Chassis Control continuously variable dampers are available as an option, as well as an extra Driver Mode Select setting called Off-road, which only really adds to the armoury of the stability and traction control systems.

For now, there’s no jacked-up, extra-rugged version and ground clearance is an unremarkable 187mm. However, Skoda announced at the Geneva Motor Show that a more rugged version of the Kodiaq will join the range, which has had its ground clearance jacked up to 194mm, a ramp angle of 19.7deg and, approach and departure angles of 22.0deg and 23.1deg respectively. The Kodiaq Scout looks as if it will be joined by vRS versions in the future, with petrol and diesel variants dicussed and a 300bhp output mooted.

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