From £20,7208
The Skoda Kodiaq has a tempting entry-level price - but is it as tempting to drive and own? We've driven it abroad to find out

Our Verdict

Skoda Kodiaq

Skoda jumps into the SUV market with both feet — and seven seats, but can the Kodiaq win the people's hearts in an already congested SUV market?

Jim Holder
22 November 2016

What is it?

This is the Skoda Kodiaq in close to base mechanical (if not trim) form. There’s no 4x4, no DSG auto ‘box and no trick DCC suspension - just a 123bhp 1.4 TSI petrol engine and a six-speed manual gearbox.

While the European spec we tested doesn’t quite equate to an exact British model, it’s close to the SE kit level, giving it a suggested on the road price of £23,945 - although that also means doing without the third row of seats.

That, you’ll note, is quite an alluring figure, and there’s no question that it is at this end of the spectrum that the Kodiaq is priced most sharply; in terms of seven-seaters, only the Nissan X-Trail really has what it takes to compete at this level.

Here, then, we’re seeking to find out if, for the Kodiaq, less is more.

What's it like?

You might assume that a 123bhp engine with 148lb ft of torque would struggle to haul a car as big as the Kodiaq along, but so long as you keep your expectations modest and drive with half an eye on maintaining momentum, you’d be mistaken.

Sure, you won’t fall off your chair to learn that this motor is no firebrand, nor that if you overstep the mark it becomes noisy and presumably thirsty pretty quickly. But, with the car modestly laden, there is enough grunt to keep up reasonably with the flow of everyday traffic. If you cherish smooth throttle inputs, well timed gearshifts and careful lines, it can even be quite fun.

However, potential buyers should also be cautious, because even the unambitious, predominantly city-based  driver will find that there will always be occasions when you wish you had more, be it when the seven seats are full, the boot packed to the roofline or there’s a looming lorry that you want to pass. The 0-62mph dash is measured at 10.9sec and that will always demand compromises.

The base suspension set-up is good - certainly good enough to make us question the value of the DCC adaptive suspension option - if slightly unsettled on bumpier roads. The flip side to that is that the Kodiaq has decent body control and steering feel, especially for a large SUV. For keen drivers that may be a bonus, although the suspicion must be that most buyers would trade off some of the stiffness for more a slightly more comfortable ride.

Elsewhere, the hallmarks highlighted by our drives of the 2.0-litre diesel models remain true. The Kodiaq has a cabin that would be the envy of cars costing half as much again and is as spacious as it is well finished. The only quibbles are over the width on offer in the middle row, which would challenge three large adults, and the fact the rearmost seats are set low, impeding vision - but these shouldn’t detract too much from an interior that must be considered a huge triumph at this price point.

Should I buy one?

If the circumstances fit, yes - and for some they will fit.

If you’ll forgive the cliche and can avoid coming over all bah-humbug, there is a definite role for a car that does the school run, transports a greater than average number of children from event to event, or acts as transport for a dog walk or two. For those sorts of trips, the Kodiaq in this form is very appealing indeed.

However, we’d still urge you to test the car carefully beforehand to weigh up what your circumstances are and how tolerant you are likely to be when your Kodiaq is left lagging.

We’d also suggest you weigh up the likely depreciation cost of running what is likely to be a less desirable Kodiaq than one powered by a diesel (something that will be factored into any lease deal), and potentially one that is unduly thirsty if it isn’t driven carefully with the sweet spot of its rev band.

None of that detracts from the fact that the Kodiaq is a very fine car. If the cap fits in this form, there’s no reason to be ashamed to wear it.

Skoda Kodiaq 1.4 TSI 125 SE 

Location Palma, Mallorca; On sale now; Price £23,945; Engine 4cyls, 1395cc, turbo, petrol; Power 123bhp at 5000rpm; Torque 148lb ft at 1400rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerbweight 1570kg; 0-62mph 10.9sec; Top speed 118mph; Economy 47.0mpg; CO2/tax band 140g/km, 25% Rivals Nissan X-Trail, Ssangyong Rexton W.

Read our other Skoda Kodiaq first drive reviews here:

2017 Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TDI 150 4x4 Edition

2017 Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TDI 190 4x4 SE L auto

Join the debate

Comments
26

22 November 2016
Those photoshopped number plates do not fool me.

22 November 2016
Should be able to achieve 40mpg with sensible use, sensible tyres giving a decent ride (the S comes on 65 sidewalls) and an amazing amount of car for the price. I noticed that this engine has lower Co2 than the more expensive 1.4 (150) with the active cylinder deactivation (yes, I know these are DSG or 4x4) , lower than all bar the lowest powered diesel (I think).
In what sense does a 0-60 of 10.9 secs demand compromises? It's obviously not hot hatch quick but it's hardly slow. How many vans drive inches from your back bumper on the motorway with their 18 secs 0-60 times? Needs a brighter interior though, more endless black gloom.

23 November 2016
I reckon this will have better residuals than the diesel. Private buyers will want this one.

23 November 2016
Firstly the article made a big deal about performance, well 0-60 in 10.9sec isn't the end of the world for this segment. Secondly Petrol V Diesel, the only 2 wheel drive manual diesel option would be the 115 bhp which annoying Skoda haven't priced yet but as there's £1,800 between petrol and diesel in the 150 models expect a £1,3000 diesel premium.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

23 November 2016
I see this becoming the old XC90, now the new XC90 has been priced out of reach for many.

23 November 2016
This engine will be as usefull as a chocolate teapot with 5 to 7 persons and or luggage.My son has an Ibiza with same or similar engine he gets 38mpg and not the 60 mpg official ,admittedly it is motorways mainly and higher speed,but it does have 6 gears and little town traffic so should get better than this.I feel this Kodiac could dtruggle to get 30mpg fully laden and perhaps 35mpg underladen.Certainly needs a diesel but perhaps not a VW/AUdi.Would another competier please supply the engines .The diesels are uneconomic and as rough as hell in the 1.6 and 2 litre forms the 3 litre eare ok subject to cheat device.

23 November 2016
Not every VW product will return the same results as you and your families cars. Please get rid, fix or learn to drive your son's Ibitsa and your Golf as your repetive post regarding these cars are non-representative and dull.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

23 November 2016
just straight honest facts BACKED UP BY OTHER LEADING MOTORING JOURNALISTS ALL SAY THE SAME.YEP I.M.H.O. THEY ARE SHIT AND ONLY SELL AS THEY ARE HEAVILY SUBSIDIZED ON PCP ETC,JUST WAITING FOR THE CLASS ACTION THEN GET RID.I WILL CONTIUE TO WARN OTHER PEOPLE SO SUGGEST YOU STOP READING IT YOU DO NOT LIKE IT ,OTHERWISE TOUGH SHIT.

23 November 2016
Ski Kid wrote:

just straight honest facts BACKED UP BY OTHER LEADING MOTORING JOURNALISTS ALL SAY THE SAME.YEP I.M.H.O. THEY ARE SHIT AND ONLY SELL AS THEY ARE HEAVILY SUBSIDIZED ON PCP ETC,JUST WAITING FOR THE CLASS ACTION THEN GET RID.I WILL CONTIUE TO WARN OTHER PEOPLE SO SUGGEST YOU STOP READING IT YOU DO NOT LIKE IT ,OTHERWISE TOUGH SHIT.

Bit rude, I wouldn't put this rant in the advert when you "get rid" of your VW's. I.M.O.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

23 November 2016
Ski Kid wrote:

just straight honest facts BACKED UP BY OTHER LEADING MOTORING JOURNALISTS ALL SAY THE SAME.

So why did you buy those cars if it's a fact backed up by the motoring press?

If most of the miles on your son's 1.4tsi is motorway miles, he should have bought a diesel

The Golf is the 4th best selling car in the UK - someone must like it!

Don't know what VW diesel you refer to but those engines just happen to be some of the most economical engines you can buy. My Golf 2.0tdi returns 56mpg on average, my previous 1.6tdi returned 60mpg. If you have trouble with that then check out results submitted to HonestJohn's realmpg.

I agree a 1.4tsi is not a good match for a car such as this... what petrol engine would you suggest is a good match? Because no matter who the manufacturer is, every petrol in a car of this size drinks fuel - that's why they don't sell and why 2nd hand values are greater for diesel powered engines.

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