Selecting Sport also brings some added heft to the steering, which is otherwise very light. You could never accuse it of being full of feedback, but it's consistent in its responses and lets you place the car with accuracy. Likewise, the pedals are easy to modulate and the gearshift has a precise action, so although the Kodiaq doesn't excite, it's more enjoyable and easier to drive smoothly than a Hyundai Santa Fe or Kia Sorento.
Four-wheel-drive versions feature hill descent control, an off-road mode that adjusts the engine management system and ABS and stability control to suit off-road conditions. The engine range will include 123bhp and 148bhp versions of the Volkswagen Group's turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine, while a 178bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine will also be offered in some markets - but probably not the UK.
This is no great loss because it will be a thirsty option and doesn't really come alive until 2500rpm or so. By contrast, the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel that is expected to account for the majority of sales should average more than 55mpg on the combined cycle and pulls strongly from 1400rpm. It feels better-suited to an SUV and generally stays smooth.
The interior of the Kodiaq also impresses, with an upmarket and pretty user-friendly feel. Most functions are controlled through a central touchscreen (a 6.5in unit on cheaper models, or an 8.0in display on higher-spec cars such as the ones we drove) with smart graphics and large, easy-to-hit icons.
The list of connectivity options will include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and buyers will be able to download an app that lets them check the fuel level and programme systems such as the sat-nav remotely.
The Kodiaq’s seven seats are arranged in the standard 2-3-2 formation, with the rear five all folding flat, but even with them all in place there's a decent 270 litres of luggage space.
There’s also more space in the third row than you'll find in cars such as the Hyundai Santa Fe and Land Rover Discovery Sport - even six-footers can squeeze in if the people in the middle row slide their seats forward a bit. A five-seat version of the Kodiaq with an adjustable boot floor will also be offered.