From £20,7208
The Skoda Kodiaq, at least in this early prototype form, shows real promise, with space and quality shining through

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?

7 July 2016

What is it?

The Skoda Kodiaq is the Czech firm’s first seven-seater and the production version of the VisionS SUV concept which was shown at the 2016 Geneva motor show.

We've driven the production 2017 Skoda Kodiaq - read our review here

The finished design won’t be unveiled until the end of August. However, we've now driven some prototypes, and beneath their camouflage lies a car with the same proportions, prominent front grille and distinctive, high-set front foglights as the VisionS.

Skoda will offer a plug-in hybrid powertrain similar to that of the Vision S concept, although it won’t be available until 2019. Instead, buyers will initially be able to choose from a range of petrol and diesel engines taken from the Superb. Both front and four-wheel-drive variants will be offered, and the Kodiaq can tow up to 2.5 tonnes.

 

What's it like?

The cars we drove were all fitted with Dynamic Chassis Control, a cost option which lets you switch between Normal, Comfort and Sport settings. However, the differences between these are minor. There's a bit too much body float in Comfort, but the car feels more tied down in Normal and Sport. And while you're aware of bumps in the road surface, they don't thump through you or your passengers.

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.

 

Should I buy one?

Skoda is still to confirm pricing, which will be crucial to the model's success, but if the Kodiaq undercuts the Land Rover Discovery Sport by a sizeable margin – as it’s expected to – it will be well worth considering. Not only is it more practical than its closest rivals, the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento, but it’s also classier inside and more enjoyable to drive.

However, if you need only five seats and are looking for an SUV with a sporty drive, you might want to consider the Seat Ateca instead.

Steve Huntingford

Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TDI 150 DSG 4x4

Location Norway; On sale January 2017; Price From £24,000 (est); Engine 4 cyls, 1968cc, diesel; Power 148bhp at 3500rpm; Torque 251lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd automatic; Kerb weight na; 0-62mph na; Top speed na; 0-62mph na; Economy 56.5mpg (combined, est); CO2/tax band na

 

Join the debate

Comments
13

289

7 July 2016
I quite liked the look of this car for my wife, but a 1.4 petrol which is fine in the Yeti, is too small for this car...particularly when loaded.
Since i will never buy a diesel and Skoda not bringing the 2 litre petrol to the UK, that as they say, is that!
I cant understand the reluctance to bring the obvious engine to the UK when the writing is on the wall for diesel cars.

7 July 2016
Same with me 289. Until I know whether or not the local Trumpton council will be banning (or more likely charging) for diesel I won't commit to one. Am looking to replace Mrs.Spanners current diesel when the time the time comes with a 1.4/1.8 petrol Yeti.

289

7 July 2016
....I can recommend the 1.8 Petrol Yeti....my wife has had one for 3 years. Great car in Elegance spec.....pretty much everything of importance is standard.
I don't think you will be disappointed.

25 August 2016
I drive a Touran 1.4TSI and frequently use all 7 seats but I've never found the car underpowered. Now it's true that this SUV will be a bit heavier than a Touran and the only thing I've ever towed is a bike rack, but still, that 1.4 is a gem of an engin, particularly with the dual clutch auto. I'll have to replace the car soon, but if like me you're looking for a mid-size, family petrol-engined car with a decent auto box the TSI/DSG combo has few peers, in my opinion, much as it would pain me to have to buy another VW Group car.

7 July 2016
There is still the potential for the plug-in hybrid in 2019!

7 July 2016
When this car is finally unveiled, it'll be such a damp squib because the Kodiaq must be one of the most talked about, most spied and most protracted car releases ever.

7 July 2016
Saucerer wrote:

When this car is finally unveiled, it'll be such a damp squib because the Kodiaq must be one of the most talked about, most spied and most protracted car releases ever.

I'd say the Bloodhound SSC wins the prize for longest ever release, 8 years in and still not turned a wheel in anger. Concorde flew 7 years after Britain and France signed the treaty agreeing to it's development.

 

7 July 2016
Agree with the above, as diesel becomes less attractive Skoda need a decent petrol engine in the UK. VW already offer a 2.0L petrol on the new Tiguan and it's basically the same car!!! (The 1.4TSI ACT is awesome in smaller vehicles, but not a 7 seater SUV) Let's see a VRS version please!

 

 

 

289

7 July 2016
....exactly, the Tiguan already has the 2 litre petrol! its madness to expect a 7 seater SUV to use a 1.4 petrol good though it is. Just imagine how compromised it would be if it was towing?
Interestingly a friend of mine went into the local VW dealership to update his TDI Tiguan with the new model in petrol guise.....the salesman went out of his way to try to talk the petrol down! Whats that all about? - unless delivery time is poor on the 2 litre petrol.

7 July 2016
VW group responds to dieselgate... with a raft of new diesel SUVs. If urban dwellers in particular continue to buy these irresponsible machines, it's time for the tax system to be adjusted to reflect the cost of polluted cities. Enough is enough.

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