The Kodiaq's versatile interior continues to impress, but this punchiest petrol engine will be a rare sight on our roads while diesel rules the roost

What is it?

The range-topping petrol version of Skoda's latest SUV, with a turbocharged 178bhp engine, four-wheel drive, seven seats, a seven-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic gearbox and bear-derived name as standard. It arrives at an interesting time, one of growing concern surrounding diesel particulates, and one of SUV sales in the UK growing by 20% each year on average.

And the signs are good: Skoda says some 30,000 people have already registered interest with them even before the car is available to view in dealerships next month, which far outweighs the response to its Skoda Superb hatchback. In fact, there's already a three-month UK waiting list in place for Kodiaq, and around 85% of buyers have opted for pricier SE L trim or higher. If further proof were needed that SUVs are where they're currently at, the Skoda Yeti had its best year in 2016 despite an all-new model coming soon.

One can only assume, then, that we'll be seeing plenty of Kodiaqs on the road going forward, probably consuming segment share like that other recently-famous bear consumed a hairy Leonardo DiCaprio - that is to say fairly aggressively. But, while we already know the Kodiaq to be a sound family SUV choice, should that choice involve the 2.0 TSI petrol engine tested here?


What's it like?

We certainly wouldn't scoff if it did, but given this petrol's stats, it's likely to be rare sight on UK roads. Both its relatively high CO2 emissions and poor official fuel economy will keep the majority of buyers turning to the diesel while it remains a viable fuel - and it most certainly does here and now.

But those who brave said figures will be rewarded with a very well-rounded engine. Firstly, it's smooth at any revs and only starts to shout deep into its rev range, and then there's its stout low-down enthusiasm and decent turn of pace when provoked. Unfortunately, the DSG 'box doesn't show the same sort of urgency in its Normal driving mode, needing Sport selected before it starts to keep pace with proceedings.

But Sport isn't where you want the Kodiaqs steering, where it becomes far too artificially heavy, nor its optional adaptive dampers (£980), which cause a fair amount of fidgeting on scarred roads. Comfort mode with adaptive isn't ideal either, rounding off the fidget but allowing too much float in the body across undulations. In truth, the optional chassis is best left alone, conceding a slightly busy secondary ride but gaining tighter body control and commendable agility considering its considerable heft on fixed-rate dampers. 

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Indeed, with the Kodiaq's driving modes set correctly (there's an Individual mode to tailor to your preference), it handles tidily, but never with any real depth to explore further - which is just right given its intended use. The steering is without feel but precise, grip levels (and soggy-surface traction in our 4x4 model) are high and the front wheels go first when pushed. Lovely.

Of more consequence to buyers will be how well the Kodiaq accommodates five or seven people (depending on your choice): seats six and seven aren't possible on S trim, are optional on SE and standard from SE L. There's masses of room around the two front seats, it's similarly spacious in the middle row - which will slide back and forth and also adjust at the backrest - while the rearmost seats will accept children with ease of adults on short journeys.

In terms of space, that leaves the Kodiaq on a par with the Land Rover Discovery Sport across all rows, but behind the larger but similarly-priced Kia Sorento. However, fold the Skoda's rearmost seats flat into its boot floor and you're left with luggage area that's much closer to the Kia's and more than a match for the Land Rover. Of course, Skoda's 'Simply Clever' motto rings true throughout the cabin, with a generous scattering of hooks, cubbies, storage bins and nets. 


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Should I buy one?

I bet you've heard the one about the high-mileage driver going for a diesel and everyone else being better off with the petrol. Well, that remains the case, except that in the case of the Kodiaq, there's a cleaner, more frugal 1.4 TSI petrol unit with clever cylinder deactivation technology on offer for less money. That its 148bhp doesn't feel out of depth in this 1800kg car rather seals the 2.0 TSI's fate.

Beyond this engine, well-stocked SE L trim makes a sensible option and the Skoda Kodiaq remains one of our favourite family SUVs. It lacks the dynamism of a Discovery Sport (and its off-road prowess) but those less interested in driving enjoyment and more in practicality and value for money would do well to have it down as a close second on their list of test drive bookings. 

Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TSI 180 DSG SE L

Location Bath, Somerset; On sale Now; Price £30,410; Engine 4 cyls, 1984cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 178bhp at 3900-6000rpm Torque 236lb ft at 1400-3940rpm; Gearbox 7-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1840kg; Top speed 127mph; 0-62mph 8.2sec; Economy 38.2mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 170g/km/31% Rivals Land Rover Discovery Sport, Kia Sorento

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Thekrankis 23 March 2017

The grille is a bit Hitlerish....

...go back to a sensible grille design please Skoda.
Thekrankis 23 March 2017


When my Octavia VRs goes this may well be on the shopping list, although the 1.4 TSI would be my likely choice.
I am not so chi... 23 March 2017


I have already purchased a Kodiaq 'blind' as it is my 5th Skoda. 3rd Yeti and 1 Fabia estate previously.
I am waiting impatiently for my car to arrive at Sheerness.
BUT Skoda are putting an embargo on registering ANY Kodiaq before the official U.K launch on the 6th April
I attended the dealer VIP evening and was most impressed. The build quality is superb (sorry for the pun!)
I opted for the 1.4 DSG SE L with beige Alcantara, panoramic sun roof and F&R sensors, with Triglav wheels (easier to clean! ;-)) all my Skodas have been DSG and bad left knee precludes a manual gearbox.
I am mainly solo+dog or 2+2 dogs at weekends. But I needed a larger boot than the Yeti.
My Yetis have always done very close to the factory test figures MPG wise and I expect the 1.4 Kodiaq to average very close to the claimed overall figure of 44mpg with its 'Active Cylinder Technology' whereby at town speeds and light loading, 2 cylinders shut down thereby conserving fuel.
I discounted the 2.0L version due to initial cost, higher Co2 levels, higher insurance etc. I am no longer the 'boy racer' I used to be and the Kodiaq does not pretend to be a sports car.
HOWEVER! The whole launch scenario of the Kodiaq has been a complete dogs dinner!, Lack of communication from SUK to both dealers and customers. Low fixed allocations per dealers that will not be increased and Kodiaq does not count against dealers targets as SUK are convinced that they will sell all they can get. Confused build dates and so it goes on.
When the Yeti first came out the delivery time went out to a YEAR! I expect the same to happen with the Kodiaq.
I urge anyone who is interested in the Kodiaq (and Autocar staff) to visit www.kodiaqforums.co.uk.
Colin Lambert.
Moderator Group.
Kodiaq forums.