What is it?
Skoda might not be a brand renowned for luxury, but it’s proved on several occasions now that it can take the fight to premium rivals with more abundant kit lists that enable unrivalled value for money.
With a starting price north of £37k, however, the Kodiaq Sportline 2.0 TDI 4x4 DSG takes efforts to new and unchartered levels for Skoda. This ‘posh’ Skoda not only faces alternatives with more desirable badges on their snouts, it goes grille-to-grille with esteemed SUVs such as the Land Rover Discovery Sport and BMW X3.
As is often (actually, probably always) the case, the Skoda arrives on the battlefield extensively prepared. These Czech models can’t wade in with high asking prices without bringing a long list of standard features into the equation, so skim down the near page-long specs list of the Kodiaq Sportline and you’ll see premium equipment such as a 9.2in touchscreen, 20in wheels and LED headlights all fitted as standard.
Our seven-seat car also comes equipped with extra driver assist features, bringing its total on the road price up to £39,110. Is this a step too far for the Skoda Kodiaq or an example of its growing reach?
What's it like?
On first impressions, the Kodiaq Sportline does a pretty good job of standing up to that asking price. Its large wheels and black accents add muscle outside, while the wide infotainment system and part-leather seats give the cabin a substantially plusher finish.
That being said, the interior design is too familiar (it’s typical VW Group) to grab attention, and you sit facing conventional dials rather than a digital instrument cluster display, reminding you that you’re in a Skoda and not a product of its group stablemates.
The car’s case is helped by a pair of deeply bolstered Sportline seats, which look the part with Alcantara fabric and come with electric adjustment and a memory function. There’s also dual zone climate control, and a standard-fit 9.2in touchscreen, complete with DAB, Apple Carplay/Android Auto and two SD card readers, to rank as one of the class’s best.
Our car uses the most potent 2.0 TDI on offer with 187bhp and 295lb ft of torque, the latter being available from 1750rpm. It sends drive to the front wheels primarily but can switch to all-wheel drive when needed, via a seven-speed DSG gearbox.
Under normal loads the powertrain feels well suited to the job with plenty of mid-range grunt, but it needs winding up if you’re to make a B-road overtake. The unit settles down and is inaudible on the motorway, although this is probably helped by a noticeable amount of wind noise generated by the car’s large door mirrors.
The Kodiaq Sportline’s ride is good at pace, with the suspension smoothing over cracks and broken surfaces. But at lower speeds our car, which used the standard suspension rather than optional adaptive dampers, had a tendency to impact ridges and potholes, sending vibrations through the body.
Should I buy one?
If you want a well-equipped, good-looking SUV with plenty of space, the Kodiaq absolutely should be on your shopping list. Whether the Sportline deserves your attention will rely entirely on taste.
In pure value for money terms the Kodiaq SE L with the same 187bhp diesel four-pot, which can be had from £33,320, offers much of the same and only loses out on the Sportline’s bolstered chairs and performance trim, so may appear the better deal. But for some, those sport additions will be worth every penny, not least because they’re key in setting the Sportline apart from the large number of lower-spec Kodiaqs that fill our streets.
To many, not even the top Kodiaq will have the same level of desirability as a Land Rover Discovery Sport or BMW X3. But neither of those options will be so generously specced at this price.
Where Wellingborough, UK; On sale Now; Price £37,120; Engine 4 cyls, 1968cc, turbocharged diesel; Power 187bhp at 3500rpm; Torque 295lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 7-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1720kg; 0-60mph 8.8sec; Top speed 129mph; Economy 49.6mpg; CO2 151g/km Rivals Land Rover Discovery Sport, BMW X3