- Excellent value for money for a European SUV
- Smartly styled, well-presented interior
- Adequate performance but not a lot in reserve
Skoda Kodiaq, an all-new high-riding wagon, is an important step forward for the Czech-based company, especially in Australia where SUVs now account for around 50 per cent of new passenger vehicle sales. This European-designed medium/large seven-seater is a family-focused SUV with constant four-wheel-drive and an excellent suite of advanced safety and convenience features, and at a relatively attractive price.
Kodiaq’s body styling is unmistakably Skoda. So too is the interior presentation, which displays all the clinical efficiency that’s a hallmark of all brands in the Volkswagen Group.
While Kodiaq is a stand-alone model, Skoda employs the latest technology, components and lightweight modular platform on which quite a number of VW Group vehicles are now built. It is powered by a 2.0-litre, 132kW, four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine which drives via a seven-speed DSG transmission. A 140kW turbo-diesel option will also be available later in the year.
Starting price for the Kodiaq 4X4 132TSI is an attractive $42,990 plus on-road costs, with the option of a Tech Pack for $2500 and a Luxury Pack at $4900 which add a host of worthwhile safety, function and convenience features. Skoda expects around 95 per cent of buyers will take up one or both of these option packs. Initially there is also a Launch Pack ($5900) that includes a combination of some (but not all) the features from the other packs.
Strong on safety
Kodiaq has a five-star ANCAP safety rating, with standard features including nine airbags, autonomous emergency braking, LED headlights (with Adaptive Frontlight System), fatigue detection, rear-view camera, parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring and rain sensor. The Luxury Pack adds blind-spot detection, lane assist, rear traffic alert surround area view, heated seats (front and rear) and more. The Tech Pack includes Adaptive Chassis Control with Driving Mode selection, automatic parking assist and off-road mode as well as a premium sound system.
The cabin has a pleasing presentation with well-laid-out controls and clear eight-inch colour touch screen at the heart of a comprehensive infotainment and connectivity system. Skoda continues to support its Simple Clever slogan with a number of interesting but not unique features such as electronically activated child safety locks for the rear doors operated from the driver’s position, two umbrellas in the front doors, an integrated LED torch in the luggage compartment, and door-edge protection which deploys automatically when the door is in danger of scraping an adjacent vehicle or garage wall. And every light in the vehicle is an LED.
As a seven-seat wagon, space and comfort for adults will depend on where you are sitting. The front and second rows are comfortable with plenty of adjustments, good leg room and adequate head room. The second row seat slides, reclines and folds flat in a 60/40 configuration. Access to the third row is a little awkward and the space is best suited to children, although an adult could squeeze in for a short journey.
A capable drive
The 2.0-litre engine and DSG transmission do a respectable job of hauling around Kodiaq’s 1677kg-plus weight. It’s a very capable, easy vehicle to drive most of the time. Even though the engine produces 320Nm of torque from 1400rpm through to 3900rpm, the response occasionally feels leisurely, particularly on hills or when needed for rapid passing. Official fuel consumption figure is an impressive 7.6L/100km, but with a vehicle of this size and weight, we’d expect significant variations depending on operating conditions and driving styles.
Our test vehicle had the optional Adaptive Chassis Control with Driving Mode selection. With Normal, Eco, Sport and Individual modes, it allows the driver to adjust the operation of the engine and transmission management, power steering, air-conditioning and other systems. On top of this, the off-road set-up also has a Snow mode.
Kodiaq has a well-controlled, comfortable ride with surefooted handling and appropriately weighted steering in normal mode, which provide good road feel. In Sport mode the steering is noticeably heavier. A short drive down a rough track showed Kodiaq with the Off-Road mode option (part of the Tech Pack) is quite capable of tackling difficult conditions. The fact that it only carries a space-saver spare wheel, however, suggests it is not intended for regular serious off-roading. Maximum towing capacity is a hefty 2000kg but the maximum ball load of only 80kg will be a limiting factor.
Skoda provides a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, and scheduled servicing is every 12 months or 15,000km. The cost of servicing is about mid-field for this type of vehicle. Owners can purchase service packs – three years/45,000km costs $1399, and five years/75,000km is $2999.