Thank you for submitting the form. Your reference number is
With Kodiaq, Skoda has packaged the key elements of what a family car should be, and made it good to drive as well.
The Kodiaq seven-seater SUV joins Skoda’s burgeoning line-up which to date includes the Fabia (small hatch and wagon), Octavia (mid-size sedan and wagon), Superb (premium sedan and wagon) and Yeti (compact SUV) meaning it has pretty much got the market covered, albeit as a rather niche player.
Aside from the unusual name – which continues the big hairy critter theme of the Yeti, this time referencing a bear – Kodiaq is a very impressive vehicle. It looks good and has a palpable upmarket feel to it, particularly the well-laid-out high-rent interior.
With Kodiaq, Skoda may well have busted out of the backwater, delivering a very competitive package with a starting point of $46,290 drive-away for the 132TSI petrol model, with the 140TDI diesel model coming in at $52,790.
The standard car has seven seats, 19-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and ignition, and an eight-speaker/9.2-inch touchscreen-based navigation and infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and voice control.
Lighting the way are full LED headlamps with an adaptive front light system, which adjusts the lights to suit the prevailing driving conditions. As with most European cars these days, daytime running lamps are also standard, as is adaptive cruise control, dual-zone air-conditioning and a powered tailgate.
The most significant optional extras are bundled in two main packs. The $4900 Luxury Pack adds blind-spot detection, lane assist, rear traffic alert, surround area view, heated seats (front and rear) and more.
The Tech Pack ($2500) includes adaptive chassis control with driving mode selection, automatic parking assistance and off-road mode as well as a 10-speaker premium sound system which I found absolutely brilliant. To help keep ‘thems-out-back’ entertained, detachable holders for tablet devices are included in the head-rests – a nice touch. Another random but rather cute standard offering are the brollies hidden in each front door.
What’s most pleasing, though, is that even the base Kodiaq is awash with sophisticated safety technology. Included in the standard package are autonomous emergency braking, nine airbags and fatigue detection, contributing to an excellent five-star ANCAP rating tested against the latest EuroNCAP protocol.
A family car
I found Kodiaq to be a rather good drive. The steering was great and the ride and body control were first-rate. It was very Audi-like, in fact, which isn’t surprising given they’re sister companies. It was really only the at-times ponderous throttle response that spoilt the story.
However, dynamic ability is not necessarily top of mind for a buyer of a car like this. People buy seven-seaters for the flexibility in load it offers. Whether it succeeds or not depends on your perspective, because Kodiaq is no people mover, and an adult in the third row would feel very squished on a journey of any significance. Likewise, these seats lack child restraint anchors which limits their use to those children at least large enough to travel in boosters.
Also, if the booster has a top tether, you won’t be able to legally use it in the back row of the Kodiaq. It would also be remiss not to mention the third-row belts which are two-piece jobs and a little fiddly to clip together, although this is far from an uncommon arrangement.
Nevertheless, the third-row seats fold flat to give a prodigious luggage area.
In the middle row, accommodation for those in child restraints is fine, with two ISOFIX positions. We tried them out with two types of Australian Standards-approved compatible restraints and had no trouble fitting them. As with many cars, fitting three restraints or boosters abreast would be cosy.
For adults, the middle ground is almost perfect. The seats individually slide on rails to optimise legroom – at the expense of the third row, of course. They’re also extremely comfortable.
So, the bottom line is that Skoda have skewed things towards a typical family layout of five, with occasional seating out back. A single dad of four, I found this an ideal vehicle for my crew.
My oldest bloke, having just graduated from his booster, was happy with a back-row hermitage away from his annoying younger brother, while his elder sisters had plenty of room to spread out. It all made a long drive an absolute breeze, as did the nifty voice amplification system clearly designed to allow parents to easily admonish back-seat recalcitrants.
Passenger-free with all the rear seats folded, Kodiaq proved itself to be a most proficient load lugger. The car more than showed its mettle, swallowing a bunk bed, three mattresses and the rest of the assorted detritus I accumulated from a wearisome trip to Ikea.
Kodiaq clearly shows that Skoda has understood what the key elements of a large family car should be. This made even more impressive by the fact that it’s Skoda’s first car in this segment.
Eight-inch touch-screen. Satellite navigation. Apple CarPlay & Android Auto. Bluetooth with voice control. USB, AUX and 2 x SD card connectivity. Dual-zone climate control. Leather-appointed trim. LED lights all round with Adaptive Frontlight System. Keyless start. Roof rails.