Thursday 17 August 2017

Kodiaq is fit for all the family

Skoda has arrived fashionably late to the SUV party with its seven-seat Kodiaq, writes Geraldine Herbert

Impressive: The Kodiaq firmly establishes Skoda in the SUV segment, offering space, comfort and practicality
Impressive: The Kodiaq firmly establishes Skoda in the SUV segment, offering space, comfort and practicality

A multitude of companies, and not only those involved in the automotive business, could learn a thing or two from Skoda's growth strategy over the years.

For more than two decades, a simple message has resonated from the Czech car maker: clever functional design, value for money and reliability.

Skoda has consistently produced more interesting yet practical cars than many rivals and this has transformed a brand once synonymous with eastern bloc functionality into a serious player.

The Kodiaq arrives on the market at a time when, despite the popularity of Crossovers and SUVs, if you need space for up to seven and want an affordable family-sized crossover or SUV, there aren't a huge amount of options.

Seven-seat SUVs tend to fall into the very pricey category such as Audi Q7, Volvo XC90, Range Rover Sport, BMW X5 or Mercedes GLS or the less pricey but still not cheap, such as the Nissan X-Trail, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Kia Sorento, Mitsubishi Outlander and the Hyundai Santa Fe.

Visually, the Kodiaq echoes the look that's proved so successful for Skoda - functional yet classy - but in a segment that is as much about style as it is performance, this tough and muscular SUV may not have the most kerb appeal.

Inside, it is beautifully finished and oozes quality; everything is both ergonomic and stylish. Three adults fit comfortably in the back, and in the seven-seat option, the middle three seats slide forward to allow extra room for the two rear ones.

Families will love the roomy and versatile seating arrangements, but the two seats at the back are best saved for children as they are quite small and only suitable for short journeys.

With all seven seats in place, the Kodiaq has a reasonably decent 270 litres of boot space. It also has a number of features that are intriguing like the rubber guard that unfolds every time you open a door, to prevent damage to the frame in case the door knocks against another object.

Engine options include a 2-litre diesel engine available with 150hp or 190hp and a 1.4-litre petrol offered in 125hp or 150hp versions.

The 2.0-litre TDI 150hp DSG combined with the Automatic DSG box is the one to opt for in terms of fuel economy, returning up to 4.9 litres per 100 and with motor tax of €280 per year.

Our test car was powered by the more powerful diesel, the 190hp with DSG 4x4. According to Skoda, on a mix of urban and motorway driving, you can expect to achieve about 5.7 litres per 100km with €390 for road tax.

Despite its size, the Kodiaq transports the entire family in comfort, effortlessly and in total refinement. In the depths of winter, when you need all-wheel drive, a simple switch of a button will engage four-wheel mode. All the relevant systems - engine management, assistance systems, electronic chassis systems, such as ABS and ESC, and suspension - adjust instantly and automatically to the treacherous conditions.

The five-seater petrol version is priced from €28,795 and the diesel from €35,495. Available in three trims, Active, Ambition and Style, standard options on our Style test car included 19in alloy, detachable luggage compartment lamp, full LED front headlamps, 8in Columbus touch-screen radio and navigation unit, Skoda Connect, black Alcantara leather, rear-view camera and more - but with optional extras such as the seven seats and a Style+ Pack, the price came to €46,545.

Related: Use our calculator to estimate your car loan repayments

Skoda's new Kodiaq offers space, comfort and practicality and is an all-purpose family car with enough off-road ability for adventurous family holidays.

The Kodiaq's starting price is very competitive but few buyers are going to opt for the entry level 1.4 petrol version with five seats; the main seller is more likely to be the 4x4 DSG version that is priced from €40,245. So while the SUV is not quite as cheap as it appears, it is still good value for money.

Sunday Independent

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