Skoda Kodiaq review: First attempt at SUV market nails it

This is a huge car for Skoda. Tapping into the ever-flourishing SUV market, the Kodiaq aims to give consumers a large, spacious and comfortable vehicle - but for a much lower price than those found with premium rivals.

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Equipped with one of three engines - a 1.4-litre petrol, 2.0-litre petrol or 2.0-litre diesel - the Kodiaq is aiming squarely at larger families who still want to keep running costs low. That means that even base-specification cars get a huge amount of standard equipment, while buyers of higher-grade models won't feel short-changed either, given the increase in the amount of tech on pricier versions.

This is a completely new segment for Skoda, and shows a lot of intent from Czech brand. Well-known now for making reliable and well-priced cars, the Kodiaq is a natural progression for the company - but it has to get it right first time if it hopes to succeed.

We think that Skoda has hit the nail on the head with the Kodiaq. It looks purposeful enough but not too intimidating. The brand is doing well to shake off its "boring" image that was associated with it for many years, with the Kodiaq helping this endeavour.

Even base-specification cars ride on 17-inch alloy wheels, while top-of-the-range "Edition" cars are fitted with large 19-inchers. Everything about the car feels solid and well put together - though there's no mistaking that the Kodiaq is a Volkswagen group car, with plenty of tech included that we've seen on other cars.

If you're looking to transport a large family, then space is essential. Thankfully, this is where the Kodiaq does exceptionally well.

The five-seat car affords its users a colossal 2,065 litres of boot space with the rear seats folded flat - the largest load area in the class. The boot's lip isn't too high either, which makes loading larger items in and out a little easier, while the completely flat bed with the seats lowered adds to the excellent usability of the boot.

For those looking to take two more people, there's the seven-seat version, giving another string to the Kodiaq's already well-strung bow. You're not going to incur much of a penalty in the practicality stakes for picking the seven-seater either, as its seats-flat load area is reduced to a still respectable 2,005-litres - which isn't bad at all.

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However, with that final row raised the boot space is somewhat tight - something worth remembering if you're planning on using the Kodiaq as a seven-seater most of the time.

The Kodiaq is offered from launch with two petrol engines, a 1.4-litre turbocharged unit producing 123bhp and a 2.0-litre turbocharged one putting out 178bhp.

There's also a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel, which produces either 148bhp or 187bhp - the former of which is set to undoubtedly become the best seller. Of course, the petrol units will suit those looking to drive the Kodiaq mainly around town, though the diesels will be the better option for people who plan on undertaking more miles.

In short, there's a good range of engines that offer something for everyone.

You've also got the option of either a six-speed manual, six-speed DSG or seven-speed DSG gearbox. Of course, four-wheel drive can be specified on all powertrains, though you'll see a slight premium for this option. For example, while the base 1.4-petrol with a manual gearbox and two-wheel drive comes in at £21,495, the four wheel-drive version - albeit only available in grade SE trim - retails for £25,445.

When you first get into the Kodiaq, it can feel a little intimidating. Make no bones about it, it's a big car.

However, once you're up and running, these reservations quickly disappear, as it's surprisingly agile through the bends. In any spec the Kodiaq features a lot of technology, while will be popular with those looking to get a little bit more for their money.

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