If you’re in the market for a large practical family car, there can be few models that appear – on paper, at least – to better fit the bill than the Skoda Kodiaq.
Skoda itself is famous for building some of the most practical cars on the market, while also providing excellent build quality combined with decent materials that don’t feel like they’ve been pulled from the bargain bucket.
The brand might not be considerably cheaper than rivals anymore, but its models typically offer some of the best value for money, which is arguably even more appealing than outright cost savings.
Combine all of this with the Kodiaq, which is a large, seven-seat SUV, and you can see why its credentials should put it high on the shopping list of every family looking for a bit more space.
With this theory in mind, we’ve decided to put it to the test. It has been proven time and again in the car industry that just because something looks like it should be great, doesn’t necessarily mean it will.
Sure, Skoda rarely misses the mark, but it’s part of the Volkswagen Group, and the company has hit a few foul balls in recent years that have trickled down through its various brands. Its ‘intelligent’ cruise control that won’t overtake other cars on the motorway, and the awful touch-sensitive steering wheel buttons found in various new models spring to mind.
Our test car is a high-specification Sportline trim. This gives it a slightly more dynamic exterior appearance, though the Kodiaq is an already handsome car, and holds its hefty weight better than most in this class.
It’s aided by a car-like upper front section, with fairly narrow split headlights, while below that there’s a second grille that runs the full width of the car. It means the Kodiaq doesn’t struggle with an awkwardly massive front grille like most large SUVs.
Prices for this model with the 2.0-litre diesel fitted to our car start at £42,710. Standard specification includes 20-inch alloy wheels, 9.2-inch infotainment display with sat nav, LED headlights, fog lights and rear lights, sports seats with microsuede upholstery, privacy glass and cruise control.
Our particular test car comes in at £47,630 thanks to the addition of various extras, with highlights including a £1,255 panoramic sunroof, which is pricey but makes the cabin feel extra light and airy, as well as a £675 winter pack that adds heated front and rear seats.
First impressions? The Skoda Kodiaq Sportline might do little to justify the ‘sport’ part of its name, but considering its primary role as a spacious, practical, value for money SUV it hits the nail on the head.
The driving position has decent adjustability and offers a commanding view of the road ahead, while most of the materials to hand feel like they could sneak into the price point above this.
The infotainment system works well and, so far at least, appears to not suffer from bugs and irritations, connecting to my phone quickly and easily and holding the connection well.
My only question mark is the diesel engine. While the demonisation of diesel means many people are flocking away from the fuel when they don’t need to, the vast majority of my driving is fairly local, meaning petrol and hybrids would typically suit better.
Regardless, I’ve been seeing 40mpg on extended runs, which is close to the official figures of around 42mpg, so there can’t be too many complaints – until it comes to topping up, of course, and the price of diesel sets my debit card on fire.
With my first baby on the way, a seven-seat SUV is definitely overkill. But I can already see why so many opt for these models when there are prams and child seats and all the other associated kit to carry with you. I’m intrigued to see if the positive first impressions continue with a baby in tow…