In September 2016, Skoda unveiled their new SUV. The Skoda Kodiaq. The big question on everybody's lips at the time was, can these guys make a good SUV? We remember driving the new Skoda Superb for the first time and one of the questions at the launch was, do you reckon they'll be simply clever enough to make a 7-seat version? That wasn't to happen. But now, with this large SUV, Skoda has made a 7-seat car in the form of a bear - or the Skoda Kodiaq as it is called. Once the Kodiaq went into full production, it started receiving excellent reviews immediately. Skoda has done it, they have succeeded in making an excellent large SUV. Yes, they may have had some SUV experience with the Yeti, but the Kodiaq is a different kettle of fish all together.
Our test model housed a 2.0 TDI 190hp engine and was mated to a 7-speed DSG gearbox. Power is by no means a problem with this engine, with ample breathing room for overtaking. We are yet to drive the other available engines (1.4 TSI petrol with 125& 150 hp outputs as well as a 2.0 TDI 150hp). The 7-Speed box can be a little slow to change if you really put the foot down - this is not unusual with a lot of gearboxes and if you steadily get up to speed, the changes are fluid. On paper, the 190bhp model will bring you from 0-100km/h in 8.6 seconds. The 1.4 TSI 150hp covers the same distance in 9.6 seconds, while the 2.0 TDI 150hp model does it in 10.1 (9.7 with the 4x4 model). Our test model was 4x4 and we believe it will be good for getting up icy roads or slippy mountain roads and mild off-roading.
On the open road, the Skoda Kodiaq is surprisingly good. Apart from a good delivery of power, this car (especially with 4x4) offers good grip. There is a bit of body roll on corners - this should be expected, but it is not as bad as we were expecting it to be. The suspension felt good on our model and there were no major bumps or bruises going over imperfections.
The diesel engine is loud enough, and running on 19" tyres, we found the Kodiaq to throw back some road noise. The chunky wing mirrors also picked up a bit of wind noise. Apart from that, this is a refined vehicle and there are no other major sources of road noise.
Skoda makes a generous car, and even from entry level, they do come with good standard equipment. The materials inside are nice to the touch and the cheaper plastics are only found lower down the dash. The quality is excellent, and this is something that is similar in both the Octavia and the Superb.
The Skoda Kodiaq scored a full five stars in the Euro NCAP. The only negative in terms of normal equipment is that in the 7-seat version, seats 6 and 7 don't get ISOFIX mounts. Also, there is none in the middle of row 2 - however, this won't matter to many people as most booster seats are independent of ISOFIX attachments. From Active trim up, the Skodiaq gets cruise control, hill start assist and E-call (which is Skoda's emergency call system).
5-seat versions of the Kodiaq offer a boot of 835 litres, while the 7-seat offers 765-litres. Both figures are generous. Row two of our test model was on rails, which meant extra space if required depending on where your passengers are sitting. There are no head, leg or shoulder issues in either row one or two. Row three is tight if the second-row rail is pushed right back.