Each week our team of experienced senior road testers pick out a new model from the world of innovative, premium and performance badges, and put it through its paces.
APR 03rd 2017
The Goodwood Test: Skoda Kodiaq
Considering the Kodiaq’s role as family transport, you can quite easily envisage a couple of bicycles strapped to its roof, which is apt when you remember this company was in fact kickstarted with two-wheeled transportation more than 120 years ago.
Since then Skoda has been through its fair share of ups and downs, settling on its current steady path after the VW Group took ownership in 1991. With Volkswagen’s toy box to raid yet sufficient free will to forge its own path, Skoda has built a range of great value, no nonsense cars that place practicality first.
It also joined the SUV party when it launched the Yeti in 2009, but until now has lacked any kind of car with seven seats. The Kodiaq changes that, and in doing so provides Skoda with a typically unconventional offering alongside other VW Group SUVs.
If the Kodiaq isn’t about to win any beauty contests, nor will it break any mirrors. Its lines are taut and assured, with a hint of BMW about the rear lights, and more road presence than any other Skoda to date.
The boxy shape also results in good access to all three rows of seats, and while the rearmost are only really suitable for children, you do at least retain a good amount of boot space when they are in place.
The rest of the interior design exemplifies modern Skoda, being solid and eminently functional, if lacking in the swish touches that define the best in this class.
Even with the flagship 2.0-litre petrol or diesel engines on board, the Kodiaq is not a car in which you can imagine thundering away from Goodwood hillclimb's startline, or slinging into Molecomb with utmost commitment.
That said, with a best in range 0-62mph time of 8.2 seconds from a 178bhp petrol engine, it’s far from a slouch, and the most powerful 2.0-litre diesel has a typically strong mid-range whether you opt to take it with 148bhp or 187bhp. Don’t discount the pair of 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engines either, for they punch above their weight to deliver perfectly adequate performance.
Through the bends, the Kodiaq is no sports car, but it’s still more engaging than rivals from Hyundai and Kia whilst maintaining a plush ride quality.
You might look at the Kodiaq’s practical attributes and declare it about as emotionally evocative as a fridge. However, the passion here is evident in the practical details, whether it’s the large boot or touches such as umbrellas that pop out of the doors (Rolls-Royce isn’t alone with that trick) or an ice scraper that clips into the petrol cap.
In addition, there’s the knowledge that possibly more than any other mainstream car-maker, Skoda is staffed by people who hold a belief in the product that goes beyond mere professional obligation. If you’ll accept that as a definition of passion, the Kodiaq has it in spades.
Price tag: From £21,565 (five-seat 1.4-litre S manual) to £34,050 (seven-seat 2.0 TDI DSG)
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