The Skoda Kodiaq will be Skoda’s first entry into the family-sized SUV class, taking on rivals like the Nissan X-Trail and Hyundai Santa Fe with 5 and 7-seat versions. The car will go on sale in the UK early in 2017 after making its public debut in Berlin during September 2016, before the Paris Motor Show.
Skoda’s eagerly anticipated Kodiaq will be competitively priced from around £23,000 when the order books open and we’re expecting our first chance to bring you a review of the production version before the end of the year. Before that the Skoda Kodiaq is all set to lead the Tour De France grand finale this weekend, travelling down the legendary Boulevard Champs-Elysées in Paris.
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Sadly for Skoda fans, the Kodiaq won’t yet be fully unveiled at the Tour de France. The brand has prepared a special red, grey and black camouflage for the pre-production prototype, matching the tour’s ‘red car’, a Corrida Red Skoda Superb that acts as a mobile control centre for the race.
Fans will have to wait until the 1st September for the official reveal of the Kodiaq in Berlin, with Skoda then giving the public its first up-close look at the 2016 Paris Motor Show a few weeks later. The Tour De France the prototype Kodiaq will, however, provide our clearest look at the new car to date. It will be driven on the final stage by former professional cyclist and Skoda brand ambassador Stephen Roche, marking the 13th time Skoda has been the official sponsor of the world’s most famous cycling race.
The Skoda Kodiaq launches the Czech car maker‘s model offensive in the SUV segment. The Kodiaq is designed to be an embodiment of the brand’s latest design language and most advanced technology. Skoda promises a distinct look with its own character as well as exceptional interior space and numerous advanced features.
One rung up the SUV ladder from the smaller Skoda Yeti, the new Skoda Kodiaq SUV will be a 5 or 7-seater with a range of the latest turbocharged petrol and diesel engines. It will also get hybrid power in 2019.
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Auto Express has previously reported spy shots of Skoda's brand-new Kodiaq SUV, out testing at the famous Nurburgring racetrack. This was the second time we had seen it in the metal, after design boss Jozef Kaban put pen to paper to give us our first official look at the brand's new Land Rover Discovery Sport rival.
The brand confirmed the car's Kodiaq name in May, having previewed the new SUV with the Vision S concept at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Early rumours that the car might be called the Skoda Snowman proved to be false when Skoda officially registered Kodiaq as a trademark in 2015. The name refers to the Kodiak bear that resides in Alaska.
"That [hybrid] will come in 2019," according to Duncan Movassaghi, director of Skoda UK. A year later a "full battery" SUV with its own body style will also join the Skoda line-up to supplement the Yeti and Kodiaq models.
Explained Movassaghi: "It's easier to package something that was designed specifically to be an electric car. Electric cars will be more expensive for the foreseeable future, so it makes sense to produce a more premium model like an SUV."
Speaking ahead of the full reveal, Skoda design boss Jozef Kaban said: "The Kodiaq is a pioneer for our brand in two respects. We are entering a new segment, and at the same time the Kodiaq is the first model with the new Skoda design language.
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"The Kodiaq is extremely versatile. It is robust, suits all types of terrain and offers the best flexibility and functionality", he said. "We wanted to visualise this in the exterior design as well as the interior. The crystalline and striking appearance also underlines the strength and character of the Skoda Kodiaq."
Looking at both the design sketches and the prototype test cars, its obvious Skoda will carry over the concept's sloping roofline, large clamshell bonnet, sleek headlights and wide grille. Roof bars and the large tailgate mark out the car's practical side, while bulging sills give it a more muscular look. It's clear that the Kodiaq will have plenty of space in the back, both in terms of passenger room (there's space for seven) and luggage space.
We've no pictures of the Skoda Kodiaq interior just yet, but Kaban insists the stylish exterior hides a functional yet desirable interior.
"We are carrying the exterior’s wide, clear lines forward into the interior. And the emphasis here is on the harmony between form and functionality, on calm and clarity", he said. "An interior should spark feelings of trust and well-being. From this philosophy, we have created an atmosphere that is also elegant, comfortable and functional at the same time." Insiders tell us that UK cars are expected to offer both five and seven seats, depending on trim and specification.
The Skoda Kodiaq has its roots with the 'Vision S' concept SUV shown at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. The concept is 4.7 metres long, and the production car will share the same dimensions.
The concept gets three rows of two seats (instead of the production car's seven-seat layout) and gives a clear idea of how Skoda’s line-up of new SUVs could look as it’s rolled out over the next four years.
It also indicates the production version of the Kodiaq will be slightly longer than a Nissan X-Trail. It'll be 1.91m wide and 1.68m tall, so significantly wider and higher than the new SEAT Ateca, too.
Alongside the additional space, the Vision S debuted new cabin tech that is said to be more user-friendly than ever. Two large 16-inch displays sit on the dash between air vents, allowing access to instrument data and multimedia for both the driver and passenger simultaneously.
The Geneva concept also debuted a four-wheel drive petrol-electric hybrid powertrain; a 154bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine mated to a 54bhp electric motor and a six-speed DSG automatic gearbox. A second electric motor on the rear axle can provide a total 114bhp output, and when the two work in tandem with the engine to total powertrain output is 222bhp. It can reach 0-62mph in a claimed 7.4 seconds, but it emits just 45g/km of CO2. It can also travel on electric power solely for 31 miles.
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This means the production Kodiaq could feasibly offer the same hybrid set-up as the VW Tiguan GTE. However, although we will see a Kodiaq hybrid, the exact system has yet to be confirmed for production, as senior company officials are wary of introducing a Skoda that could cost nearly £50,000 in high-end trims and finishes.
The prospect of a £40,000 Skoda is realistic, however. With bosses citing the example of the Superb, where take-up of the top trim levels has been higher than expected, Duncan Movassaghi, director Skoda UK, said: "The brand is not showing a lack of customers at a higher price point. Our conquest mix is ever moving towards premium. If you've got customers who are driving cars that are well north of £40,000 could you envisage them buying a Skoda at that price point? I'm sure you could. It's not a strategy but it is something over time that will happen. But our goal is to get the value keen.
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