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In-depth reviews

Skoda Kodiaq review: the do-it-all family SUV

The Skoda Kodiaq largely succeeds in covering all the requirements of a family SUV; it’s just not exciting to drive

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Price
£36,605 to £49,190
  • Well-equipped
  • Good ergonomics
  • Massive boot
  • Not fun to drive
  • Sluggish engines
  • Floaty ride
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Quick verdict

The latest Skoda Kodiaq follows the same award-winning formula as the original and makes it even better. It’s even more practical thanks to a bigger boot and extra cabin space, which are impressive feats. Combined with solid build quality and a good level of standard kit means the Kodiaq should provide strong competition in the large SUV market. 

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The engine line up and driving experience focus on efficiency and comfort rather than engagement, which is a decision we can understand. Throw-in a sensible pricing list for these initial petrol and diesel models and the Skoda Kodiaq already looks like a class-leader ahead of the all-new plug-in hybrid version coming later on. 

Key specs 
Fuel typePetrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid
Body styleSUV
Powertrain1.5-litre, 4cyl, petrol, front-wheel drive
2.0-litre, 4cyl, diesel, front-wheel drive
2.0-litre, 4cyl, diesel, four-wheel drive
2.0-litre, 4cyl, petrol, four-wheel drive
1.5-litre, 4 cyl, petrol plus 1x e motor, front-wheel drive
SafetyNA
Warranty3 years/60,000 miles

Skoda Kodiaq: price, specs and rivals

The first-generation Skoda Kodiaq was one of our favourite SUVs, evidenced by its 2023 Large SUV of the Year award where our judges placed it ahead of many newer rivals. It was a well-deserved win because the brand’s flagship internal combustion engine model provided a great mixture of exceedingly good practicality combined with highly competitive pricing. But after seven years, the Czech firm has introduced the second-generation model. 

Fans of the previous generation Kodiaq will be pleased to know that the same basic formula remains, with a choice of five or seven seats, two or four-wheel drive, and petrol or diesel power. The difference this time is that there’s a plug-in hybrid in the range, which provides up to 62 miles of electric range and incorporates rapid charging – a technological first for the Kodiaq. 

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It might seem like the Skoda Kodiaq has all the bases covered for a great family SUV, but as ever, it’s an incredibly tough sector with the likes of the Peugeot 5008, Ford Kuga, Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento all fighting it out for sales. There’s also the Kodiaq’s Volkswagen Tiguan sibling, too. Competition from VW for the seven-seat Kodiaq will come in the form of the VW Tayron, which will replace the old Tiguan Allspace. While the Kodiaq is one of the cheapest seven-seat SUVs, if you’re looking for similar practicality on a budget, there are alternatives such as the Dacia Jogger and van-based MPVs such as the Citroen Berlingo, Ford Tourneo Connect, and Vauxhall Combo Life to consider. 

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The Kodiaq is offered in entry-level SE and more upmarket SE L trim levels. A sportier-looking Sportline trim will be offered by the middle of 2024, along with a hot VRS version that will return to the lineup sometime towards the end of the year. The SE kicks off the range at just over £36,000 in five-seat form and over £37,000 with seven-seats. Both can be had with either the 148bhp 1.5-litre TSI 48v mild-hybrid petrol unit or the 2.0-litre TDI 148bhp diesel, and use a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission

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Step up to the SE L, and you’ll get the seven-seat layout as standard, starting at just over £40,000. Along with those two powertrains mentioned above, the SE L is available with a more powerful 190bhp mild-hybrid 2.0-litre diesel engine with four-wheel drive kicking off at around £46,000. In the fullness of time, there will be a 201bhp 2.0-litre petrol, and a similarly powerful 1.5-litre plug-in hybrid model. The latter will feature a 25.7kWh battery pack that’s capable of up to 62 miles of electric driving, and it has rapid charging capability to match plug-in hybrid versions of the Land Rover Discovery Sport.

Beyond the SE, SE L and the forthcoming Sportline and VRS trim levels, Skoda also offers a range of four ‘Design Selections’. They’re taken from the Skoda Enyaq electric SUV and feature ‘coordinated colours and materials’, according to Skoda. ‘Loft’ uses grey recycled fabric seat upholstery, and ‘Lounge’ uses grey suede microfibre upholstery with a combination of wool, artificial leather, and x-shaped yellow stitching. ‘Suite black’ has perforated artificial leather with grey stitching, whereas ‘Suite Cognac’ uses leather upholstery in black with ‘x’ shaped needlework in a ‘Cognac’ brown colour.

Engines, performance & drive

The Kodiaq is more of a comfort-orientated large SUV that’ll get on with the job of transporting a family with the minimum of fuss, but it won’t be all that exciting to drive. To be fair, that doesn’t matter so much in this type of car, where buyers will appreciate more its refined motorway manners and soothing ride. Of the engines we’ve tried so far, the 2.0-litre diesel in 148bhp form provides all the performance you’ll need, with affordable running costs. Read more about the Skoda Kodiaq's engine, performance and drive…

MPG, emissions & running costs

As we mentioned above, the 2.0-litre 148bhp diesel will provide the most affordable running costs, but don’t discount the similarly powerful 1.5-litre petrol, because its mild-hybrid technology means it is much more economical than its predecessor, and will make sense for those who mostly complete urban journeys. The plug-in hybrid will make the most sense for company car drivers. Read more about the Skoda Kodiaq's MPG, C02 and running costs…

Interior, design & technology

The interior of the Kodiaq continues to impress us, not just in terms of the well thought-out ‘simply clever’ features, but also in terms of its ‘Smart Dial’ system. It utilises three rotary dials that switch between controlling various frequently used functions without having to resort to diving into the touchscreen menus. This makes the Kodiaq less distracting to use on the move compared with some of its rivals. We also highly rate the material quality of the Kodiaq, which puts you in mind of a premium SUV rather than a good value family car. Read more about the Skoda Kodiaq's interior, design and technology…

Boot space, comfort & practicality

The boot of the Kodiaq is bigger than ever, providing 340 litres of space in the seven-seater version with all the seats up, rising to 910 litres when the third row is folded. Dropping the rear seats is very easy, and they lay flat, which is great for loading longer items. There’s plenty of space for anyone six-foot tall to fit in the front, and a similarly tall person can fit behind them in the second row. You get up to three ISOFIX child seat mounting points in the Kodiaq, giving families an extra degree of flexibility in where they can put child seats.  Read more about the Skoda Kodiaq's boot space, comfort and practicality…

Reliability & safety

The latest Skoda Kodiaq is too new to have been crash tested by Euro NCAP, and also won’t have been included in the latest Driver Power customer satisfaction results. However, the previous model did do well with owners, so we anticipate the latest model will continue this trend. You also get plenty of safety technology as standard, so the Kodiaq should be a safe place to put your family. Read more about the Skoda Kodiaq’s reliability and safety…

Should you buy a Skoda Kodiaq?

The Kodiaq’s strengths lie in its ability to cope with family needs, especially when it comes to practicality. The choice of five or seven seats remains a plus point, although the third-row seats are a little tight for adults. While the Kodiaq should serve a large family well, it’s not the most dynamic SUV to drive, and the engine lineup, while efficient, isn't particularly engaging. 

Families are the obvious target for the Kodiaq and Skoda expects a 60/40 per cent split between the five and seven-seater models - which shows there’s a strong appetite for the extra row of seats. A vRS model with more power will join the range, although our early experience suggests Skoda will struggle to make the performance-focused Kodiaq feel special to drive. A luxury-focused L&K model will also join the range for those looking for more kit and that is likely to be more in-keeping with the big Skoda’s underlying character. 

Its ability to soak up motorway miles is impressive but we can’t see keen drivers get excited about the Kodiaq. Not many seven-seat SUV manage to deliver in this area, however, and the Kodiaq certainly isn’t the worst in the class to drive. Skoda’s effort gets the stuff that will really matter to family buyers right and that’s the important thing.

Frequency Asked Questions

Skoda offers three years and 60,000 miles of warranty with the option to extend this to five years and 100,000 miles

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.5 TSI SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £28,255

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.5 TSI SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £28,255

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 TSI 245 vRS 4x4 5dr DSG [7 Seat]
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £47,105
Online Reviews Editor

Max looks after the reviews on the Auto Express website. He’s been a motoring journalist since 2017 and has written for Autocar, What Car?, Piston Heads, DrivingElectric, Carbuyer, Electrifying, and Good Motoring Magazine.

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