New Skoda Kodiaq SUV: prices, specs and everything you need to know
The Skoda Kodiaq is available now in five or seven-seat guises with prices from £21,495. Get all the details here…
Skoda Kodiaq SUV: technology
Skoda has long had a reputation for making spacious, well built, great-value cars. But in 2017, buyers expect an array of tech, too – and on that front the Kodiaq delivers as the most cutting-edge, connected machine the brand has produced to date.
The model acts as a marker, too, because as head of electric/electronics development Reiner Katzwinkel told us, a lot of the new tech will filter down to the rest of Skoda’s range. “Now we will bring it to our smaller cars; the Octavia and the replacement for the Yeti,” he stressed.
But unlike with some manufacturers, it’s not simply a case of throwing as much technology as possible at the Kodiaq. “We do it step-by-step. We are waiting, so when the tech is reachable in terms of cost, it will go in the cars,” explained Katzwinkel. “The issue is that we want to keep the cars affordable.”
So, what does the Kodiaq have to offer? We take a look at some of the technology highlights.
With four separate systems available in UK-spec models, Skoda claims there’s an infotainment package available to suit all budgets. Swing kicks things off with a 6.5-inch screen, DAB, SmartLink +, USB and SD card ports plus Bluetooth. It’s available on S models.
It’s followed by Bolero, which has an eight-inch screen and adds four speakers. This comes in SE trim, although buyers at this level have the option to upgrade to Amundsen, which adds navigation. SE L brings the eight-inch Columbus system, which adds WiFi, Infotainment Online and a DVD drive. Edition also gets Columbus, and adds wireless charging.
This is the banner under which Skoda is heralding its new tech, and it consists of three packages. Infotainment Online takes information and nav services to the next level for the brand, while Care Connect allows owners to control certain functions via their smartphone. Emergency Call is geared towards maximising safety.
Katzwinkel hailed this advanced connectivity offering, available on the Columbus package, as a “real breakthrough for Skoda” – and with very good reason. The breadth of information available is significant.
Online traffic data, for example, allows the Kodiaq to plot the shortest route possible to your destination, while you can request details of specific styles of restaurants, for example, or configure routes on your PC and then send them to your Skoda.
This tech is self-explanatory; it allows you to better look after your Kodiaq by being better connected, via the Skoda Connect app. If you’re in unfamiliar territory, for example, it can help you find where you’ve parked. You can also set limits as to where and how other drivers use the Kodiaq. For example, owners may want to ensure children don’t drive to certain destinations or at excessive speeds. If the kids break the ‘rules’, a message is sent via smartphone.
You can also specify a certain dealership and receive insight into the car’s mechanical condition and notifications of the service schedule. “It’s all designed to make ownership easier,” said Katzwinkel.
If the worst happens, it’s reassuring to know the Kodiaq can intervene. In an accident, cars fitted with this tech will automatically contact a call centre with key information such as the number of passengers, the vehicle location and the direction of travel. The emergency services are alerted in parallel, and contact is maintained with the vehicle until an ambulance or police are on the scene.
This feature comes fitted as standard on all models, and allows you to access your smartphone’s functions via the Kodiaq, which mirrors your phone on its central display. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink are all supported, meaning that the vast majority of today’s most popular phones are compatible.
Skoda ‘Simply Clever’ features
While the connectivity featured in the Kodiaq is undoubtedly very smart, there’s a whole host of other practical features that Skoda markets under the Simply Clever banner. Realising that innovative details can often persuade a buyer to sign on the dotted line, the manufacturer has carved out quite a niche for inventive solutions – and the brand-new Kodiaq continues that trend.
Not unique to the Kodiaq, but welcome nonetheless. Both rear doors feature small brollies that slide into the panel and can be pulled out when the weather turns. Ideal for British summertime...
Who hasn’t been forced to use a credit card to clear a frosty screen due to the lack of an ice scraper? We’ve all done it – but by including one on the Kodiaq’s fuel flap, Skoda has ensured owners will always have the real thing to hand.
At 1,882mm, the Kodiaq is Skoda’s widest car. Parking bays are getting ever smaller, which increases the likelihood of car park dings. A simple rubber covering for the door edge reduces the potential for unsightly damage.
Another idea taken from elsewhere in the Skoda range, but so simple you wonder why more makers don’t follow suit. The torch is stored in the boot, and any driver who is unexpectedly stranded at night will value it.
This option makes opening and closing the boot easy, even if you’re loaded down with luggage. Simply move your foot under a rear sensor and the tailgate will open – and you can close it in the same fashion.
Skoda Kodiaq SUV: development and testing
The average car buyer in the UK covers around 9,000 miles in a single year, and the most testing terrain they’re likely to encounter is a slippery side street dusted in snow. In reality, the Skoda Kodiaq is unlikely to face much worse.
But on the off chance that a customer’s commute is via Death Valley or Antarctica, the Kodiaq has to be prepared for it. And to ensure it can conquer the most extreme conditions Mother Nature can throw at it, Skoda puts prototypes through a meticulous and relentless development process.
The whole procedure starts in the digital world. Even before prototype vehicles have been built, engineers can test the Kodiaq’s structural rigidity, acoustic comfort and behaviour during crash test simulations. Such is the complexity of the hardware and software Skoda uses to run these digital assessments, they would take a conventional PC 500 years to complete.
Once the Kodiaq has been put through a range of digital crash tests, engineers then move on to conduct hot and cold weather simulations. Specially built climate chambers at Skoda’s factory in Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic, are able to replicate conditions as cold as minus 40 degrees Celsius. Skoda also tests the car in conditions as warm as 80 deg C in the chamber.
Such tests allow engineers to analyse components in a controlled environment to see how they react if faced with such extreme situations for real. If there’s any sign of warping or expansion, the components or parts can then be amended for mass production to prevent it happening when the car goes on sale.
However, there are only so many situations that can be replicated in the lab; Skoda’s next step is to take a convoy of prototype vehicles to every continent in search of the most extreme conditions on the planet. The exact locations are often top secret, but in total Skoda engineers cover more than 1.2 million miles in Kodiaq prototypes to iron out any mechanical issues before mass production begins. A big focus during the development drives on the Kodiaq was the new assistance systems, ride and acoustic comfort and off-road ability.
Once those gruelling miles have been covered, the most difficult test for the Kodiaq lies ahead. Back in the lab, the car is then subjected to an endurance test on a hydropuls test stand. This hydraulic system is able to transfer extreme forces to the body and wheels, simulating the enormous distances and wear the car would face but in a fraction of the time it would take to cover them physically. The endurance test is a 130-hour marathon of rigorous activity; it’s the equivalent of around 5,000 miles of off-road or over 90,000 miles of everyday driving wear and tear.
With the final sign-off drives edging closer, one of the final assessments the Kodiaq is put through is an open and close function test. As the name suggests, every single part of the car that can be opened or closed – from the fuel filler cap to the doors – is rated for durability. Robots undertake the task, often all at the same time, and it lasts for six weeks non-stop.
If something is to break or malfunction during that time, engineers have to find a solution and then start the test again from scratch. The same test is then conducted in the climate chamber, where everything has to work just as well at minus 40 deg C as it does at 80 deg C. After all of that, the Kodiaq should be able to face the worst a family of seven can throw at it.
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- 1New Skoda Kodiaq SUV: prices, specs and everything you need to knowThe Skoda Kodiaq is available now in five or seven-seat guises with prices from £21,495. Get all the details here…
- 2New Skoda Kodiaq SUV: prices, specs and everything you need to know - currently readingThe Skoda Kodiaq is available now in five or seven-seat guises with prices from £21,495. Get all the details here…