New Skoda Kodiaq 2017 review
We sample the right-hand-drive version of the seven-seat Skoda Kodiaq SUV for first time
The Skoda Kodiaq is just as good in full UK spec as we found it in European guise. It’s quiet, comfortable, good to drive and great value. The interior feels upmarket, but this top-spec Edition model isn’t our pick. Go for the SE L and you’ll have all the kit needed for quite a bit less money. The 2.0-litre TDI is the engine to go for, feeling punchy, economical and refined as well.
It’s been a long time coming, but after sampling a left-hand-drive Skoda Kodiaq on British roads earlier this year, we’ve been given the keys to the big SUV in UK spec for the first time. It’s one of the most important Skodas ever, entering a new market for the brand and appealing to SUV buyers who want quality and value.
The Kodiaq is a rival for the Nissan X-Trail and Kia Sorento, and is priced below both in equivalent specs – but the best thing about the Kodiaq is that it’s a great car in its own right, rather than just being a cheap option for those wanting a seven-seater SUV.
While the sixth and seventh seats are only suitable for kids as with rivals, there’s loads of room elsewhere. Space with the seats down is 2,005 litres, but with just the rearmost seats folded there’s still a 720-litre area. Space in the middle row is good, and there’s more than enough room for five with accompanying luggage. Seven-up, you’ll have to limit what you carry along, though.
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Up front the Kodiaq feels roomy, with an easily adjustable driving position, and the interior design is excellent. At launch, the Edition model has an eight-inch touchscreen, which feels very modern – although the lack of physical buttons can be frustrating.
This limited-run model also gets full leather seats, but go for an SE L and you get part-Alcantara upholstery. That version is definitely a better buy, because it’s got loads of standard kit – including 19-inch wheels, LED lights and sat-nav – yet costs just £30,650 with the same engine as our test car. That’s a saving of nearly £2,000.
The 2.0 TDI diesel is the engine to go for. It delivers decent economy (51.4mpg and 144g/km of CO2), though a front-wheel-drive car is more economical still. It felt more than punchy enough, even on our hilly Somerset test route. Leave it in gear and there’s enough torque to build up speed without fuss. Change down quickly and the 148bhp motor starts to feel strained. But below 3,000rpm the engine is remarkably well isolated. In some other VW Group cars the same engine can be quite noisy, but the Skoda keeps things hushed.
While the Kodiaq won’t get your pulse racing on a B-road, there’s plenty of grip, and the well weighted controls mean it’s satisfying to drive quickly. There’s a sport mode, but we found the extra steering weight unnecessary. And even on 19-inch wheels, the Skoda rides very well.