Skoda Kodiaq review - Interior, design and technology
The Kodiaq’s cabin is typical Skoda: Solidly built, easy to operate and versatile. It looks smart on the outside, too
After years of producing rather nondescript vehicles, Skoda proved it can do stylish with models such as the Yeti and Superb. The Kodiaq can be added to that list – it’s not radical or groundbreaking to look at in any way, but it has an understated class to it that belies its price tag.
The front-end is heavily inspired by the Superb, with a sharp dual headlight design made to look like Czech crystals. It’s got a far more angular stance than the smaller Yeti SUV, too, while details like the prominent grille, clamshell bonnet and high waistline give it true SUV presence. At the back. There’s Skoda’s now trademark styling line slicing the bootlid in two, and squared-off tail-lights. Full LED headlights are optional on all trim levels and standard on higher-end models, and add another element of class to the Kodiaq. They also include Audi-style scrolling LED indicators, although even base models come with LED daytime running lights and LED tail-lights.
Entry-level SE trim includes 18-inch alloy wheels, which do look a bit small in the wheelarches. Step up to SE Drive and above and you’ll get 19-inch rims. The SportLine and VRS models come with 20-inch alloys to give that muscular SUV look that buyers crave, but they have a detrimental effect on ride quality.
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Chrome window trim, coloured UV-insulating glass and anodised silver roof rails mark out top models. The Scout also gets silver painted skid plates and unique badging, while Sportline and vRS models get a body kit and racy trinkets.
Inside, the design is a mixture of familiarity and new. The wood-like inlays covering the dash won’t be to all tastes, but they do make the Kodiaq feel more upmarket than something like a Nissan X-Trail. There’s a chunky centre console with just the right amount of buttons and switches, while the focal point on higher spec models is the new eight-inch Bolero touchscreen with a glossy black fascia and touch-sensitive buttons. The design is a step on from the Superb’s.
While the standard dials are crisp enough, VW Group’s Virtual Cockpit is available as an optional extra on all but the vRS model, on which it comes fitted as standard. Heated, electrically adjustable Alcantara sports seats are fitted to the Sportline, while vRS models receive microsuede seats with red stitching.
Quality, in general, is good. In fact, the Kodiaq isn’t far off the level of upmarket sheen found in higher-end VW models now. Plastics are largely solid and plush throughout, while details like fabric-lined door bins and soft-touch materials help to make you forget that the Kodiaq is considerably cheaper than something like a Land Rover Discovery Sport. The layout is thoughtful and intuitive, with clearly labelled buttons and touchscreen functions all where you expect them to be.
Sat-nav and infotainment
Technology is another area where the Kodiaq stands head-and-shoulders above rivals.
SE models get an eight-inch display as standard, while SE L models and above get a 9.2-inch system.
The latter comes with an integrated WiFi hotspot and a year’s use of online features, plus sat-nav. Its slick operation and high-res screen remind us of the latest smartphones and tablets, and it works very well. You can pinch to zoom and swipe easily – it’s much more responsive than rival units.
SE trim matches up to its rivals when it comes to the kit on offer, but it doesn’t get sat-nav as standard. However, Skoda’s SmartLink+ system is standard-fit across the range and brings Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. This means you can use your phone for navigation if you don’t want to upgrade, and thanks to the glossy screen and bright, clear graphics, it’s easy to use. However, it does catch reflections and shows fingerprints more than rival set-ups.
The Skoda’s simplicity and ease of use stem from its menu layout. It’s straightforward to navigate through the different screens – even easier than in a Peugeot 5008 – but doesn’t quite score as highly because you have to pay for built-in sat-nav.
In this review
- 1VerdictThe Skoda Kodiaq is a large SUV that scores well for practicality, comfort and value
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe Kodiaq has an engine to suit every need, while it handles well for an SUV and the ride is controlled. One of the best in the class
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe Kodiaq is capable of over 47mpg, making it one of the more frugal seven-seat SUVs. Insurance costs are impressively low, too
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingThe Kodiaq’s cabin is typical Skoda: Solidly built, easy to operate and versatile. It looks smart on the outside, too
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceAs spacious and versatile as the class best, with a huge boot and a choice of five or seven seats
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe Kodiaq is impressively safe, while it should match the rest of the brand’s range in offering great reliability