Large SUV of the Year 2017: Skoda Kodiaq

The Skoda Kodiaq is the 2017 Auto Express Large SUV of the Year, with the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento commended

As sales of traditional MPVs are on the wane, large SUVs offering space for seven have picked up the mantle as practical, affordable and efficient methods of transport for large families.

The Skoda Kodiaq is one of the newest on the scene, and thanks to its impressive mix of ride and handling, refinement, usability and affordable prices, the Kodiaq takes the title of Best Large SUV.

Although the design is derivative and not unlike the Superb, inside, the quality and ergonomics are on par with pricier models from prestige brands. The technology on offer is bang up-to-date as well, with a wide variety of connected services and smartphone connectivity features.

The Kodiaq is also impressively spacious and comes with a choice of two layouts. S, SE and SE Technology models get five seats and a massive 720-litre boot, while the latter two trim levels can be upgraded to seven seats for an affordable £1,000.

Go for this extra and the third row of seats gives a good level of space, even for adults sitting back there. Boot capacity in five-seat form drops to a still usable 630 litres, but it’s the way the Kodiaq mixes this practical edge (including the brand’s trademark ‘Simply Clever’ features) with comfort in an affordable large SUV body that really appeals.

Thanks to the car’s VW Group MQB underpinnings, it offers a level of agility that’s more commonly found on much smaller SUVs. Crisp, well weighted controls inspire confidence, while body roll is minimal for the car’s size. Models with the optional Dynamic Chassis Control allow you to flick between a smooth ride and sharp cornering at the touch of a button, but even the standard suspension offers a decent level of comfort.

Skoda Kodiaq - rear

To top it all, the range of smooth, punchy and efficient petrol and diesel engines delivers a winning package. The icing on the cake is that the Kodiaq is very keenly priced, starting from under £22,000.

Our choice

Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TDI 150 DSG SE 7 Seat (£28,115)

A large family SUV like the Kodiaq is at its best with a torquey diesel under the bonnet, and the 148bhp 2.0-litre TDI offers the strongest compromise of performance and price, while the DSG is cheaper than the manual, which only comes with four-wheel drive. The engine is refined and claims 50mpg-plus, too. SE trim provides lots of kit and is top value. 

Commended 

Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe - front

The Santa Fe is a big SUV with plenty to like. It’s not as modern as the Kodiaq or as comfortable as its Kia Sorento sister car, but it has lots of kit and four-wheel drive as standard, giving decent off-road potential. Stylish looks, a large, versatile load space and a comfortable ride boost its appeal. 

Kia Sorento

Kia Sorento - front

Kia’s Sorento has a much higher starting price than the Skoda – it costs from £28,850 – but it counters with a long kit list and a more powerful, torquier 2.2-litre diesel to improve ease of use. It’s still a spacious and solid all-rounder, too, while interior quality isn’t too far behind the Kodiaq’s.

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