Skoda’s Kodiaq aims for the top of the class
The seven-seat SUV has become the default Australian people mover, with sales exploding as those of traditional bus-like people movers shrink to a tiny percentage of the market.
Choosing which one to buy, however, that’s tough. Everything from Toyota’s Kluger, Mazda’s CX-8/CX-9 duo, Hyundai’s Santa Fe and Kia’s Sorento to Nissan’s Pathfinder, Peugeot’s 5008 and VW’s Tiguan Allspace is in there fighting for a slice of the pie, keeping prospective buyers on their toes.
Skoda, too, recently muddied the waters with its new Kodiaq, but does this Czech contender stack up as a worthy seven-seat SUV choice?
Is it practical?
The Kodiaq is smaller than class beefcakes such as the Toyota Kluger, Mazda CX-9 and Nissan Pathfinder, so think twice if adults are destined to occupy the final-row seats regularly or for long hauls.
But the Kodiaq’s final row is fine for children and short-haul needs, while the front two rows enjoy generous space, plentiful storage and the upmarket ambience common to most VW Group products. It also has a big boot and stacks of user-friendly features, from a sliding/reclining second-row bench to pop-out door protectors and an umbrella in each of the front doors.
What technology does it have?
Skoda is part of the VW Group, so the Kodiaq draws from the same technology pool as VWs and Audis. All models have safety aids such as autonomous emergency braking and active cruise control, while their infotainment systems feature Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration. A host of option packs, meanwhile, allow you to tick the boxes for everything from adaptive chassis control to heated/ventilated seats.
What’s under the bonnet?
The base 132kW 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine is a willing performer and impressive thrifty for a family SUV. Buyers after better economy and low-rev go – and who can stomach a $6000 premium – have a 140kW 2.0-litre turbodiesel option to choose from. Both engines are mated to a seven-speed double-clutch auto transmission that is brilliantly decisive on the move but often hesitant in stop/start traffic.
How does it drive?
The Kodiaq’s ride is firmer than some alternatives but it soaks up most lumps and bumps without fuss. And the payoff for the sporty feel is more surefooted, responsive handling than your average family hauler.
What’ll the neighbours think?
Not a lot if they’re badge slaves – Skoda remains something of an unknown quantity to most Australians. But with its typically slick VW Group presentation, they’ll know you’re driving something classy and European.
132TSI petrol models start from $42,990 and 140TDI diesels from $48,990. Both can be had in sportified Sportline trim for a $4000 premium. All fall under Skoda’s five-year unlimited mileage warranty and six-year/90,000km capped-price servicing program and pre-paid servicing packages are available.
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