Road Test: Skoda Kodiaq

Reporter:

Steve Rogers

LET’S be honest; Skoda has had to put up with a lot of grief over the last 25 years.

Even the might of Volkswagen-Audi providing a solid foundation, not to mention a string of good cars, did not stop the baseless prejudices.

I would like to say it is a thing of the past, but I know people who still won’t touch a Skoda.

What’s brought on all this gloom?

I have just spent a week in the best car Skoda has ever produced, a car that has drawn a lot of favourable comment – until the brand is mentioned and then the enthusiasm dips.

At least now it only dips a little. It saddens me but it is a generational thing and should be gone in five years or so.

My postman is a good example of clear thinking. He sees all my test cars but the only one that has caught his eye enough to ask me about is the Kodiaq and there was a “wow!” when I said it was a Skoda.

This is new territory for Skoda; its first full-sized SUV and it is a belter.

I don’t like harking back to Volkswagen all the time but it does provide the platform, engines and other mechanicals, which is the same running gear that can be found in a Passat, Touareg and the big Audis.

Not a bad starting point then, but the design and build is down to Skoda and punters will be satisfied with the style and quality of the cabin.

Cliche it may be but this is a car for all seasons.

At 4,697mm, it is longer than the Land Rover Discovery Sport featured a few weeks ago and comes with seven seats, if that is what you need.

It looks like an estate car on stilts, which of course it is not, but it drives very much like an estate, which given their quality these days, is a good thing.

Yes it rolls, but only a bit, and nowhere like the SUVs of old, which leaned in bends like that famous tower in Pisa.

Even with chunky tyres on 19in rims and the extra weight of four-wheel drive, the ride is nicely controlled, although probably a little more forgiving in front wheel drive models.

For a family with oversized children, Kodiaq is up to the task with loads of room behind the front seats, while the split middle row is on runners to make getting into the back row easier as well as giving passengers a bit more legroom.

Unlike Discovery Sport, a couple of adults could cope on a long run, but it is still cramped and best left for the kids.

You would be right in thinking the Kodiaq has loads of luggage space. It is more or less a flat area with the third row folded into the floor, but without them the five seat model musters more than 2,000 litres.

That is a lot of boxes, or long things that would normally stick out of the tailgate.

The car has lots of useful touches, like underfloor storage for the boot cover, retractable door protectors (first time I have seen that) AND (hip, hip, hooray!) a bleep warning when the key fob goes walkies!

How does Kodiaq measure up against Discovery Sport?

The Disco is more desirable because of its pedigree and premium quality interior – not that Kodiaq has anything to be ashamed of on that score.

It also has a more sophisticated off road package than the Skoda, although how much it would ever be used is another matter.

What I want in a new model is something to remember it by.

I got what I expected from the Discovery Sport and was very satisfied, but the Kodiaq provided that little bit of magic.

It does everything that is asked and to a standard that belies its price tag.

Kodiaq is too big for my needs... but I wish it wasn’t. Roll on the smaller Karoq.

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