Carzone drives Skoda's new SUV on Irish roads for the first time
Pros: Pleasant drive, seven seat practicality, competitive pricing
Cons: Basic entry level models, pricy options
There has been a lot of excitement and expectation around Skoda’s first ever large SUV, the Kodiaq, which has just gone on sale in Ireland for the first time. It seems that Skoda has got it right first time round with the Kodiaq, as it offers great practicality, comfort and spec at an affordable price point. What’s more, there is the option of seven seats that will certainly appeal to family car buyers. Can the Kodiaq live up to the standards set by more established cars in the segment, including the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento? We put the Kodiaq through its paces on Irish roads to find out.
What is it like?
The Kodiaq shares its underpinnings with SUVs like the SEAT Ateca and Volkswagen Tiguan, but it is larger in terms of size and it must be said that it’s a great-looking SUV. As standard it gets 17-inch alloy wheels and black roof rails, but this higher specification Style Kodiaq has larger 19-inch alloy wheels and full LED headlights which add to its appeal.
The Kodiaq is just as spacious inside as you would expect, with a high roofline and plenty of room to seat five adults in comfort. The layout of the dashboard and centre console is similar to the latest Skoda Superb, with a vibrant new 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display on higher specification models including Apple Car Play and Google Android Auto smartphone integration. The plastics are dark in colour but hard wearing and the seats are quite supportive and offer a reasonable range of adjustment.
We’re driving the seven seat version of Kodiaq and managed to squeeze seven adults into the car during our test. The rearmost seats are better-suited to children than adults but the middle row can slide back and forward and recline easily. Boot space is very good with a cavernous 835 litres of space, while there is still 270 litres of room to use when the seven seats are in place which is significantly more than rivals like the Kia Sorento and Nissan X-Trail. There is also plenty of areas to store items throughout the cabin in the doors, beneath the centre console and cup holders under the large driver’s armrest.
In Ireland, the Kodiaq is available with either a 125bhp 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine or a larger 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine in 150bhp or 190bhp variants. We’re driving the most-powerful 190bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel with optional four wheel drive and an automatic DSG gearbox and it’s certainly a good match for the bulk of the Kodiaq with strong acceleration (0-100km/h in under nine seconds) and plenty of low down grunt for overtaking. We found fuel economy to be quite good too with the Kodiaq returning 7 litres per 100 kilometres of driving (circa 40MPG) while motor tax is €390 for the year. It’s likely the lower power 150bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel will be a more popular choice with Irish buyers as it offers better economy and is more affordable to buy, while two-wheel-drive should suffice for most buyers.
Out on the road, the Kodiaq drives and handles well for an SUV of its stature. There is good response from the steering and it corners confidently, while there’s an option of Dynamic Chassis Control which offers Normal, Comfort and Sport driving modes at the touch of a button. The Kodiaq’s ride quality is good with low wind and road noise at high speeds and an accommodating suspension setup for bumpier roads.
Prices for the entry level Active Kodiaq start from €28,795 here in Ireland which is considerably lower than comparable models like the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe. Standard specification is decent with 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, hill start assist and Smartlink Smartphone integration all included, but entry level models miss out on desirable features.
We reckon the mid-range Ambition model offers the best mix of affordability and equipment with larger 18-inch alloy wheels, parking sensors, LED rear lights and an 8-inch Bolero Touch Screen system included amongst other features. The Kodiaq we tested is the highest specification Style model and gains lots of nice features including full LED headlights, a reversing camera, ambient lighting inside and alcantara upholstery, but it is considerably more expensive and slots into the premium price bracket.
Carzone verdict: 4.5/5
Such was the hype around the Kodiaq before its launch that it had a lot to live up to, and we’re glad to say that it delivers in every way. Despite the fact that is one of the most affordable seven seat SUVs on the market right now, the Kodiaq offers a high quality feel that is on par with its more upmarket rivals including the Land Rover Discovery Sport. That said, base specification models are a tad underequipped, so we’d recommend the mid-range Ambition specification. For those seeking a practical, comfortable and stylish large SUV at a more affordable price than most, the Kodiaq is a very good choice indeed.