2017 Skoda Kodiaq: An SUV with sedan-ride comfort
The Indian version of the Skoda Kodiaq looks striking. It appears more compact than it is. The narrow width and low height, relative to the immense length, mean Skoda had to get the ride height right to prevent it from looking too MPV-like—and it seems to have succeeded. The 18-inch wheels are about just the right size. So, what it lacks in size compared to a Toyota Fortuner or a Ford Endeavour, it makes up for with contemporary styling.
The interior is a tad familiar to what you get with the other Skoda cars—the same dials, steering wheel, stalks, window switches, air-con controls, and the beige and dark grey colour scheme. The climb into the middle row is easy, you get a separate climate zone for air conditioning, and the split seats fold down and can be slid forward as much as 180mm. They do not, however, tumble forward, nor can they be removed, as they can in the Skoda Yeti. And it is a bit cramped at the back, but by pushing the middle row halfway forward, you can fit seven individuals in this car.
The seats themselves are a touch firm, though far from uncomfortable. The front seats, with a range of adjustments, will hold you well, and thanks to the low dashboard, you get a good view out front. From the driver’s viewpoint, the view out of the back isn’t so great. The boot is impressive, at 270 litres with all rows up, 630 litres with the last row folded, and a massive 2,005 litres with the second row down too.
It’s loaded with equipment too. The 8-inch touchscreen, the same one as in the new Octavia luxury sedan, gets Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and an impressive proprietary navigation system. Then there’s the 10-colour ambient lighting system, the nice-sounding 12-speaker Canton stereo, and a number of constantly updating graphics that show you how economically you’ve been driving. Skoda has also added some clever little touches, like a little dustbin in the door pocket, a magnetized flashlight you can stick on the car while you change a tyre, and plastic “bumpers” that pop out automatically and protect the door edges when you open them. There’s a massive panoramic sunroof too. It also has hands-free parking assist, a drowsiness sensor and nine airbags.
Skoda already uses two different versions of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder TDI motor in India—with 143hp in the Octavia and 177hp in the Superb luxury sedan. The Kodiaq offers a third, even newer version. This one makes 150hp and 340Nm, and though not the highest of outputs, we found it to be more than adequate. The car feels very responsive at low to medium speeds. The light, responsive steering and all-wheel drive means this feels exactly like a Skoda Superb to drive. At higher speeds, there’s some hesitation, and it starts feeling strained. The stability you get on the highway is exquisite. Bump absorption is quite good, and only the really bad bumps make it through to the cabin.
The Kodiaq covers all the expected bases—long equipment list, space and ride comfort. The price tag of Rs34.49 lakh (ex-showroom, India) for the fully loaded 4x4 TDI DSG version, makes it more expensive than the VW Tiguan, Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour. That’s a lot of money, even though you do get a lot of car for it. So, while the Kodiaq upholds Skoda’s core focus on luxury, equipment and versatility, it isn’t quite the value proposition we hoped it would be.