Škoda’s new-gen SUVs will be big, ultra-spacious, conventionally attractive and, like its sedans, loaded to the gills with features. The first in line to enter our part of the market was the Škoda Kodiaq. Dressed to impress, yet seemingly a very utilitarian family SUV, the Kodiaq definitely seeks to make itself noticed.While it took us a long time to get our hands on it for a proper review, we were finally able to bag its keys.
Step up to the Kodiaq and you will immediately notice the Škoda design language that exudes the class and simplicity of former Head Designer Jozef Kabaň. The crisp details and bold lines easily stand out. The company has brought in the precision of the designs based on Škoda’s new design language for its SUVs.
The concept for its front headlights is one of its characteristic elements. The Czech-crystal-like, multi-element, all-LED headlights are enclosed in slim and sharply defined pods. They are sharply drawn back and placed flanking the top of the radiator grille to protect it from damage when it ventures off the beaten path.
In the rear, the sharp design language continues with the rear lights penetrating deep into the fenders. Staying true to the notion of blending form with function, you get a honeycomb strip between the “cat’s eye” reflectors that have an aesthetic as well as practical functions. It runs around the edge of the luggage space, protecting the bumper from damage during load handling.
In terms of the stance, the Kodiaq is built like a proper SUV. Then you come to realize that it is a seven seater, for which it is not exceptionally large. In fact, shorter than the Superb and just 40mm over the Octavia, it is compact.
So how does it achieve all that space on the inside? First, it uses a transversely located engine as opposed to a longitudinal one, which allows it to have a short bonnet and a long cabin. Then you have the shallow dashboard allowing the driver to sit far ahead in the cabin for more room. You are put right up against the windshield because of this but it did not pose much of an issue… once we got used to it.
Despite the compact dash, you get plenty of storage space with two glove boxes that get a faux wooden finish, which in turn enhances the up-class appeal of the interior. The dash and door-pad inserts are now finished in piano-black, with the Laurin and Klement inscription on the dash, seats and infotainment home-screen.
Other clever features that make you fall in love with the Kodiaq are things like the door edge protectors that extend to protect the door when it is being opened, umbrella holders in the doors and a mini LED torch that can be magnetically attached to the body of the car to provide illumination. You also get what Škoda calls a ‘virtual pedal’ for the boot. With the keys in your pocket, wave your foot under the hatch and the boot lid lifts up. This is for when you’re hauling groceries or other loads and your hands are full; it saves you the trouble of putting your stuff on the ground, opening the boot lid manually like a Neanderthal, picking up your stuff and loading it in. However, it does not always work perfectly, and we imagine you would look somewhat like a doofus holding several bags and prancing on one foot behind your car. But we would definitely take the gamble as it is a pretty cool feature once you get the hang of it.
But, if you’re in the Škoda Kodiaq, short drives will rarely ever suffice. The Škoda Kodiaq is well adept to get you through the daily grind. It is luxurious, comfortable, and easy to drive around. However, you will always find yourself itching to take the Kodiaq out for longer drives, the ones where you just set out with no destination in mind, only certain of discoveries and adventures that the world holds for you.
Regardless of where you head out to, the Škoda Kodiaq is a willing companion. Under the hood is the VW Group’s 2.0 TDi engine that shells out 150BHP and a healthy 340Nm of torque from 1,750rpm. More importantly you get the seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox which is one of the best in the business.
This combination allows the Kodiaq to make a massive impression on the driver. You might notice a slight turbo lag at lower revs, but once you’re past the 1400rpm mark the Kodiaq moves at a surprising pace. It moves effortlessly, belying its mass. The mid-range torque feels punchy and the motor shows sincere eagerness to rev, especially in Sports mode where the gears hold longer and the throttle response is improved.
Ride and handling fare better on smoother roads and at higher speeds. You do tend to feel sharper road undulations at lower speeds, but the firmer set suspension makes for fewer body rolls. The stiffness also pays dividends when at higher speeds, allowing the passengers to ride in comfort. Steering is light and relaxed, cornering quickly and with confidence as well as slaloming through traffic with nimble grace. The AWD is continuously working in the background here, and in situations where we pushed the car through a corner quicker than we should have, it pulled us in to maintain the car’s line.
We see the Škoda Kodiaq as a massive stomp by the company into the SUV segment. Škoda has always been clever and premium, and their first SUV exudes just that with the Kodiaq. The SUV gets the premium treatment through and through. It’s filled to the brim with features, especially with the L&K variant that we had on hand; just what you would expect from Škoda.
Based on the short time we spent with the Kodiaq, we can say it’s a car you can fall in love with. It has the characteristics to serve you as long-term companion, one that you will not tire of. One that you take out to the roads of Illam and take a moment to pullover, slip into the back seat, recline, lay back, and listen to the solemn pitter patter of the rain as you gaze up at the gloomy clouds through the panoramic sun roof.
The only thing in our way is the price tag of Rs. 15,800,000