The Gold Coast Chronicle continues to review awesome cars that deserve higher popularity in Australia. Our today’s example, Skoda Kodiaq is a mid-sized seven-seat family SUV. In the VW lineup if fits between a smaller Tiguan and a larger Touareg. A winner of many awards, including Top Gear’s “Best Family Car in the World”, Kodiaq remains largely overlooked in Australia.
Skoda’s SUV shares its modular MQB platform with the Tiguan, but has a 110mm larger wheelbase and is 200mm longer than its VW counterpart. Its 187mm of ground clearance and modest approach and departure angles (19 and 15 degrees) discourage you from tackling rough terrain, though.
Kodiaq’s exterior has the distinctive Skoda styling: no nonsense, pragmatic look which suits the car well. Full LED lighting all around is standard in Australia. Adaptive headlights, DRL, fog lamps, rear lights and even lights under the mirrors to illuminate the doors. A large number of adventure and family-themed accessories are available. Fully electric retractable tow bar is rated for 2000 kg, but only 80 kg tow ball weight, so that limits its usefulness somewhat. Bike racks, and a number of roof racks and carriers to mount on the standard roof rails. 19” alloy wheels fit quite well in the beefy, square, plastic-lined wheel arches.
The interior shows its VW lineage, and that’s not at all a bad thing. Fantastic both in quality and comfort, it really is “Simply Clever.” You can choose from multiple upholstery colours and materials, while fabric/artificial leather combo is standard. Skoda’s trademark attention to detail shows in the dozens of handy features like umbrellas fitted to the front doors, a parking ticket holder, many handy storage compartments and pockets. RGB LED ambient lighting and automatically extending door protectors, sun shades and tablet holders on the rear seats. The list could really go on for a while.
Some tend to pay particular attention to the infotainment system: here, the Skoda Kodiaq family SUV does not disappoint. The same 9.2” unit that many VW cars have, it has a crisp and responsive touchscreen, gesture controls and an intuitive interface. The optional Tech and Luxury packs add even more features to it, such as blind spot monitoring, surround parking sensors and off-road modes. It also has both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Together with a 10-speaker and subwoofer sound system it does make for a very nice audio experience.
The comfort and adjustment options of the front seats are beyond reproach, but the middle row could use some work. The bench splits 60:40 to provide access to the third row of seats. Due to the car’s European origins the larger half is on the kerb side of the car. The third row which is a must for a family SUV is just big enough for two adults, but it will not be a comfortable ride.
As expected of family seven-seaters, the boot space of the Skoda Kodiaq is pretty good. 270 litres with the third row up, 630 with it folded, and 2000 litres when the middle row is down. Plenty of cargo nets, hooks and Velcro baggage holders make organising the boot a lot easier. The so-called “virtual pedal” allows you to open the boot by swiping your foot under the rear bumper. It is not a unique feature by any means but a nice addition to any vehicle regardless. In addition to standard interior lighting, the luggage compartment boasts a removable LED flashlight – another one of the handy Skoda features.
The MQB platform the Skoda Kodiaq is based on is well-known for its fantastic suspension and steering. The German engineers did not disappoint here either. Adaptive chassis control with multiple driving modes is also available to further enhance the experience. All-wheel drive system is not on all the time. The rear axle is automatically engaged when the computer deems it necessary.
Two engine options are available diesel and petrol, both with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and 4×4. The 132TSI model, as the name suggests, comes with a petrol turbocharged four cylinder. It makes 132kW at 3900-6000 RPM and 320 Nm at 1400-3940 RPM, and 7.6L/100km combined fuel consumption. The 140TDI model is a 2.0L turbo diesel, 140kW at 3500-4000 RPM. The torque is 400Nm at 1750-3250 RPM, and 5.9L/100km. For a 1700kg car it’s not a whole lot, but it still gives it a 0-100 time of just over 8 seconds.
The base model with a petrol engine starts at $47,990 driveaway. The Tech pack is a $2600 extra, Luxury – another $3400 and $1900 for the panoramic sunroof. The 2019 models are also available with a VW-style “Virtual Cockpit” dash instrument panel, for an extra $700.
To sum up, Skoda Kodiaq is a fantastic medium-sized family SUV, appropriately priced and absolutely packed with smart and handy features. If you’re after top of the line performance, or value off-road ability and don’t need to regularly haul 5+ people around, Skoda Kodiaq is probably not for you.
But, you’ll like it if you have a family, value comfort and practicality over acceleration and top speed, and enjoy good organisation when everything in the car is in its own place.