Skoda Kodiaq Review
The all-new Skoda Kodiaq is a big, very practical family SUV that’s available with seven seats – although the rearmost two are only big enough for kids
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
- Good value for money
- Loads of space inside
- Smart-looking interior
What's not so good
- Over-the-shoulder blindspots
- Tiguan has more tech
- A little bumpy at low speeds
Skoda Kodiaq: what would you like to read next?
The Skoda Kodiaq is one of the very best family cars on sale. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced large SUV with a big boot, the option of seven seats, and a decent range of efficient engines, then this should be right at the top of your shopping list.
There’s plenty of choice, too, with petrol and diesel engines, two- or four-wheel drive, and manual or automatic gearboxes. You can even choose a couple of models that give the otherwise understated car something of a makeover: the Scout version gives it a more rugged, off-road style, while the Sportline looks, you guessed it, sportier.
Sure, the Skoda Kodiaq is big, but that sheer size helps to make it an ideal family car, because it’s long enough to fit a third row of seats. The result is a seven-seater that still has enough space in the boot for the weekly shop. That said, if you want to carry seven adults regularly, you may be better off with an MPV like the VW Touran, which has more room in its rearmost row.
On the other hand, seven-seat versions of the Skoda Kodiaq offer almost as much versatility as the Touran. If you flip down the two rearmost seats, for example, you’re left with a five-seat SUV that has loads room in the back, as well as more than enough boot space for high-chairs, travel costs and micro scooters. Fold all the rear seats down and you have so much space that you’ll be getting roped into house moves for years to come.
This is the first seven-seater Skoda has ever made, and it’s spot on for family life.
What’s more, all that space hasn’t come at the expense of quality. On the contrary, the Skoda Kodiaq interior looks good and feels robust, with some high-class plastics on top of the dashboard that make the Nissan X-Trail (one of the most obvious alternatives to the big Skoda) feel a little bit cheap.
Despite the Kodiaq’s size, it’s not a difficult car to drive. The steering is light, and you get a great view from the high-set driving position, apart from some blind spots when you look over your shoulders.
But contrary to what you might expect of a big SUV, the Skoda Kodiaq doesn’t lean much in corners. However, the downside of this is that the suspension is slightly firm and you feel quite a few bumps at low speeds. The Kodiaq is also a bit noisier than a VW Tiguan, especially on the motorway.
What the Kodiaq does have in common with the Tiguan is the bulk of its engine range. If you spend a lot of time on the motorway, then go for a model with the 2.0-litre, 150hp diesel engine. On the other hand, if you’ll be spending most of your time in town, go for the 1.4-litre, 150hp petrol engine, which is quieter, smoother and will still manage mpg in the late thirties.
Whichever Skoda Kodiaq you pick, though, you can rest assured it’s a safe place for you and your family, as it earned a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP’s tough 2017 crash tests. So, not only is it one of the most practical and best-value seven-seaters on sale, it’s also one of the safest. For more on the Skoda Kodiaq, see how much you can save with these Skoda Kodiaq deals.
The Skoda Kodiaq’s dashboard is smartly designed and easy to use, but it doesn’t get the same high-tech features as the VW Tiguan
SE models have a big infotainment screen that's really nice and easy to use, and has pretty fast processing speeds
The Skoda Kodiaq is pretty vast inside, and there’s more than enough space for five adults. You can even get it with seven seats, but that does cut into the boot space significantly…
Drop all the Skoda's back seats down and no other mid-sized seven seat SUV can touch its furniture-ferrying ability
There’s an enormous amount of space in the front of the Skoda Kodiaq, with enough adjustment on the seat and steering wheel for anyone to get comfy. And, regardless of your height, you’ll get a good view of the road ahead thanks to the raised driving position.
On high-end SE L cars, both the driver’s and front passenger seats come with adjustable lumbar support, which is a great feature for avoiding backache on long journeys. You can upgrade to electrically adjustable front seats, but they’re a £1,010 option, which makes them hard to justify.
The second row of seats will be comfortable even for six-footers, because of the acres of kneeroom and headroom back there. There’s loads of space under the front seats for your passengers’ feet, too, and seven-seat models feature reclining middle-row seats for even more comfort – you can stretch out as if you were in a limo. Admittedly, the central seat is little bit raised and a little firm, so it’s not quite so comfy if you are in the middle row and you are sitting alongside two adults.
Unlike in the VW Touran, only the outermost middle seats come with Isofix points, so you can’t fit three child seats side-by-side. However, if you do need to transport young kids, fitting a child seat is a breeze. The vast rear doors open wide and the Isofix anchor points are clearly marked on the seats, although you’ll have to remove a pair of easy-to-lose black plastic caps to clip the seat base in place.
The most basic Skoda Kodiaq, in S trim, comes only with five seats, and at the other end of the range, the Scout and Sportline models come only as seven-seaters. However, every other trim level – SE, SE L and Edition – gives you the choice of five or seven seats.
In seven-seat models, the middle row of seats slides once you’ve folded down the seat backs, which helps anyone jumping into the rearmost seats. For adults to fit in the rearmost seats, you’ll have to push the middle row forwards, but even then head and kneeroom will be cramped at best: anyone over five foot eight inches tall will struggle to get comfortable, even on short journeys. There’s plenty of room for kids, though, and the seats themselves are pretty comfortable.
Speaking of kids, the Skoda Kodiaq’s huge rear windows give a great view out and the cabin’s airy feel should help reduce car sickness on long journeys.
Inside the Skoda Kodiaq, there are more than enough handy cubbies to hide away a raft of family odds and ends. The huge front door bins can easily swallow two bottles of water and there’s a large storage compartment under the front armrest.
The glovebox is pretty big, too, and there’s even a neat second cubby hidden above it. Behind the gear lever, the two cupholders are positioned so that you won’t knock anything over with your elbow when you change gear, while the small tray under the dashboard is the perfect size for a mobile phone.
Even in the back, the doors come with sizeable pockets – big enough to hold a 1.5-litre bottle each – and there are three cupholders in the central rear armrest, too. Skoda hasn’t forgotten the people in the rearmost seats, either, as the passengers are treated to a small cubby each, although they’ll have to share the single small cupholder.
The Skoda Kodiaq also comes with handy features that’ll be life-savers in daily life, such as umbrellas hidden in the doors, an ice scraper under the fuel cap and a removable magnetic torch that’s stored in the boot.
With all seven seats upright, the Skoda Kodiaq boot only has as much space as a VW Polo – about 270 litres, but that’s still just enough room to squeeze a stroller and a few soft bags in the boot.
When you fold down that rearmost pair, you have 630 litres to play with. Five-seat models can carry an even more impressive 720 litres with five seats in place, but there’s a more sizeable load lip than in seven-seat models. As a result, lifting heavy items in and out is a little more difficult.
Otherwise, Skoda has given an impressive amount of thought to making the car easy to live with. For example, there’s space under the boot floor to store the luggage cover and hide away a few small valuables. There’s also a hanging rail for shopping bags and some handy tethering hooks fitted as standard.
If you need to carry even more luggage, the centre row of seats folds in a standard 60:40 split, although only five-seat models have handy seat-folding levers in the boot – you’ll have to reach forward and use the buttons on the seatbacks in seven-seat cars.
With the rear seats folded, you’ll be able to carry 2,005 litres in the seven-seat Skoda Kodiaq and 2,065 litres in five-seat versions. Or, looked at another way, both can fit a mountain bike with both its wheels attached without any problem at all. Thanks to such a van-like load bay, you’ll find carrying bulky furniture a breeze, and the completely flat floor in seven-seat cars means you can slide heavy boxes in and out easily.
The Skoda Kodiaq is easy to drive and has a good range of efficient engines, but it can feel a little bumpy at low speeds
You might think a 1.4-litre engine can’t be enough to shift a car as big as a Kodiaq, but it has plenty of power and is even quite economical
The Skoda Kodiaq is offered with a selection of petrol and diesel engines, all with capacities of either 1.4 or 2.0 litres. With the exception of the basic 125hp 1.4-litre petrol engine, every one can come with either four-wheel drive or a seven-speed auto gearbox – or both.
If you’re going to spend a lot of time on motorways in your Skoda Kodiaq, then go for the 150hp 2.0-litre diesel. It’s relatively quiet at 70mph and returns a claimed 56.5mpg, although you’re more likely to get around 45mpg in everyday use.
You can also get a stronger 190hp 2.0-litre diesel engine that’ll return around 40mpg. It makes light work of towing heavy trailers or cruising at motorway speed with seven people onboard, but it’s only offered in the higher-spec models; and, unless you need the additional power, it isn’t really worth the extra cash.
On the other hand, if you spend most of your time driving around town, the 150hp 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol will suit you better. Not only is it smoother and quieter in heavy traffic than the diesel engines, Skoda also claims it’ll return 44.8mpg – although it’ll probably return a figure in the high thirties in day-to-day use.
If you’re keeping an eye on the pennies, it makes sense to stick with one of the more efficient front-wheel drive models. Only if you regularly drive on slippery roads or plan to take your Skoda Kodiaq off-road should you go for a four-wheel drive version.
You could also consider the Kodiaq’s dual-clutch automatic DSG gearbox. It’s super-slick and responsive at higher speeds, and will make driving far less stressful, whether you’re on a long journey or crawling in stop-start traffic. However, one downside is that it’s a little jerky when parking: it’s best to let the car idle forwards and backwards rather than push the accelerator when creeping into a space.
Although the Skoda Kodiaq is quite a big car, its light steering and easy controls make it fairly easy to thread through traffic, while its high driving position and rear parking sensors – standard on SE cars and up – mean parking isn’t too stressful, either. For an extra £670 (or £310 on Scout models), all but entry-level S models can be fitted with a self-parking system, too.
The Skoda’s large side windows make changing lanes on the motorway pretty stress-free, because there’s not much of a blind spot for cars to disappear into. However, the windscreen pillars and small rear windscreen create blind spots that are more noticeable than the ones you’ll find in a VW Touran.
At low speeds, you’ll certainly feel a few bumps, but once you’re on the motorway, things settle down nicely and the Skoda Kodiaq makes a relaxed long-distance cruiser. Admittedly, you’ll notice some wind noise from around the door mirrors at motorway speeds, but it’s not particularly annoying, and isn’t any worse than you’ll hear in a VW Tiguan.
For even more comfort, you can add the optional Dynamic Chassis Control system to four-wheel drive versions of all but the S and SE cars. Thanks to its adjustable shock absorbers, this allows drivers to choose between three modes – Normal, Comfort and Sport – and that means the car is more comfortable over rough surfaces.
It certainly helps soften the blow of bigger potholes, especially on models fitted with the larger 19-inch wheels. Alternatively, choosing Sport mode also makes the Kodiaq’s light steering feel a bit heavier, which in turn makes the car feel more reassuring. Overall, though,it’s not really worth the extra cost.
Last, but definitely not least, you can be sure that the Skoda Kodiaq will be a safe family car. Like every Skoda that has been tested since 2009, the Kodiaq scored a maximum five-star rating when it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP.