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
The all-new Skoda Kodiaq SUV is one of the very best family cars. And, 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 is sharper and sleeker.
Of course, the Skoda Kodiaq is a big car, 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 a VW Touran, which has more room in its rearmost row of seats.
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 of legroom and headroom in the back, as well as more than enough boot space for even the most over-enthusiastic adventure holiday. Fold all the rear seats down and you have so much space to play with that you’ll be getting roped into house moves for years to come.
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. In fact, the Skoda Kodiaq is so good that even the more expensive Volkswagen Tiguan could learn a trick or two from the Skoda’s slightly more interesting design.
Poke around the cabin and you’ll find some genuinely useful features. There are umbrellas hidden away in the front doors on SE models and above, for example, and the removable magnetic torch in the boot is handy for finding things in all that space.
The Skoda Kodiaq does the high-tech bits well, too. Not only does every model have DAB digital radio, you also get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring systems as standard across the range. That means you don’t need to pay extra for sat-nav because you can use your phone’s navigation app through the Kodiaq’s sharp and responsive touchscreen infotainment system.
This is the first seven-seater Skoda has ever made, and it’s spot on for family life
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 blindspots when you look over your shoulders.
Contrary to what you might expect of a big SUV, the Skoda Kodiaq doesn’t lean that 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 the 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. It gets about 45mpg in everyday driving and is more than quick enough for easy overtaking. 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 and smoother, and will get mpg in the high thirties.
Whichever Skoda Kodiaq you pick, 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.