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
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.
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
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.