Skoda Kodiaq review
The Skoda Kodiaq is a big, practical family SUV that’s available with seven seats – although the rearmost two are only big enough for kids.
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The Skoda Kodiaq is a jack of all trades, but with the caveat that it’s hardly the master of none – it happens to excel in so many key areas that it’s easy to make the argument it’s one of the best family cars you can buy. Practicality is the real strong point for the Kodiaq, but it has strengths in so many key areas.
It’s a seven-seater SUV (although you don’t have to have seven seats) and alternatives include the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace and the SEAT Tarraco – and all are based on the same set of parts from the VW Group. It’s available in many forms, from a frugal front-wheel-drive diesel manual right up to a powerful four-wheel-drive automatic petrol.
A seven-seater MPV like a Renault Scenic is the obvious choice for those needing to carry a lot of passengers, but the Kodiaq’s rearmost seats are useful to have and kids can scramble into them when needed.
That said, it works best as a five-seater as the Kodiaq features a huge boot in this configuration that has room for all kinds of equipment from bikes to buggies. It’s the kind of boot you need when you’re taking the whole family on a camping trip and the kitchen sink is a much-needed take-along.
The rest of the interior is packed with practical touches and useful storage areas, plus the materials used are of a good quality. It feels more upmarket than a Nissan X-Trail, which is another alternative. The level of tech inside is excellent too, with a useful sat-nav screen and smartphone connectivity.
This is the first seven-seater Skoda has ever made, and it’s spot on for family life.
The Skoda Kodiaq is also really easy to drive. Visibility is good for a high-up SUV, though there are still some blind spots that require parking sensors and a reversing camera to take care of. The steering is light and the gear shift in manual models is slick, so it’s easy to park and drive in traffic too.
Some of the higher-spec versions have large alloy wheels that impact on comfort – they’re more harsh over lumps and bumps at low speed. Lower-spec versions are more comfortable in this regard but all versions are smooth on the motorway and composed on country roads as well.
There’s a useful range of engines to choose from. Things kick off with a 1.5-litre petrol with a manual gearbox or DSG automatic, both using front-wheel drive. Then there’s a 2.0-litre diesel available in front- or four-wheel drive form – and both engines have 150hp. If that’s not enough, there’s a 190hp petrol model or a 200hp diesel both with four-wheel drive.
It’s among the safest SUVs around and achieved a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, which adds peace of mind for buyers of this family car. Safety kit includes predictive adaptive cruise control that steers and adjusts your speed for you.
The Skoda Kodiaq is – if you’ll forgive the cliche – a real Swiss army knife, with a tool for every occasion. It’s a really well-designed family car with great technology and engineering behind it.
Read on for more information on the Skoda Kodiaq, or see how much you can save with these Skoda Kodiaq deals. You can also watch our review of the faster Kodiaq vRS by tapping the video below.
Common Skoda Kodiaq questions
Is the Skoda Kodiaq a 4×4?
Most versions of the Skoda Kodiaq come with four-wheel drive, but the entry-level 150hp petrol and 150hp diesel models come with front-wheel drive as standard. They are available with both automatic gearboxes and four-wheel drive if you pay extra, though.
Is the Skoda Kodiaq a 7-seater?
The entry-level Kodiaq SE is available as either a 5-seat or 7-seat model, but all other versions of the car come with 7 seats as standard.
Where are Skoda Kodiaqs made?
The Skoda Kodiaq is built in six factories worldwide, but the majority of cars sold in Europe come from the firm’s Czech facility in Kvasiny.
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…
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 SE Drive and 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 pricey 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 a 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, 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 SE trim, comes with five or seven seats, while at the other end of the range, the Scout and Sportline models come only as seven-seaters.
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 approaching six foot 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 835 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 1.5 or 2.0 litres. There are four-wheel-drive versions of the 2.0-litre models, and the Kodiaq can be ordered in manual or automatic forms.
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 around 45mpg in everyday use.
You can also get a stronger 200hp 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 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol will suit you better. Not only is it smoother and quieter in heavy traffic than the diesel engines, it’ll probably return an economy 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 creep forwards and backwards rather than push the accelerator when nudging 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 standard rear parking sensors mean parking isn’t too stressful, either. For extra, every model 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 MPV.
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 SE and SE Drive 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.
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.
The Skoda Kodiaq interior is of good quality and feels well-built. The dashboard, doors and centre console are all covered in premium soft-touch plastics, while the seats – trimmed in suede-like Alcantara on high-spec SE L models – are supportive and help make the interior feel genuinely upmarket.
Everything is pretty easy to operate, too. You’re not faced with a huge number of buttons; and the knobs for the ventilation system and stereo volume are easy to operate when you’re on the move.
The standard infotainment system is operated through an 8-inch touchscreen, which is flanked by two banks of shortcut buttons and a pair of neat vertical air vents, while the gloss black wood-effect dashboard trims look great – even if they’ll scratch easily over time.
However, it’s not all good news: the second digital display in the instrument cluster looks significantly more dated – think Game Boy rather than iPad – and some materials in the rear feel brittle and cheap; but, in both cases, this is nit-picking.
Entry-level Skoda Kodiaq SE cars come with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment screen. It’s sharp, bright and easy to read, and comes with a set of handy shortcut buttons to stop you getting lost in a sea of menus. Unfortunately, these buttons don’t buzz or click when you press them so you’ll have to occasionally take your eyes off the road to make sure you’re hitting the right ones.
A neat proximity sensor displays extra on-screen buttons when it detects your hand nearing the screen. This is especially useful when you’re using the built-in satellite navigation – it’ll flash up petrol station icons when you reach for the screen and hide them away automatically so you can see the map more clearly.
The standard sat-nav can rapidly calculate three route choices at once and you can swipe and pinch to zoom to preview its directions – just like using a smartphone. Unfortunately, the screen’s glossy finish shows up grubby finger marks like nothing else.
Happily, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink connectivity can mirror your smartphone’s navigation on the built-in infotainment screen, and is standard on all Kodiaqs.
High-spec models come with a larger 9.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
Unfortunately, if you like to stream music from your phone, the standard stereo just isn’t up to scratch. The Skoda Kodiaq’s Bluetooth connection makes your music sound tinny and bassless – things sound much better when you connect your phone using the USB port. Upgrade to the Canton sound system and you’ll be rewarded with much clearer and bassier tunes.
Skoda Kodiaq colours
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