The Skoda Kodiaq was first revealed a year ago in Berlin as the Czech carmaker's first-ever foray into the world of 7-seater SUVs. The Skoda Kodiaq is named after the Kodiak bear which is found on a set of islands bearing the same name in southwest Alaska.
Fast forward a year and the Skoda Kodiaq has finally arrived in SUV-obsessed India and will butt heads with the well-established Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour. So can Skoda's big bear be the SUV for you and your family? We got behind the wheel of the new Skoda Kodiaq to find out.
Skoda Kodiaq Design, Features & Safety
At first glance, the Skoda Kodiaq looks rather compact. However, get a little closer to the Kodiaq and its large size (The Kodiaq is 4,697mm long, 1,882mm wide and stands 1,665mm tall), ride height (188mm unladen), along with its stance ensure that others on the road won't mistake it for anything other than a large SUV as it barrels past them.
Up front, the Kodiaq gets Skoda's signature butterfly grille which is lined with chrome and is large and wider than ever. Flanking the grille on either side are full-LED ‘czech crystal' headlamps which feature daytime running LED lights and look quite sharp. Underneath the headlamps on the bumper sit the LED fog lamps.
The bonnet features a slight hump in the centre similar to the one on the new Octavia while the front bumper also sports a large air dam which runs across its width.
On the sides, the Skoda features squared off wheel arches which play host to 18-inch alloy wheels shod with 235/55 R18 tyres.
The 18-inch rims are just about the perfect size for Indian conditions, any smaller and you'd need a magnifier to see them thanks to Kodiaq's large wheel wells while if they were any larger a bad ride would be written into your destiny.
A line runs across the side of the Kodiaq connecting the headlamps to the tail lights.
At the rear,the Kodiaq's main design features include the C-shaped LED tail lights which include filament like fixtures that really stand out when viewed at night. The rear windscreen sticks out an angle to the scooped out concave section that houses the tail lamps giving them a 3D feel.
The bootlid is electronically operated and can be opened by waving a leg underneath the sensors on the rear bumper. The boot with all the seats upright is similar to ones found in a a large hatchback at 270-litres.
However, drop the third row of seats and the boot space increases to a more impressive 630-litres. If you're looking to move truly large, then fold down the middle row of seats (40:20:40 split) for a massive 2,005-litres of boot space.
Interior & Features
The insides of the Kodiaq are a rather comfortable place to be in and get the the familiar dark grey and beige colour scheme we've come to expect in Skodas in India. The cabin feels large and airy the dashboard looks well put together with long, vertical A/C vents splitting the sections.
Both seats up front feature electrical adjustment along with Lumbar support which means that drivers of any height can easily tweak their driving position to get a good view of the road ahead without too much effort. The front seats themselves are comfortable and even long drives don't prove to be a pain.
The view from the driver's seat is commanding, though the view out of the back is obstructed by the thick D-Pillars. This is made worse, when the final row of seats are pulled up.
The second row of seats can seat three abreast quite easily and offers ample head and knee room for even the tallest of passengers. The seats are comfortable even for the third passenger in the middle, thanks to the low transmission tunnel and flat seat back.
The final row of seats require quite a bit of gymnastics to get into and are only suitable for kids and any adults unfortunate enough to be seated behind will find themselves knees up. That can be alleviated by adjusting the middle row of seats which can be slid forward by up to 18 centimetres.
The Kodiaq features an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system which features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and satellite navigation along with the regular phone mirroring options.
The infotainment system is connected to a 12-speaker 750W Canton Audio system which sounds rather pleasing to the ears. Also present is a communications system which allows drivers to talk to the passengers in the rear rows without having to look behind every time.
Other features include a massive panoramic sunroof which just adds to spacious feel of the car. Also present are multiple storage spaces including one next to the steering wheel and two glove boxes, with the regular one featuring cooling and the one above (hidden behind the rather large and shiny trim piece on the dash) occupying the space where you would usually see the airbag.
Also present are ambient lighting with 10 different colour options, along with three 12V charging ports, USB and AUX connectivity.
Skoda has also added a host of what it calls simply clever features including plastic door bumpers that pop out to protect you doors, umbrellas in the front doors, a magnetic flashlight that also illuminates the boot, an under-floor storage for the luggage parcel shelf, a dustbin for the door pocket, and sections of the headrest for the middle seats that pop out and hold your head in place so that you can enjoy a nap on the go.
Other features include tri-zone air conditioning, cruise control, parking cameras and sensors along with the automatic parking system first seen on the recently launched Octavia and automatic headlamps and wipers.
Skoda has packed the Kodiaq with safety features galore including 9 airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, electronic differential lock, traction control, electronic parking brake with auto hold function and the multi-collision braking system which applies the brakes to prevent or mitigate a subsequent impact. Other safety features include a drowsiness sensor, and two ISOFIX anchors for child seats.
Skoda Kodiaq Engine, Performance & Mileage
The Skoda Kodiaq for India is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine which produces 148bhp at 3,500-4,000rpm and 340Nm of torque at 1,750-3,000rpm. The 1,968cc engine is paired to DQ500 seven-speed DSG gearbox and returns a mileage of 16.25kpl.
The Skoda Kodiaq features multiple driving modes - Eco, Normal, Sport, Individual and Snow - which affect the steering, engine and gearbox along with the climate control system.
The power delivery from the diesel engine is punchy and smooth especially in the low and mid end. However, pushing the engine towards the redline does put it out of its comfort zone and overtaking does require a kickdown into a lower gear. The 7-speed DSG gearbox is silky smooth and gearshifts are barely noticed.
Switching the Kodiaq into Sport mode does improve throttle, steering and gearbox response but it can get a bit annoying in stop-start traffic, which the regular Normal mode handles with ease.
The Borg Warner on-demand 4x4 system sends power primarily to the front wheels, however, when grip levels are not optimal, the four-wheel drive system shifts some of the power to the rear wheels.
The Skoda Kodiaq sits on a monocoque chassis which allows it take turns with surprising ease while keeping the body roll at a minimum. The Kodiaq also rides over any bumps and potholes with absolute ease with only the worst of all roads being transmitted to the seats thanks to the brilliantly damped suspension system.
|Tested||Skoda Kodiaq Style 2.0 TDI AT 4x4|
|Price (ex-showroom)||Rs 34,49,501|
|Engine||Turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel|
|Gearbox||7-speed DSG Automatic|
|Power||148bhp @ 3,500–4,000rpm|
|Torque||340Nm @ 1,750–3,000rpm|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||63 litres|
The Skoda Kodiaq is named after a rather fuzzy and massive bear found in chain of islands in Alaska, but while it is massive, there is nothing fuzzy about the way it performs. On the move, it feels more like a high riding sedan but its looks, massive & luxurious interiors and its commanding road presence mean there is no mistaking this for anything other than a SUV.
With its sharp design and oodles of luxury and comfort on offer, and a competitive price tag (Rs 34.49 lakh ex-showroom), Skoda has an SUV that prospective owners should not think twice to bring back home with them.
Dennis James Thinks!
The Kodiaq is a brilliant first attempt at a seven seater SUV by Skoda. The Kodiaq's contemporary European styling while not the chunky stuff we expect from SUVs will appeal to customers looking for a premium looking SUV. Add in the luxurious interiors and the amount of kit that Skoda has added to the Kodiaq along with the smoothness in the way it drives and buying Skoda's new SUV is something I would very easily recommend.