New Skoda Kodiaq SUV

From £21,565

Watch our video review

Gearbox

Automatic or Manual

Seats

5 - 7

Doors

5

Boot size

300 litres

Best car launched in the last year

The Skoda Kodiaq is a simply brilliant family car. It offers stylish looks, a high-class cabin, seven-seat practicality and a very grown-up driving experience, all for a price that significantly undercuts pretty much all its direct rivals.

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The Auto Trader verdict
★★★★★
★★★★★
4.5
The Skoda Kodiaq is a rare beast. It’s a big SUV with a premium image, space for seven, loads of equipment, and a high-quality interior, but a low price. Families will be well catered for by its roomy and practical cabin, and handy little features to make journeys easier, but drivers will not be disappointed either, with tidy handling and a strong engine line-up. The most aggressively priced models do not offer the same standard of kit as the mid-range versions (or seven seats), but it still represents great value motoring, and undercuts anything else like it by miles.

Pros

  • Tidy handling
  • Brilliant practicality
  • Highly equipped

Cons

  • High-power diesels are noisy
  • Sheer size may put off some drivers
  • Seven seats not standard on every model

Full review

By Paul Bond   Wednesday 31 May 2017

Exterior
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

Skoda’s image has been steadily moving upmarket for years, and the Kodiaq is further proof that this once deeply uncool brand can now cut it with Land Rover, BMW and even Audi when it comes to building a premium SUV. Squint, and you might mistake the Kodiaq for a Q5, but this is not some pale imitator. Its deep front grille is imposing without being showy, every model in the range gets alloys as standard (from 17- right up to 20-inches in diameter), roof rails, and LED rear lights. It’s not so tall as to be hard to climb into, but you’ll definitely be looking down on other traffic; and, while it feels like a big car from behind the wheel, it’s actually a bit shorter than the Superb. Pricier versions also benefit from fog lamps, LED headlights, electric folding wing mirrors and a wider choice of paint colours.

2016 Skoda Kodiaq

Interior
★★★★★
★★★★★
5/5

Without doubt, the Kodiaq features the smartest cabin Skoda has built to date. Granted, it isn’t quite up to the standard you would find in, say, an Audi or Volkswagen, but it’s really not far behind what are far more expensive brands. All the plastics you can see or touch frequently are soft and yielding, and although there are some harder surfaces on show, they're not that obvious. The wide and flat dashboard adds to the feeling of width in the cabin, and the driving position is excellent, with a wide range of steering and seat adjustment that should allow almost anyone to get comfortable. Top-spec SE L and Edition models feature a slick infotainment system, with an integrated sat-nav, and a smooth glass touch-screen instead of physical buttons. It looks superb, and the sharp responses and logical menus make it fairly easier to use, even while you’re on the move. The switches all have a tactile feeling of robust quality, and forward visibility is good, although the length of the car, and the thickness of the C-pillars, make it harder to see what’s behind.

2016 Skoda Kodiaq

Practicality
★★★★★
★★★★★
5/5

If you regularly need to carry seven adults on long journeys and in reasonable comfort, then a big MPV like the Seat Alhambra or Ford Galaxy will be a better choice for your needs. However, for most buyers, the appeal of a car that gives you the choice between having a huge boot and seven seats for the rare occasions the whole family need to travel together will be invaluable. Entry-level Kodiaqs have five seats, with the third row of chairs optional on SE versions, and standard on the SE L and Edition models. With all those chairs up, you’ll be able to shoehorn children in without any trouble, but grown-ups will find it a squeeze back there. Still, even in this layout, you have 270 litres of space for a few bags of shopping. Fold down the back row and the flat loading bay swells to over 700 litres. Those sat in the middle row have a generous amount of head- and leg-room, and these seats slide and recline to ensure total passenger comfort. The middle seat is harder and narrower than the other two, though, and a Kia Sorento feels bigger. The Skoda fights back with clever touches including a powered tailgate on most versions, umbrellas stowed in each of the front doors, and a removable LED torch in the boot: handy to ensure you are always prepared, whatever the weather. Towing, which is something important to many SUV buyers, will be no problem in the Kodiaq, with the diesel 4x4 models rated to tow up to 2.5 tonnes, and there’s an optional system for helping you reverse caravans into tight camping spots, too.

Ride and handling
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

Many full-size SUVs struggle to engage the driver. They’re often too heavy or softly sprung to do anything other than drive gently along smooth, straight motorways. However, the Kodiaq bucks this trend by being surprisingly alert through corners. There are different driving modes to choose from, and while the steering is overly light in ‘Normal’ mode, it weights up nicely in ‘Sport’, with a good consistency of response, so you can place the car with real confidence. Pitch it into a tight corner, and while you can feel the Skoda’s considerable weight make its presence felt, the suspension keeps the body nicely in check, with decent grip from the tyres and less body roll than in many of its rivals. Top-spec versions are equipped with an adaptive damping system, so you can make the ride firmer or softer depending on the type of road you’re on. In its softest setting, the ride is fairly good, but sharper ruts and potholes still illicit an unpleasant thump from the wheels. Firm things up in the stiffer settings though and the ride (even on 18-inch alloys) becomes quite unsettled on patchy surfaces. We prefer the slightly more forgiving set-up.

2016 Skoda Kodiaq

Performance
★★★★★
★★★★★
3/5

There are five different engines to choose from at the launch of the Kodiaq, but at present we’ve only been able to test three of them: the 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit and a pair of 2.0-litre diesels, with a respective 148bhp and 187bhp. The 148bhp model is the more refined performer. It feels punchy in the mid-range, and perfectly capable of hauling a car of this size and weight around without straining too hard. It’s not the smoothest engine of its kind, but certainly settles to a more refined motorway cruise than many of its rivals. Performance off the line is not exactly scintillating (0-62mph takes 10 seconds), but the real-world performance will be more than adequate for most buyers. The higher-powered model is considerably quicker (0-62mph in 8.8 seconds), but the extra turn of speed comes at a price. As the engine is under greater strain, it’s noisier, especially when worked, and actually can be quite intrusive. Next to these diesels, the 1.4-litre TSI petrol feels a little underpowered: without the same mid-range puling power, it needs working hard more of the time, which soon becomes wearing. Manual models have six speeds, and the gearbox is a pleasure to use, with nicely spaced ratios and a fairly precise action. The automatic is a seven-speed dual-clutch item, but it can get a little flustered if you rush it or get too demanding: pausing before down changes and failing to always select the right gear at the right time. You’ll need to push it into to ‘S’ mode if you want quick enough responses to overtake. Two-wheel drive is standard, but there are several four-wheel drive versions to choose from should you wish, with off-road displays, Hill Descent Control, and a few other handy features for those who want to venture off the beaten track. Be aware that not all combinations of engine and two/four-wheel drive are available in all trim levels.

Running costs
★★★★★
★★★★★
5/5

One of the biggest attractions of the Kodiaq is its low entry price – the five-seat version equipped with the 1.4-litre petrol engine costs the same as the VW Golf. That model only has five seats, and a more modest level of standard kit, but even the 2.0-litre diesel in SE L trim is priced to cost thousands less than its comparable rivals from Hyundai, Kia and Land Rover. It will also be cheaper than those competitors when it comes to PCP finance deals, with Skoda consistently offering hefty dealer contributions and incentives to keep the monthly payments and interest rates low. As for how much it’ll cost you in tax and fuel, this is still a big, heavy 4x4, so expect the diesels to return economy in the mid-forties, while the 148bhp model emits a claimed 144g/km of CO2, putting it slightly below the Kia Sorento for BIK tax. Petrol models don’t fare as badly as you might think, and are actually cheaper to insure than the diesel versions, but if you add an automatic gearbox or four-wheel drive then expect to see your costs increase. The biggest news, though, is that the Kodiaq will hold onto its value a lot better than most other cars in the class, and depreciation is the biggest single running cost that new car buyers face. According to our calculations, this means that when you tot up all your costs over a three-year ownership period, the big Skoda will cost you significantly less than any of its key rivals.

2016 Skoda Kodiaq

Reliability
★★★★★
★★★★★
4/5

The Kodiaq is a brand new model, so at this stage it’s difficult to gauge how reliable it will prove to be in the longer term. On the plus side, Skoda as a brand has consistently performed well in customer satisfaction surveys for reliability, and this model shares plenty of its mechanical parts with the tried-and-tested Octavia and Superb Estates. One of Skoda’s most dependable models is its other SUV, the Yeti, which should give buyers the confidence that the Kodiaq is built to withstand a bit of rough and tumble, and even regular trips off-road. The engines and gearboxes have been around long enough in a variety of different models to get any issues ironed out, so it’s only the more complicated electronics onboard the Kodiaq that remain an unknown quantity. The big Skoda comes with the usual warranty period of three years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first, so if any of the major parts do fail during that time, you won’t be the one footing the bill. However, that is still a whole four years’ less cover than you get in the Kia Sorento.

Safety
★★★★★
★★★★★
5/5

Any vehicle that is going to potentially carry up to six of your loved ones had better be safe, and luckily the Kodiaq benefits from the latest and greatest VW Group safety technology. Seven airbags are standard on all models, as is front assist, an emergency braking system that will intervene at low speed if it senses an impending collision. Top Edition models benefit from Blind Spot Assist (very handy on a car with such wide pillars), and Lane Assist, which will steer you gently back on course if you start to drift from your lane on the motorway. These models also have bright LED headlights as standard, with High Beam Assist automatically dipping the lights if another car is headed towards you. You can add all these items to lesser versions of the Kodiaq, for a price of course. Other safety options you might want to consider adding include a Traffic Sign Recognition system, a driver fatigue monitor, and adaptive cruise control, but one handy feature is standard – Care Connect – which will contact emergency services for you in the event of a crash. Speaking of crashes, the Kodiaq scored a maximum five stars when crash-tested by safety organisation EuroNCAP in 2017.

2016 Skoda Kodiaq

Equipment
★★★★★
★★★★★
5/5

None of the trim versions leave you totally shortchanged when it comes to kit. The entry-level ‘S’ model still has 17-inch alloys, a 6.5-inch touch-screen infotainment system, LED running lights, keyless go, and manual air-conditioning. Still, we would avoid this version, as it’s five-seat only. SE trim brings desirable additional items including reversing sensors, cruise control, a better infotainment system, auto lights and wipers, and handily for long holidays; a set of roof rails. It is worth spending a bit of extra money for the SE L: it won’t cost too much more on a finance deal, and it has seven seats as standard (they’re extra on the SE), plus sat-nav, heated seats with Alcantara trim, and full LED headlights. Those so inclined will find the Edition models at the top of the range even better kitted out, but while its luxuries make this a very posh Skoda, they also push the Kodiaq too close to its premium rivals, making the SE L better value for money.

Why buy?
★★★★★
★★★★★
5/5

If you are looking for a smart, sophisticated, seven-seat SUV that’s good to drive, light on the wallet, and roomy enough for the whole family, the Kodiaq is for you. It might not have quite the premium image of some of its rivals, but it also costs far less and comes better equipped. And, better yet, it never feels like a car that’s been built to a price. There are more practical choices for the family, but few cars manage to tick so many boxes with such consummate ease.

2016 Skoda Kodiaq

Our recommendations

From the range of the new Skoda Kodiaq, these are the ones we suggest you look at

Pick of the range
2.0 TDI 150 SE L
A good, strong engine, as well as really generous standard equipment
Most economical
2.0 TDI 150 2WD
Combined economy of more than 55mpg is good for such a big car
Best avoided
1.4 TSI 125 S
The low-price entry-level model looks very cheap, but it's worth spending a bit more to get a better-equipped model with a stronger engine
Choose your Skoda Kodiaq

Information regarding the vehicle advertised is obtained from various sources, whilst we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, changes in pricing and the vehicle specification may have occurred since the content was published. Always check with the Dealer before entering into any agreement.