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The Auto Trader expert 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. The cheapest 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. The Kodiaq was named Best Seven-Seater in the 2019 Auto Trader New Car Awards.

Reasons to buy

  • Tidy handling
  • Brilliant practicality
  • Highly equipped

Running costs for a Skoda Kodiaq 5/5

One of the biggest attractions of the Kodiaq is its low entry price: the entry-level version equipped with the 1.4-litre petrol engine costs the same as a mid-spec VW Golf. That model only has five seats, and a more modest level of standard kit, but even the 2.0-litre diesel with the toys you want in a modern family car will 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.

As for how much the Kodiaq will cost you in tax and fuel, this is still a big, heavy car, so expect the diesels to return better long-distance economy. Petrol models don’t fare as badly as you might think, and are cheaper to insure than the diesel versions. The biggest news, though, is that the Kodiaq will hold onto its value a lot better than most other cars in the class. According to our calculations, this means 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.

Reliability of a Skoda Kodiaq 4/5

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. The big Skoda comes with the usual warranty period of three years/60,000 miles. However, that is still a whole four years’ less cover than you get in the Kia Sorento, though you can upgrade the cover to four or five years to narrow the gap for a small extra cost.

Safety for a Skoda Kodiaq 3/5

All the safety gear you’d expect of a modern family car is in place and the Kodiaq comes as standard with a ‘Front Assist’ system that scans the road head with radar and can automatically initiate emergency braking in response to unseen hazards. However, in a pattern seen across the Skoda range, many of the other driver aids and suchlike you might want are either unavailable on lower trim levels or are cost options on the rest. So, you’ll pay extra for a driver alertness warning, high-beam assistance, traffic sign recognition and adaptive cruise control and some of the active driver aids like lane-keeping, blind-spot warnings and alerts for traffic crossing your path behind the vehicle are only available if you also choose the expensive automatic gearbox option.

How comfortable is the Skoda Kodiaq 5/5

Many large SUVs are too heavy or softly sprung to do anything other than drive gently along smooth, straight motorways. However, the Kodiaq is surprisingly alert through corners and the ride stays impressively comfortable most of the time, too. Top-spec versions are equipped with an adaptive suspension, so you can make the ride firmer or softer depending on the type of road you’re on. We prefer the slightly more forgiving set-up.

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. If you regularly need to carry seven adults on long journeys, 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 huge boot and seven seats for the occasions you need them will be invaluable. Those sat in the middle row have a generous amount of head- and legroom, and these seats slide and recline to ensure maximum comfort. The middle seat is harder and narrower than the other two, though, and a Kia Sorento feels marginally bigger inside. No matter, the Kodiaq was named Best Seven-Seater in the 2019 Auto Trader New Car Awards.

Towing, which is important to many SUV buyers, will be no problem in the Kodiaq either, with the diesel 4x4 models rated to tow up to 2.5 tonnes. There’s an optional system for helping you reverse caravans into tight camping spots, too.

Features of the Skoda Kodiaq 4/5

The Kodiaq sits in the middle of a hugely competitive sector and Skoda has been careful to cover all bases with a wide product range, from back to basics affordable ones, proper off-road optimised ones, a luxury model and even a performance version. All get touchscreen infotainment system, the entry level version offering wireless connection to your phone so you can use your preferred app-based navigation via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Dual-zone climate control, privacy glass and rear parking sensors are also standard on all, the latter handy given how big it is. There is an entry-level five-seater version but all the rest have seating for seven as standard, which is exactly the reason most people will be buying a car like this. As you progress up the range things get progressively fancier, touchscreen navigation, full LED headlights, power tailgate and those additional driver aids all appearing in the fancier models. In keeping with Skoda practice Scout models are geared up for a proper outdoorsy lifestyle, the vRS has the sporty look and trimmings while the Laurin & Klement offers a more decadent, luxurious package.

Power for a Skoda Kodiaq 4/5

There are two petrol engines and one diesel option for the Kodiaq, the latter offered in three power levels. Front-wheel drive is available on the less powerful engines and is fine for town use, the more potent ones getting four-wheel drive and, in some cases, standard DSG automatic gears. Not all engine and transmission combinations are available in all trims, the sporty vRS version getting an exclusive 239-horsepower version of the diesel all to itself.

The 1.5-litre petrol is a small engine for a big car like this and struggles a little against the bulk. There is a more powerful 2.0-litre petrol too, which is a good chunk faster but is pretty poor for CO2 and fuel consumption. Best all-rounder is the 150-horsepower version of the 2.0-litre TDI diesel, which 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 relaxed motorway cruise than many of its rivals.