There are five different engines to choose from in the Kodiaq, and we’ve driven three of them: the 1.4-litre petrol with 150 horsepower, and a pair of 2.0-litre diesels, with 150 and 190 horsepower. The 150 horsepower diesel 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 relaxed motorway cruise than many of its rivals. Performance off the line is not exactly scintillating (0-62mph takes 10.0 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. It’s noisier, especially when worked, and that 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. The automatic is a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, but it can get a little flustered occasionally, pausing before downshifts and not always selecting the right gear at the right time. You can push it into ‘S’ mode for quicker responses, but that also means the gearbox holds onto lower gears for longer, making the engine noisier.
Two-wheel drive is standard on all models except the 4x4 Scout, and 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, though.