By Ian Strachan
The Skoda Kodiaq broke new ground for the Czech manufacturer when it was launched. It was the company’s first ever seven-seat sports utility vehicle and added another dimension to Skoda’s fast-expanding range. Now it’s become established and there are some very desirable variants available.
A case in point is the Kodiaq vRS. This vehicle is versatile, exceptionally well-equipped, handles like a dream, has permanent four wheel drive, and like most Skodas it remains very competitive. Pitched into one of the most intensely fought sectors, the range starts at below £22,000. Even the vRS – which can mix it with the big guys and their well-established SUVs – is less than £43,000. That’s less than half the price of a similarly equipped Discovery.
But despite its price, it has high build quality, good interior trim materials and a high specification, not to mention a very roomy interior.
The Kodiaq has a quality feel to it inside and out. And it is certainly a good looker. It has a strong side-on presence, with a gently sloping roofline, big windows a high waist and neatly sculpted side panels. Handsome 20 inch alloys add to its side-on style.
Inside the car has a lot of class about it. My test vehicle had black Alcantara upholstery of a surprisingly high quality. The dash is simple and attractive, with a central nine-inch touchscreen satellite navigation system which also controls the DAB radio and media system, with USB ports and SD card reader.
Interior space is very good at 720 litres of cargo space. This can be further improved to a huge 2065 litres with the 60/40 folding split rear seat. Of course this is reduced if you have the third row of seats in place, but when not in use they fold flat into the floor. Interior specification on the vRS spec which I tested includes parking sensors with visual display, dual-zone air conditioning, armrest with storage box, cruise control and of course, Skoda’s trademark umbrella in the front door compartment and a removable LED torch in the boot.
Other standard features include powered tailgate, all-round airbags, cornering LED front fog lights and adaptive headlights, electrically adjustable folding heated door mirrors, electric driver’s seat, keyless entry and ignition, light and rain sensors and tyre pressure monitoring system.
I drove the 2.0 litre turbo-charged diesel-powered version which gives out a hefty 240 bhp. Linked to a smooth seven-speed stepless automatic gearbox, this is a very good unit, offering plenty of power with little fuss. Acceleration is pleasingly brisk for a vehicle of this size with an 0-60mph time below seven seconds.
Skoda claims fuel consumption of 35.3 mpg in mixed driving, which is nothing to write home about, but this is a big car with power under the bonnet, which will always have a fuel consumption penalty.
My test vehicle came with extras including an upgraded sound system, electrically folding tow bar, heated rear seats and a rear view camera, which brought the price to £44,935 (before the extras it would have been £42,895) . That is competitive for such a high specification, and you get a lot of car for your money.
It’s difficult to fault this offering from Skoda which is winning awards and deservedly so. It’s a an impressive vehicle with a very keen price which will keep other manufacturers on their toes.