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Skoda Kodiaq 2017 review

EXPERT RATING
7.9
In what’s become a tradition of Skoda giving its cars silly names, the seven-seat mid-sized Kodiaq is named after a bear, sort of because they had to be different and swap the ‘k’ for a ‘q’.

In what’s become a tradition of Skoda giving its cars silly names, the seven-seat mid-sized Kodiaq is named after a bear, sort of because they had to be different and swap the ‘k’ for a ‘q’. That, in a nutshell, is what Skoda is all about – it’s unique selling point, as marketing types call it, is that it’s the same, but different. The same as the Volkswagen it’s related to, but different.

Now, if you were in the UK you’d be able to choose from 31 variants of the Kodiaq. There’s two different engines, three grades in the line-up, manual or auto, five or seven seats, all-wheel drive or two. The bad news for us in Australia is there’s only one variant (for now). The good news is it’s the top-of-the-range variant the 132TSI 4X4 petrol with the DSG and seven seats. If it were a hamburger it would it would have pineapple, bacon and an egg on it – yup it’s the Kodiaq with the lot.

We tested the Kodiaq 132 TSI 4x4 by throwing it my family and then at my 100km test loop on a dark and wet night. Could this be the best seven-seat mid-sized SUV for less than $45K?

Skoda KODIAQ 2017: 132 TSI (4x4)
Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.6L/100km
Seating7 seats
Price from$36,490

Is there anything interesting about its design?  8/10

Bentley, Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen and Skoda. They’re all members of the Volkswagen Group with the Skoda sharing a family resemblance particularly to the Audis and VWs, while maintaining its own distinctive look which has become even more refined and attractive with each new generation and model.

The Skoda Kodiaq sits on a platform that the Volkswagen Tiguan also uses – picture it like a skateboard that can be stretched or shortened. In the case of the Kodiaq it’s a longer version of the skateboard so that there’s space for a third row of seats at the back, but it still shares the same mechanicals as the Tiguan.

As with Volkswagens, the Kodiaq’s cockpit is beautifully minimalist and functional. (image credit: Richard Berry) As with Volkswagens, the Kodiaq’s cockpit is beautifully minimalist and functional. (image credit: Richard Berry)

The Skoda Kodiaq is not as much of a giant as it appears in the pictures. It’s not small either but the dimensions show it to be 4697mm end to end, 1882mm across and 1676mm tall (with roof rails).

Compared to the Nissan X-Trail ST the Kodiaq is 7mm longer, 62mm wider and 26mm taller. The Honda CR-V VTi-L is also a seven-seater and it’s about 100mm shorter in length than the X-Trail. The Santa Fe Active is only 3mm longer than the Kodiaq, while the Sorrento is 83mm longer.

Clean, crisp creases to its panels, muscly rear haunches and a wide stance make the Kodiaq look big and tough, but elegant. I’m still not sold on the grille styling, personally I think it appears a little dated now especially for an SUV which is so new – it made its public debut at the 2016 Paris motor show.

The seats in our  Kodiaq  were Alcantara and leather.

Inside the cabin is what you’d expect from a super-new SUV and as with Volkswagens the Skoda Kodiaq’s cockpit is beautifully minimalist and functional. There’s a long slab-like dash, flat-bottomed moulded steering wheel, and LED ambient colour lighting (choose a colour depending on your mood).

The seats in our Kodiaq were Alcantara and leather. The leather is nice but the Alcantara feels like velour and together they remind me of a jacket my Dad always used to wear in the 1980s which was part wool and part leather. He loved it but it was truly terrible. Luckily thanks to its quirky character it can pull off the combo – the Skoda I mean, not Dad.

How practical is the space inside?  8/10

You know how the different states of Australia have slogans on their number plates that perhaps they hope sums them up or hints at what they aspire to be? Victoria: the Education State; Queensland: Sunshine State; and Tasmania: Explore the Possibilities. Well, Skoda’s tagline is: Simply Clever.

That’s clearly what it’s decided is the point of difference between it and Volkswagen or other brands. So you’ll find cool little practical Easter eggs in the Kodiaq such as the umbrellas hiding in the front doors like torpedos, the tablet holders for rear passengers which are mounted to the backs of the front seats and a pop-out LED torch in the boot.

  • There’s a long slab-like dash, flat-bottomed moulded steering wheel, and LED ambient colour lighting. (image credit: Richard Berry) There’s a long slab-like dash, flat-bottomed moulded steering wheel, and LED ambient colour lighting. (image credit: Richard Berry)
  • You’ll find cool little practical Easter eggs, like the tablet holders for rear passengers on the backs of the front seats. (image credit: Richard Berry) You’ll find cool little practical Easter eggs, like the tablet holders for rear passengers on the backs of the front seats. (image credit: Richard Berry)

And we haven’t even talked about the regular practical features, such as the legroom in the second row which is excellent for a mid-sized seven seater – I’m 191cm and have about 4cm of space between my knees and the seat back, while there’s heaps headroom (can’t say the same about the seven seat CR-V VTi-L).

The third row is cramped for somebody my height, but a nine-year old Richard Berry would have loved sitting back there and not just because it was as far away from his parents as possible.

Up front the seats are comfortable with an extendable base for better thigh support.

Cabin storage is excellent with bottle holders in all doors, one cup holder in the third row, three in the fold down armrest in the second row and two more up front. Also, up front there’s a big under-dash storage area where you can chuck wallets and keys and phones, and there’s a bin in the driver’s door. These make up for the fairly shallow centre console storage area.

  • The third row is cramped for somebody my height, but a nine-year old me would have loved sitting back there. (image credit: Richard Berry) The third row is cramped for somebody my height, but a nine-year old me would have loved sitting back there. (image credit: Richard Berry)
  • There are nine airbags with curtain airbags covering the front, second and third rows. (image credit: Richard Berry) There are nine airbags with curtain airbags covering the front, second and third rows. (image credit: Richard Berry)

The Kodiaq’s boot capacity is 630 litres (VDA) with the third row folded, that’s bigger than the CR-V’s (522 litres) bigger than the Mazda CX-5’s (442 litres), bigger than the Toyota RAV4’s (577 litres) and also the five-seat Tiguan’s (615 litres).

With the third row in place you’ll have 270 litres of boot space at your disposal.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?  8/10

Yes, we only have one type of Kodiaq in Australia for now, but it has the most powerful petrol engine you can get in this model (you can read about that below) and it comes with a giant standard features list. Does that make it pricey? Well, it’s getting up there. We’re talking $42,990 and that’s a tad frustrating and limiting for many people, not having a more affordable entry point into this model.

The upside, as we said, is the one Kodiaq we do have is seriously outfitted with gear. You’ll get an eight-inch screen and a media system with sat nav, Apple Carplay and Android Auto, and Bluetooth. There’s proximity unlocking and push-button start, adaptive cruise control, and tinted rear glass. The seats are a combination of Alcantara and leather upholstery, there’s dual-zone climate control, and an auto tailgate. Along with a rear view camera, LED headlights and front and rear parking sensors, there’s advanced safety technology, too (which you can read about below).

Our test car was fitted with the $5900 Launch Pack which added more advanced safety equipment plus 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive chassis control, driving modes, gesture tailgate and an off-road setting.

The Kodiaq’s boot capacity is 630 litres with the third row folded. (image credit: Richard Berry) The Kodiaq’s boot capacity is 630 litres with the third row folded. (image credit: Richard Berry)

There aren’t many seven-seater mid-sized SUVs out there, but if we were to list a couple of others you should check out there’s the Nissan X-Trail ST-L for $38,090 and the Honda CR-V STI-L for $38,990, but they are both only available as a two-wheel drive.

The Hyundai Santa Fe Active is $40,990 and the Kia Sorrento Si 4x4 is $44,990. Both are a tad larger than the Kodiaq but they’re all-wheel drive and have seven seats, although they don’t have the same premium feeling as the Skoda.

Before you know it the Kodiaq’s ‘twin sister’ the Tiguan Allspace will be here, you’ll most likely pay a small amount more for the VW badge, though.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?  8/10

There’s one engine for now – it’s a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol also called a 132TSI because it makes 132kW. Torque is a healthy 320Nm.

The combination of this engine and transmission makes for a relatively powerful team. (image credit: Richard Berry) The combination of this engine and transmission makes for a relatively powerful team. (image credit: Richard Berry)

A seven-speed DSG ‘automatic’ transmission does a good job of shifting gears fairly smoothly.

The combination of this engine and transmission makes for a relatively powerful and responsive team that makes driving even more engaging.

How much fuel does it consume?  7/10

DSGs are good for fuel economy and Skoda says that using 95 RON (that’s premium unleaded) you should get a mileage of 7.6L/100km under combined driving conditions. After our time in it which mainly took in daily city usage, but also saw motorway and national park adventures our Kodiaq needed 11.8L/100km.

What's it like to drive?  8/10

You’re not going to find a mid-sized seven-seater SUV at this price that’s better to drive than the Kodiaq – unless it’s the Tiguan Allspace in which case I’m expecting a similar high level of comfort and good performance.

That ride is excellent, almost limo-like, that front suspension almost too soft, but handling is good and made better by the adaptive chassis control and drive modes from the Launch Pack. Grip is good too, and the all-wheel drive system maintains excellent traction even in the wet.

That 2.0-litre engine is excellent – it’s responsive and likes to play. (image credit: Richard Berry) That 2.0-litre engine is excellent – it’s responsive and likes to play. (image credit: Richard Berry)

Drawbacks for me is the steering which feels too light and too slow and the brake pedal has a ‘spoungey’ feel.

That 2.0-litre engine is excellent – it’s responsive and likes to play. I’m not the biggest fan of DSGs because at lower speeds they have a jerky trait, but when you’re belting along it seemed to be far more decisive and shifts hard and fast. 

During my daily commutes I had to turn the stop-start function off – it’s excellent at saving fuel, but more annoying than a telemarketer with the way it shuts down the engine when slowing down to a stop. I found that stop-start function even a bit unsafe when turning right at intersections waiting for a gap in the traffic, only for it to kill the engine just as I was ready to go. That incident was enough for me to turn it off for good.

The Kodiaq is not enormous and navigating through car parks didn’t pose any issues. (image credit: Richard Berry) The Kodiaq is not enormous and navigating through car parks didn’t pose any issues. (image credit: Richard Berry)

Forward visibility is excellent, while rear visibility is restricted by the high, small back window, but a reversing camera solves this issue.

On the wet night I took it through Royal National Park I felt that the ESC was overly keen to step in ‘assist’ me, but better to be safe right? Those LED headlights also cut through the drizzle and darkness impressively. 

The Kodiaq is not enormous and navigating through car parks didn’t pose any issues and the auto-parking function worked perfectly for me every time.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

5 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?  8/10

The Skoda Kodiaq scored the maximum five-star ANCAP rating in 2017. There are nine airbags with curtain airbags covering the front, second and third rows. The Kodiaq 4x4 also comes standard with city AEB

The Launch Pack fitted to our test car added Lane Assist and blind spot warning, auto parking, surround view camera, rear cross traffic alert and emergency assistance.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?  8/10

The Kodiaq is covered by Skoda’s five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty – this consists of a three-year factory warranty and a two-year extended factory warranty.

Servicing is recommended annually or every 15,000km. Skoda says that for a 2017 Kodiaq owners can expect to pay $319 for the first service, $404 for the second, then $657, $1209, $490 and $641 for the fifth.

Pricing Guides

$41,990
Based on 13 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$36,490
Highest Price
$54,490

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
132 TSI (4x4) 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $36,490 – 44,990 2017 Skoda Kodiaq 2017 132 TSI (4x4) Pricing and Specs
132 TSI (4x4) 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $36,490 – 44,990 2017 Skoda Kodiaq 2017 132 TSI (4x4) Pricing and Specs
132 TSI SPORTLINE 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $34,540 – 41,140 2017 Skoda Kodiaq 2017 132 TSI SPORTLINE Pricing and Specs
140 TDI (4x4) 2.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $52,990 – 54,490 2017 Skoda Kodiaq 2017 140 TDI (4x4) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.9
Design8
Practicality8
Price and features8
Engine & trans8
Fuel consumption7
Driving8
Safety8
Ownership8

“There’s not many mid-sized seven-seat all-wheel drive SUVs on the market and none of them are as good as the Kodiaq 4x4 in terms of comfort, handling, design, features or refinement – that is until the Allspace arrives.  ”

Check out Andrew Chesterton's video review from the Kodiaq's Australian launch.