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Skoda Kodiaq 2018 review: Sportline 132TSI


The Skoda Kodiaq is a mid-sized seven-seat SUV that competes with the likes of the Nissan X-Trail, Honda CR-V, Peugeot 5008 and the upcoming seven-seat Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace. I was in the Kodiaq Sportline, which is the top of the range petrol version. Coming from the same company as Audi and Volkswagen, how does it compare when put to the real test of driving a family around for seven days?

This week I was taking a cast of thousands (well, four children, but it felt like a lot more), to see The Incredibles 2, so the extra seats came in handy and meant I could transport the lot in one go without any other parents (they definitely owe me a vino). Let's see how it performed.

How does it drive?

Smooth as silk. The driving experience is lovely in the Kodiaq, and I had no complaints over the whole week. Everything works in unison to give an effortless drive as I coasted around town in between work and school pickups and, of course, the movies. It's quiet too, and high off the road so you feel safe while driving it, especially when ferrying other people's kids around.

The driving experience is lovely in the Kodiaq. The driving experience is lovely in the Kodiaq.

The 2.0-litre turbo engine is powerful and it got me up hills perfectly fine. The car is too big to be zippy, but the handling is spot on and it's not slow on the road. The steering wheel turns very easily which is a noticeable difference between this and the X-Trail, for example. Some large cars can feel heavy and there is a lag between the time you put your foot down to the time it takes off - but not the Kodiaq.

Even though it's on the larger side of a mid-sized SUV, I didn't have issues parking - of course you have to choose the parks that will fit your vehicle, and use the reversing camera plus front and rear parking sensors. You can choose to option in a 360-degree camera which shows you a view from the top - it's a part of the $3400 Luxury Pack which also includes things like heated leather seats and rear cross-traffic alert. For an extra $2600, the Tech Pack includes Park Assist which actually parks the car for you if you're not sure you can do it yourself.

The 2.0-litre turbo engine is powerful and it got me up hills perfectly fine. The 2.0-litre turbo engine is powerful and it got me up hills perfectly fine.

How spacious is it?

For a car that is really a five seater, masquerading as a seven seater, it has a lot more room in the back row than some of its competitors. At 161 centimetres tall, I was able to sit in the third row with about 5cm between my knees and the seat in front of me. There is also enough headspace so you don't feel claustrophobic. This is not the case in Honda's CR-V for example, where the back row is strictly a children's-only domain and you're compromised on headspace. The children I took to the movies had plenty of room and were comfortable in the back row.

It has a lot more room in the back row than some of its competitors. It has a lot more room in the back row than some of its competitors.

The middle row had loads of room for my two children aged four and six, and this was how I mainly used the car - as a five seater, just utilising those two rearmost seats when I needed them. Still, this car definitely feels more like a proper seven-seater than other five-plus-two seaters. It's just bigger inside.

In the front there is loads of room for both me and my 185cm husband who likes to recline as he drives. I also felt like we had our own airspace, as in, the car is wide enough so you don't feel pushed together or compacted in any way.

  • The boot is large. At 630 litres when five seats are in use, it's bigger than most five seaters. The boot is large. At 630 litres when five seats are in use, it's bigger than most five seaters.
  • When all seven seats are in use you get 270L of space, which is 40L more than a Mazda CX-9. When all seven seats are in use you get 270L of space, which is 40L more than a Mazda CX-9.
  • There is lots of space in the boot, which is a joy for parents to hear. There is lots of space in the boot, which is a joy for parents to hear.

And the boot is large. At 630 litres when five seats are in use, it's bigger than most five seaters and even 100L bigger than a Toyota Kluger (which is a true seven-seat SUV). When all seven seats are in use you get 270L of space, which is 40L more than a Mazda CX-9 (another true seven-seater). So there is lots of space in the boot, which is a joy for parents to hear. Who knows why we have to transport so much stuff around when we have children but the fact is, we all do it.

What does it look like?

From the outside, it looks like it means business. It's beefy, bolshy with a big grille up front, and doesn't look like it would back down in a fight. Still, it has curved lines which give it a slightly refined edge and a more stylish finish than its non-European competitors.

It's beefy, bolshy with a big grille up front, and doesn't look like it would back down in a fight. It's beefy, bolshy with a big grille up front, and doesn't look like it would back down in a fight.

Inside is where you can tell this car comes from the same company as Audi and Volkswagen. It's understated and chic - not flashy, so you won't see high gloss finishes here. Just soft, smooth matte black around the centre console area which whispers stylish design rather obvious luxury.

The seats are a mix of Alacantara (a synthetic suede-look fabric), and leather trim that feel as good as it looks. If you've opted for the Luxury Pack they'll also be heated in the front and rear, plus ventilated in the front. The steering wheel is leather and feels great in the hands, it's also a good shape with a flat-bottomed finish - something that Audi have mastered. They haven't given quite the same high-level wheel to Skoda but almost, and it's good enough.

From the outside, it looks like it means business. From the outside, it looks like it means business.

The car I drove came with a huge sunroof that extended almost to the back row to let in lots of lovely natural light, but it will cost an extra $1900 for this feature.

It all feels wonderful to sit in and I certainly felt like I was driving a beautifully designed car this week.

It has curved lines which give it a slightly refined edge and a more stylish finish. It has curved lines which give it a slightly refined edge and a more stylish finish.

How easy is it for everyday use?

My children had no trouble climbing into the back row, it's easy enough to flick down the middle-row backrests and slide the seats forward for access. That means that each row can be configured according to how much space you need, and to give more space to the back or middle row depending on who is sitting in there.

There are two cupholders in the front, two in the middle and one in the back which was handy, plus a bottle holder in each door, and Skoda also includes an umbrella in the driver's door - which I actually used during school pick up this week and was very grateful for! Plus a bin for any rubbish, and two blankets in the back rows.

In the front there is loads of room for both me and my 185cm husband who likes to recline as he drives. In the front there is loads of room for both me and my 185cm husband who likes to recline as he drives.

You'll find air vents in the second row, but none in the back row - I think that's fine with the size of this car, though, as it's not extra long and you do get air coming through to the back seats.

The boot opens with a touch of a button on the key and if you've opted for the Tech Pack you'll also be able to open it by waving a foot under the car, in case you are really overloaded with packages and can't fumble for a key.

What's the tech like?

The Kodiaq comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which means once you plug in your phone, you're instantly connected to the 9.2-inch multimedia screen, and can access your phone's main apps like Spotify for music and maps for navigation. You're also able to use voice control to dictate messages or make phone calls without having to touch your phone.

As part of the Tech Pack there is wireless charging for Android phones equipped with that tech, and also for the Apple iPhone X - you'll never be out of power again. Also with the Tech Pack comes a premium sound system with 10 speakers and a subwoofer. Turn it up folks.

The seats are a mix of Alacantara and leather trim that feel as good as it looks. The seats are a mix of Alacantara and leather trim that feel as good as it looks.

How safe is it?

One of the reasons I like the Skoda is the airbag situation. In most cars, only front passengers get side airbags, but in the Kodiaq, rear passengers get them too, along with side curtain airbags that extend to the back row. So that's two extra airbags in the Kodiaq.

You'll also get two ISOFIX points and three top tethers for car seats, plus standard safety technology like auto emergency braking (AEB) and a fatigue warning which feels your grip on the steering wheel and beeps when it starts to go limp.

For other safety features you will have to purchase the Luxury Pack, which includes things like blind-spot monitoring, lane assist and rear cross-traffic alert.

How much is it to run?

The Skoda Kodiaq 132TSI starts at $42,990. I drove the Sportline version which is top of the range and starts at $46,990. If you add up the options - sunroof, $1900; Tech Pack, $2600; Luxury Pack $3400 - the car I drove comes to $54,890.

The Kodiaq is covered by Skoda's five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty. Services are needed every 12 months or 15,000kms. Fuel consumption is claimed at 7.4 litres/100km on the combined cycle which is fairly average for a car this size.


The Wrap

I found the Skoda Kodiaq really lovely to drive this week. It's big enough to fit seven and you don't feel like you're too crammed in, it's beautifully designed and feels luxurious inside, plus it drives superbly. I gave it a family rating of 8 out of 10 because I was really quite happy in here for the week. My children also gave it an 8 - they loved the fact that we took their friends to see The Incredibles 2.

Likes

Practicality
Great to drive
Spacious inside and boot space

Dislikes

Extra safety features are paid options

Scores

Nedahl:

4

The Kids:

4

$48,990 - $54,990

Based on 5 car listings in the last 6 months

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