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PROS

  • New crossover shape for Skoda
  • Seven seats as standard
  • Keenly priced from £23,000

CONS

  • Too early to say before we drive it
  • Will you be able to spell that name?

Verdict

Skoda Kodiaq preview

Skoda has unveiled its new seven-seat family-focused crossover – due in March 2017.

Called the Skoda Kodiaq, the new car is an interesting addition to the range and joins a growing band of crossovers as buyers increasingly ditch hatchbacks, estates and people carriers for the higher driving position and added practicality offered by taller SUVs.

With an expected starting price of around £23,000, the Kodiaq will be competing with rival seven-seaters such as the Hyundai Santa FeKia Sorento and VW Tiguan – with which it shares Volkswagen Group’s lightweight MQB platform.

Design

It’s very similar to the six-seat Skoda Vision S concept unveiled earlier in 2016 albeit with room for an extra passenger. A long wheelbase and short overhangs mean ample interior space, yet the Kodiaq measures just 40mm longer than the Skoda Octavia.

Impressive packaging also adds to the car’s appeal, with several different seating arrangements to fit whichever load-lugging/people-carrying scenario families might find themselves in. When in place, the third row of rear seats is predominantly designed for children, though a longitudinally-adjustable second row of seats means occupants can divide legroom appropriately.

Fold the third row down and bootspace becomes the name of the game, increasing capacity to a commodious 720 litres while still seating five in comfort. Do away with all but the front two seats and luggage space increases to what Skoda claims is a class-leading 2,065 litres. There’s even an option to spec a folding front passenger seat to allow items of up to 2.8 metres long to fit in the Kodiaq.

Engines and specs

The Kodiaq will come with a choice of five engines from launch – two diesels and three petrols – as well as the option of four-wheel drive. Three different gearboxes - six-speed manual along with six-speed and seven-speed DSG automatic - will also be available.

The diesel motors consist of two 2.0-litre turbodiesel units in 150hp and 180hp guise; the former is expected to be the biggest-seller in the UK. Customers should expect a combined fuel economy figure of 56.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 131 g/km, thus putting it in the £130-per-year road tax band.

Opt for one of the petrol motors and there’s a choice between two 1.4-litre units and a top-of-the-range 180hp 2.0-litre – all of which are turbocharged. The more powerful 1.4-litre engine benefits from fuel-saving Active Cylinder Technology (ACT) which shuts down two of the four cylinders when load and engine speed are low. Further efficiency figures are yet to be announced for the majority of petrol engines.

Trim levels for the Kodiaq are expected to follow the usual Skoda template of S, SE and SE L, the latter resembling the top-spec option. Expect higher-powered engines to be available only with pricier trim levels and vice-versa.

Equipment

Skoda has raided the VW parts-bin and added a whole range of tech to the Kodiaq. Area View system (displays views of the car’s immediate surroundings via the infotainment screen), adaptive cruise control, driver alert (detects signs of fatigue and prompts drivers to take a break) and Crew Protect Assist (pre-prepares vehicle if it detects an accident is imminent) are all options, while Front Assist (applies brakes automatically if the vehicle detects a dangerous situation) is fitted as standard.

Skoda Connect also makes its way onto the Kodiaq and is split into two categories. The first, named Infotainment Online, provides services such as real-time traffic information, fuel prices and weather. The second, Care Connect, can send the car’s up-to-date maintenance details directly to the dealership when it’s time for a service, as well as giving the owner remote access to the vehicle – alerting them if it leaves a designated area or exceeds a pre-specified speed limit.

Another useful feature of Care Connect comes in the event of an accident, where an emergency call can be made automatically should the vehicle detect a deployment of its restraint systems.

Four levels of infotainment system will be offered on the Kodiaq, the standard Swing system coming with a 6.5-inch central screen, Bluetooth phone connectivity and Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirror Link compatibility. Move up a level to the Bolero infotainment system and an eight-inch touchscreen is thrown in, as is an in-car microphone which projects the driver’s voice to the rear-seats via the speakers.

The Amundsen system adds sat-nav to the package, while the top-of-the-range Columbus infotainment includes a 64GB memory capacity and DVD player. In-car Wi-Fi is also available, as is wireless phone charging and a 10-speaker 575-watt Canton sound system.

Caravan owners will also be pleased to note the Kodiaq’s 2.5-tonne towing capacity and Trailer Assist system, enabling a caravan-laden car to take control of the steering when reversing at low speeds.  

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