Seven-seat SUV appeals equally to heart and head
- Comfortable, practical interior
- Seven-seat versions available
- Very competitive list prices
- Upmarket, well-equipped interior
- Good roadholding and smooth ride
- Entry model lacks desirable kit
- Petrols could do with more power
- Manual gearbox not the slickest
Large seven-seat off-roaders typically come with equally large price tags. However, the Skoda Kodiaq is available from under £22,000 (£24,000 in seven-seat form); substantially less than Kia, Hyundai, Nissan and Land Rover rivals.
Despite the attention-grabbing prices, the Kodiaq is anything but a budget car, feeling a rung or two above the Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe and Nissan X-Trail when it comes to equipment, quality, comfort and roadholding.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport, meanwhile, gets much closer to the mark, but still can’t match the Skoda’s feel-good factor on the inside – even with its much higher prices.
As a result, the Skoda Kodiaq’s appeal comes from the fact it feels like it should wear sister brand Volkswagen’s badge, though it dramatically undercuts the smaller VW Tiguan off-roader, while providing much more space and equipment. Setting the Kodiaq apart from many similarly priced rivals is the possibility for seven seats – with a sliding middle row.
Two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models available
At launch, the Kodiaq range consists of three petrol and three diesel options. Petrol power comes in the form of 125hp and 150hp 1.4-litre motors, plus an automatic-only 180hp 2.0-litre model. The least powerful petrol version features front-wheel drive, while four-wheel drive is standard on the 2.0-litre. The 150hp model, on the other hand, is available in two-wheel drive automatic form plus four-wheel drive manual and automatic versions.
Diesel choices consist of 115hp, 150hp and 190hp 2.0-litre units. As with the entry-level petrol, the 115hp model comes in manual, two-wheel drive form only, while the 190hp engine is exclusively available with an automatic transmission and four-wheel drive. The middle engine can be had in manual and automatic four-wheel drive incarnations, while a two-wheel drive automatic is also on offer.
For a car so large – and capable of carrying so many passengers and luggage – it’s the two more powerful diesels that make the most sense (while the 125hp petrol seems an unwise choice). The slick DSG automatic gearbox suits the car extremely well, too.
Basic S trim – which lacks any parking sensors and cruise control – is a little on the stingy side while the fully loaded Edition gets niceties including standard metallic paint, leather seats and wireless phone charging. SE L trim strikes a good balance with sat-nav, a powered tailgate and seven seats as standard. Budget around £30,000 to £33,000 for a 150hp or 190hp DSG model in this trim.
Good value PCP finance deals
Monthly payments for the Kodiaq are competitive. High expected residual values and low list prices compensate for the relatively high APR charges and lack of deposit contribution. Due to the low cash prices, the Kodiaq is also good value overall if you plan to make the optional final payment to buy the car at the end of the contract.
If you simply want a spacious, well-equipped Skoda, you’re likely to pay much less per month with the Superb Estate, however. The Ford Kuga and Volkswagen Tiguan will cost you less each month, too, though you’ll probably need to budget more for the Hyundai Santa Fe and Land Rover Discovery Sport.
Claimed fuel economy goes up to 56.5mpg with emissions of 131g/km. This may not make the Kodiaq the most obvious company car choice, but low list prices mean that BIK tax charges for company car drivers are very competitive – starting at £90/£180 (for 20%/40% taxpayers respectively) for the petrols and £117/£234 for the diesels.
The Parkers Verdict
Keenly priced, spacious and well-specified, the Kodiaq is every bit the pragmatic choice you’d expect from Skoda.
Whether you choose petrol, diesel, two- or all-wheel drive, running costs are also admirably low, and handsome styling helps make this one the most desirable cars Skoda has ever produced.