A big SUV which looks premium, is elegant and classy, also feature loaded. Yes, we are talking about the new Skoda Kodiaq, which has recently been launched.How different is this SUV? Does it justify its price? We take this big SUV for drive around the beautiful locales of Kovalam, Kerala and share our view of it. Read further to know more.Skoda Kodiaq is the latest SUV from the Czech manufacturer, which has been globally launched. It is big in size but it doesn’t appear to be. Especially when you compare it to its main competitors – Ford Endeavour and Toyota Fortuner. Its proportions are quite compact, however it manages a good road presence, because its styling is crisp and impressive.
DESIGN AND STYLE ;
Skoda has always been on the money with their timeless designs. The Kodiaq follows down that path as well, and is about clean lines and cuts. While we have been fed a steady diet of brawny and flashy SUVs like the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour, the Kodiaq feels suave and understated. In fact, it feels more like an overgrown estate on stilts, but in a way that is pleasing to the eyes. The Kodiaq has to be the best beneficiary of Skoda’s new ‘crystalline design’ theme, which covers almost all of their current lineup in India.
When viewed from the front, Skoda’s large ‘butterfly’ grille takes centrestage. It is flanked by a pair of headlamps that look similar to the Superb’s crystalline ones but are sleeker in profile. And those DRLs streaking across the length of the headlamps are bound to get noticed before the rest of the car. The tail lamps too are similar to the Superb but feature a more aggressive shape. Indian sensibilities come in the form of a unique plastic sleeve that wraps around the edge of the doors when the door is opened. This saves the doors from dings and scratches when they’re opened in tight spots. There are also two compact umbrellas that slide into a hole in the front doors. It is a fantastic addition considering the unseasonal monsoons we Indians have to contend with nowadays. Yes, the umbrella slots have drainage channels too, that evacuate water from a wet umbrella.
Overall, the Kodiaq brings a sophisticated styling package to the segment. It may not have the imposing presence of its direct rivals but offers a more tasteful and mature appeal.
CABIN AND COMFORT ;
Where all that exterior girth pays off is on the inside. Skodas are known for their cabin space, and this one carries that torch beautifully. The middle row can be slid back and forth a long way, and even pushed all the way forward, there’s enough place for most to sit without scuffing their knees. Slide them back and you’ve got as much, if not more, space than a Superb. The middle row doesn’t tumble forward like in the new Toyota Fortuner (they only slide and fold), but access to the third row isn’t too bad as the whole car is a bit lower. Of course, with the middle row pushed all the way back, the third row is a bit tight on space, but you’d be surprised at how much kneeroom you can liberate by pushing it forward only a little. What’s more, even with the third row up, boot space is pretty reasonable – if not very tall – and you can get a full-size suitcase in there with no problem. With it down, of course, you could very well move house. There is a five-seat version of the Kodiaq too but, understandably, Skoda is only bringing the seven-seater to India.
As we’ve seen with the new Superb and even the Octavia, some of that solid, luxurious feeling from the last generation of Skodas is missing from today’s cars. They’re still very well put together, but the plastics and trims just don’t feel as rich or special as they used to. With the Kodiaq, Skoda has alleviated this to a great extent by adding some much needed character to the dashboard. It’s nice and chunky, befitting the SUV, with tall vertical AC vents and thick slabs of textured trim. The rest is quite familiar, with the same AC controls, steering wheel and switchgear as most modern VW Group cars. A standout feature is the eight-inch touchscreen, which now uses capacitive, rather than physical, buttons.
Staying with the touchscreen, the Kodiaq’s full equipment list reads like a treasure trove of cool gizmos, and we can only hope Skoda India ticks as many of those checkboxes as possible. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SmartLink, 360-degree cameras with a ‘virtual exterior’ view (like we saw in the new BMW 7-series), adaptive cruise control, park assist, a powered tailgate, a massive panoramic sunroof, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot warning, Qi wireless phone charging, three-zone climate control, emergency assistance, pedestrian detection, traffic sign recognition and an on board WiFi hotspot. Phew! And on top of that, cool little features include a magnetised flashlight that you can stick onto the car to help with, say, a puncture repair at night, there are charging facilities via 12v sockets, USB and even a 230v plug, and finally, little rubber protectors pop out to cover the door edges from scuffing when you open the doors, and hide away when you close them.
ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;
The Kodiaq will be available in India with two engine options — a 180PS 2-litre petrol and a 2-litre turbodiesel. The diesel is available in 150 and 190PS states of tune, but India is likely to get the 150PS version first as it is Euro 6-compliant while managing to deal with poor fuel quality. Irrespective of fuel type, at the time of launch, we will get seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearboxes and all-wheel drive hardware. The petrol engine is smooth, ambles calmly and breaks into a trot effortlessly as there is enough torque available even under 2000rpm. It would make for an easy going companion on the daily commute. If you like to drive at a faster pace, you will have to use the revs, as there is a bit more zing after 2600rpm. The engine continues to pull ahead with determination even as you go past 4000rpm, and the dual clutch gearbox lets you go up to 6200rpm before shifting up. The gearbox is reasonably quick and you have paddle shifters for greater control. It is a quick enough motor but seems in its element when driven at a sensible pace, and cruising on the highway is a stress-free affair.
The 150PS diesel also proved to be good for everyday usage for most city dwellers. It is quick to respond even at low speeds, with torque building smartly from about 1700 rpm. The engine pulls well past 3000rpm, however, at higher speeds it didn’t have the punch of the 190PS diesel. On the flip side, the 190PS version doesn’t have great low speed drivability, and the gearbox feels a little less eager to change gears here. The Kodiaq also offers different drive modes: Eco, Sport and Normal – these adjust the responsiveness of the gearbox and throttle to suit the need.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
Skoda has got the tuning of the suspension spot on! The Kodiaq offers a supple and the pliant ride over broken tarmac and the bump absorption ability is pretty good too. The steering unit too is light and responsive, making driving in the city a breeze. It is not the best of handlers, thanks to its length, but it isn’t cumbersome either. Enthusiastic driving is not its forte and neither is Skoda claiming such. It is a relaxed SUV and the driving characteristics are such.Book a test drive for Skoda Kodiac.
BRAKING AND SAFETY ;
There are disc brakes at all four wheels that reduce the car’s braking distance quite significantly. The car comes loaded with safety features, and you get 9 airbags that prevent passengers in an event of collision.
Other safety features include ABS, EBD, ASR, TCS, ESC etc. that further enhance the safety net for the car’s occupants.
The Kodiaq benefits from Skoda’s expertise in making cars that are engaging to drive. With its powertrain, firm suspension setup and responsive steering the Kodiaq is engaging to drive while being comfortable. Interior space is abundant and it comes packed with a very impressive feature list too, while feeling solidly built. It isn’t too large but looks big and very impressive, particularly from the front, though I wish the rear echoed the butch feel offered by the front end. That said, the Kodiaq is packaged well as a seven-seater premium SUV. When launched, we expect it to cost just under the 35 lakh rupee mark.
Skoda Kodiaq Style 4×4 Ex-showroom Price is 34,49,501/- and On Road Price is 40,65,451/- in New Delhi. Skoda Kodiaq Style 4×4 comes in 4 colours, namely Lava Blue,Moon White,Quartz Grey,Magic Black