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First drive: 2022 Skoda Kodiaq SportLine 2.0 TSI 190 DSG 4x4. Image by Skoda.

First drive: 2022 Skoda Kodiaq SportLine 2.0 TSI 190 DSG 4x4
We sample the updated Kodiaq in 2.0-litre petrol, all-wheel-drive guise.

   



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2022 Skoda Kodiaq SportLine 2.0 TSI 190 DSG 4x4

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The Skoda Kodiaq is now firmly established at the head of the family SUV pack, offering a winning mix of comfort, practicality and solidity. But the time has come for the Kodiaq to undergo a little nip-and-tuck surgery Ė a mid-life facelift to keep things fresh. To find out whether the changes have made a difference, we sampled the high-end SportLine model with the established 2.0-litre TSI 190 petrol engine.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Skoda Kodiaq SportLine 2.0 TSI 190 DSG 4x4
Pricing: £41,470 as tested
Electric system: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Transmission: seven-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Body style: five-door, seven-seat SUV
CO2 emissions: 186-190g/km
Combined economy: 33.6-34.5mpg
Top speed: 133mph
0-62mph: 7.7 seconds
Power: 190hp
Torque: 320Nm
Boot space: 270-2,005 litres

What's this?

ĎSurprisinglyí and Ďfamiliarí are probably the best way to describe the updated Kodiaq. Apart from the new grille, revamped bumpers and fancy new steering wheel, it looks and feels much the same as its predecessor. Not that thatís a problem for us, because the Kodiaq has always been one of our favourite family cars.

This SportLine model gets some sporty styling features, but itís mainly marked out by the black trim around the grille and window surrounds, as well as the black lettering on the boot lid. Thereís more black on the door mirrors, too, and some 20-inch alloy wheels finish the look.

Inside, thereís a three-spoke steering wheel in place of the two-spoke wheels in other models, while the dashboard is trimmed with some fake carbon-fibre, the seats are trimmed in a mixture of leather and Alcantara, and the pedals are stainless steel.

On the technology front, standard equipment includes a 9.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system thatís pretty much identical to the one in the old car. And thatís a good thing, because the old system is pretty good, whereas the new system found in the latest-generation Octavia (and the VW Golf, Seat Leon and Cupra Formentor) is rubbish. Not only is it overly complicated and generally too clever by half, but cruel experience has told us there are one or two reliability issues.

So the old system it is, and thatís fine by us. Itís dead easy to use, itís clear and it looks decent enough, even if the screen resolution is a tad blocky by the latest standards. Itís also supported by a digital instrument cluster with configuarble displays. Itís far from the cleverest system around, but again it works neatly and does exactly what you want it to.

All that comes with a price tag of more than £41,000, though, so the Kodiaq feels a tad expensive for a car thatís designed to sit below a Volkswagen or a Seat in the VW Group pecking order. But despite that, the build quality is every bit as good as the equivalent VW and Seat products. There are squidgy plastics on the dashboard, everything is really robust and nothing looks or feels cheap or scratchy. It might not be especially inspiring Ė even in this sporty model Ė but itíll happily cope with everything family life brings.

It certainly has plenty of space for a family, with plenty of room in the second row of seats. It also has two occasional rear seats in the boot floor, although taller passengers will have a job getting in there. Once youíre in, space is at a premium, but smaller adults will cope on short journeys and kids will be fine for slightly longer trips. With those seats in place, the boot measures a handy 270 litres, and that swells to a massive 835 litres when theyíre folded away. Pop the middle row down and thereís a van-like 2,005 litres to play with.

How does it drive?

Exactly like the old Kodiaq, which means itís comfortable and refined and sportier than you might think, albeit less agile than you might hope in this SportLine trim. From behind the wheel, itís immediately apparent that SportLine trim is a design-led option, rather than something that makes a massive difference to the way the Kodiaq drives.

Like any other Kodiaq weíve ever driven, the SportLine rolls quite substantially in corners and the steering is a little light and short on feel. Thatís to be expected in a seven-seat family SUV, but in the context of the sporty bodywork, it might be a little disappointing. That said, the grip is plentiful, the response to driver inputs is more than adequate and the car is surprisingly well balanced, which makes it as good as anything in its class if you want to drive quickly. But if you want some true sporting intent from your Kodiaq, the new vRS model is set to be a much more appealing proposition.

And if you want the most comfortable Kodiaq, look elsewhere in the range. Thereís nothing wrong with the SportLineís ride Ė it deals with most bumps very well Ė but thereís something about the way it occasionally thumps into potholes that suggests a smaller wheel may improve the ride quality.

Even in SportLine trim, however, the Kodiaqís myriad qualities are immediately obvious. The ride is a whisker away from brilliance, the body control is solid and the handling is as engaging as customers (as opposed to Car Enthusiasts) are really likely to want. Moreover, the visibility is good and driving in traffic is a doddle, while manoeuvring is easier than you might imagine in such a large car.

Then thereís the engine. Our test car came with the 2.0-litre, 190hp engine, which comes with a seven-speed automatic gearbox as standard. It also comes with Skodaís all-wheel-drive system, which allows the car to send some power to the rear wheels if the front tyres slip. Officially, that motor gives the SportLine a very respectable 7.7-second 0-62mph time and a top speed of 133mph.

To give it itís due, it feels more than powerful enough. The all-wheel-drive system allows the car to accelerate away cleanly Ė even on wet and icy roads Ė and the engine has enough grunt for relatively easy overtaking manoeuvres on country roads. It isnít a rocket ship, but itís plenty fast enough.

Itís also quite refined, and the all-wheel-drive system gives it a modicum of off-road ability. We didnít explore that capability too much during our time with the car, but what little soft-roading we did suggested the Kodiaq could easily cope with anything most customers could throw at it. Driving in the depths of winter also suggested that a dusting of snow wouldnít be an issue for the big Skoda, provided itís fitted with a decent set of tyres.

Thereafter the compliments run dry. We donít really see the point in choosing this engine unless you have a serious (which may or may not be another way of saying Ďpotentially misguidedí) aversion to diesel power. The 190hp engine has a bit of a drinking problem, swilling its way through a gallon of unleaded in less than 35 miles on the official economy test. On a run, you might get something in the high 30s, but around town youíre going to see 20-something on the trip computer.

Our pick would be the 2.0-litre, 150hp diesel version, which is available across the range and is also available with an automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive. Opt for that engine and the Kodiaq promises up to 45.6mpg on the official economy test, and it still has a respectable 0-62mph time. And it costs much the same amount as the 190hp petrol.

If you really must have the more performance, either swallow the fuel bills and opt for the faster, more agile vRS model, or splash out on the other 2.0-litre diesel engine Ė the 200hp one lifted from the Octavia vRS. Fitted with an automatic gearbox and all-wheel-drive as standard, it gets the SportLine from 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds, and itíll return 42.5mpg on the economy test. Itís a really strong engine, that one, but it does cost over £1,000 more than the 190hp petrol.

Verdict

The Skoda Kodiaq is still the family SUV to beat, and though the facelift hasnít added much to an already compelling proposition, it hasnít taken anything away either. But while the Kodiaq overall remains a great package, this SportLine model is far from the best of the bunch.

In a big, soft SUV, surely itís better to forego any pretension of performance and enjoy some more fitting, more refined luxury? By the same token, the 2.0-litre, 190hp petrol engine is painfully thirsty for family duties, and the performance is hardly scintillating. Better to stick with one of the diesels, which can offer similar performance without the hefty fuel bill.


4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Interior Ambience

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Passenger Space

5 5 5 5 5 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Driving Dynamics

3 3 3 3 3 Powertrain


James Fossdyke - 4 Feb 2022



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2022 Skoda Kodiaq SportLine 2.0 TSI 190 DSG 4x4. Image by Skoda.2022 Skoda Kodiaq SportLine 2.0 TSI 190 DSG 4x4. Image by Skoda.2022 Skoda Kodiaq SportLine 2.0 TSI 190 DSG 4x4. Image by Skoda.2022 Skoda Kodiaq SportLine 2.0 TSI 190 DSG 4x4. Image by Skoda.2022 Skoda Kodiaq SportLine 2.0 TSI 190 DSG 4x4. Image by Skoda.

2022 Skoda Kodiaq SportLine 2.0 TSI 190 DSG 4x4. Image by Skoda.2022 Skoda Kodiaq SportLine 2.0 TSI 190 DSG 4x4. Image by Skoda.2022 Skoda Kodiaq SportLine 2.0 TSI 190 DSG 4x4. Image by Skoda.2022 Skoda Kodiaq SportLine 2.0 TSI 190 DSG 4x4. Image by Skoda.2022 Skoda Kodiaq SportLine 2.0 TSI 190 DSG 4x4. Image by Skoda.








 

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