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First drive: 2024 Skoda Kodiaq. Image by Skoda.

First drive: 2024 Skoda Kodiaq
Despite changing pretty much everything, Skoda has managed to keep the Kodiaq at the top of its game.

   



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2024 Skoda Kodiaq

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Skoda has taken a bit of a risk with the new Kodiaq, which has been completely overhauled. New bodywork, new engines and new interior tech are all in there, and Skoda claims it's more spacious, more efficient and more connected than before. The question is, will it also prove more appealing than its predecessor?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2024 Skoda Kodiaq SE L 2.0 TDI 193 DSG 4x4
Price: Kodiaq from £36,645, SE L 2.0 TDI 193 DSG 4x4 from £46,225
Motors: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged diesel
Transmission: seven-speed twin-clutch automatic, all-wheel drive
Power: 193hp
Torque: 400Nm
Emissions: 165-172g/km
Economy: 44.1mpg
0-62mph: 7.8 seconds
Top speed: 134mph
Boot space: 340-845-2,035 litres

Styling

Skoda has changed pretty much everything about the Kodiaq, from the new roof design to the fresh tailgate and from the modified nose to the updated wheel designs. Yet somehow, it's still recognisably a Kodiaq. It's apparently more aerodynamic than before, which is supposedly good news for fuel economy, but we aren't convinced it's as handsome as its predecessor. Somehow it looks a bit more chunky and lumpy, but not in a good way. Still, it isn't quite into the bounds of ugliness yet, so we'll give it a pass for now.

Interior

Skoda has completely overhauled the Kodiaq's cabin, too, taking inspiration from the Superb launched earlier this year. That means there's a massive 13-inch touchscreen in the middle of the dash offering all manner of clever functions, but hiding them in some awkward places. However, Skoda hasn't fallen into the trap of simply shoving everything into the screen, and you still get physical switchgear lower down. The three rotary controls have multiple functions that you switch between by pressing them, allowing the two outer controls to take over the heating and heated seats, while the central dial can control fan speed, drive modes and even navigation system zoom.

An even better idea than those so-called Smart Dials is the decision to move the gear selector to the steering column. Admittedly, it takes a bit of getting used to, but once you've got the hang of it it's fairly intuitive and it frees up a huge amount of space in the centre console for storage. Just in case the two gloveboxes weren't enough.

But while practicality remains a key theme for the Skoda, so too is build quality. The materials feel premium, even though some of them are made with more sustainable materials than before, and everything slots together neatly. It all feels like a properly made bit of kit.

Practicality

When it comes to family SUVs, practicality is a key consideration, and Skoda is all too aware of that. Which is why the new Kodiaq is a little more spacious than its predecessor, with seven-seat versions offering an extra 15mm of headroom for those in the third row and a bigger boot than before. That means even with all seven seats upright, our test car came with a 340-litre boot, which is broadly the same size as that of a Seat Ibiza. Folding the rearmost seats down, however, freed up a huge 845-litre space, and folding the middle row increased that to more than 2,000 litres. That's cavernous.

The other advantage of all that interior space is that the Kodiaq has plenty of passenger space. Obviously, those in the front are well catered for, but there's ample space in the second row and third-row space is just about acceptable for adults on a short trip, although taller passengers might struggle to get in or to stay in for very long.

And Skoda also knows there's more to practicality than space, which is why the brand's Simply Clever features can be found all over the shop. You can have umbrellas in the doors, an ice scraper in the fuel filler cap and even little funnels built into the screenwash bottle cap so you don't spill things all over the engine. And they're all made with more sustainable materials than ever.

Performance

The Kodiaq engine range comprises a choice of petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid powertrains, but what you choose will have some impact on which version of the car you can have. Opt for a diesel, for example, and you get a choice of five or seven seats, but if you get a plug-in hybrid you'll have to make do with five.

That 1.5-litre plug-in hybrid is an intriguing option, thanks to its 25.7kWh battery that gives you a real-world range of around 40 miles on a charge, but the diesels make the most sense in our book. You can choose whether you have the 2.0-litre, 150hp engine with front-wheel drive or the 2.0-litre, 193hp engine with all-wheel drive, but both come with a seven-speed automatic gearbox as standard.

We sampled both, and they're both perfectly adequate, but the 193hp option provides a little more oomph for towing and off-roading, as well as the added traction of all-wheel drive. It's surprisingly smooth for a 2.0-litre diesel, too, and it doesn't make much more noise than the 1.5-litre mild-hybrid petrol that's offered as standard. It is, however, more economical, offering well over 40mpg without trying, while the front-wheel-drive version claims more than 50mpg on the official economy test.

Ride & Handling

Although Skoda has changed a lot about the Kodiaq, the driving experience has remained much as it always was. The ride is supple without being pillowy, so while it's very comfortable at speed or on motorways, the ride is a little less unadulterated at lower speeds, where some bumps permeate. But overall, it feels nice and smooth, with none of the imperfections causing too harsh a jarring effect in the cabin.

Unsurprisingly, the Kodiaq isn't what you'd call engaging for the driver, with quite numb and slightly light steering for our taste, but that just makes it easier to manoeuvre in town. Body roll is surprisingly well controlled, so there isn't too much lean in corners and the car feels quite stable, but it isn't sporty in any way.

It is quite refined, though, isolating those inside from the engine and the outside world with aplomb, making the whole thing feel relaxing and easy to live with.

Value

The Kodiaq may feel more premium than before, but then it comes with a premium price tag. Base models start at £36,645, which is more than you'll pay for an entry level Nissan X-Trail, and that's just for a basic SE-trim car with five seats and a petrol engine. Our high-end diesel test car came in at more than £46,000 before options, and that makes it a pretty costly thing. Even if it is very impressively equipped, with three-zone climate control, heated front seats and a reversing camera as standard, not to mention the digital instrument display, 13-inch navigation system and 19-inch alloy wheels.

Verdict

The new Kodiaq has hardly surprised us, but donít confuse that for criticism. This is still the fabulous family car it always was, except it now feels more modern inside and comes with some clever new tech. It isnít perfect ó we still arenít convinced by the looks or the touchscreen ó but itíll still be a fantastic car to live with and to own.



James Fossdyke - 16 Apr 2024



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2024 Skoda Kodiaq. Image by Skoda.2024 Skoda Kodiaq. Image by Skoda.2024 Skoda Kodiaq. Image by Skoda.2024 Skoda Kodiaq. Image by Skoda.2024 Skoda Kodiaq. Image by Skoda.








 

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