Skoda Kodiaq First Look

We travel to Skoda's head office in the Czech Republic to get an exclusive preview of the eagerly-anticipated Kodiaq 7-seater SUV



Skoda Kodiaq



We are here in Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic, at Skoda's first manufacturing plant. It's for an exclusive preview of the company's brand new SUV, the Skoda Kodiaq, which has been making car buyers even in India sit up and take notice. This is the first time ever that the Kodiaq is shown to the media without any camouflage and in all its glory, and long before it is officially unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show later this year in September. We have to keep in mind that the car we got to see was a preproduction unit and some of the parts, especially in the cabin, were not up to production car quality. What you must also know is that all our camera equipment, including even our cellphones, were sealed so we won't be able to share any images from this exclusive event. 



Skoda Kodiaq



With the Kodiaq the Czech car maker will be catering to the burgeoning SUV market across the globe, a trend which has really picked up momentum in India of late. Heading to our shores towards the end of 2017 (yes, it's still far away) this big SUV will open new avenues for Skoda India and help the company reach out to a new group of car buyers.


The Kodiaq is the first model to feature Skoda's new SUV design language. In fact this is the first modern Skoda to offer seven seats. The design of the production version is very close to the Vision S concept car shown by Skoda earlier. So, there's no trace of the Skoda Yeti's quirky design, which is a good thing as the Kodiaq appears more mature and butch, which should appeal to the vast community of our SUV crazy countrymen. It has good proportions and has that confident stance that give SUVs an edge over similarly priced sedans. 



Skoda Kodiaq



Skoda has intentionally made the Kodiaq not as intimidating as some of the other SUVs, to make its appeal more universal and to fit various buyers’ needs, be it day to day office commutes, family outings, or a leisurely weekend tour. It's a large SUV and stretches to close to 4.7 metres in length, which makes it about 40mm longer than the Octavia. 


For the uninitiated, like the Octavia and Superb the Kodiaq is also based on mother firm Volkswagen's MQB platform, and hence the comparison. At 1,882mm the SUV is rather wide and has a wheelbase of 2,791mm (about 100mm more than the Octavia). With three rows of seating the Skoda Kodiaq SUV should easily accommodate 7 people (unlike the Vision S which was shown as a 6-seater). Also Read: More Details on Skoda Kodiaq



Skoda Kodiaq



The bonnet is pretty high and folds over the side panels, and has a pair of strong creases running from the front Skoda badge and split further apart as they flow towards the windscreen. The grille has 10 pairs of vertical slats and a plastic centre piece which hides the front sensors and a camera. 


Unlike the unusual combination of circular and rectangular headlights on the Yeti, the Kodiaq get sleeker headlights which resemble the Skoda Superb. You get the option of LED head- and tail-lights and both have a hint of Skoda's newfound liking of crystal-like effects. After all, the Czech Republic is renowned for its crystal artworks. 



Skoda Kodiaq


The side has one prominent line running from the bonnet to the tail-lights. The sharp propeller type 20-inch alloy wheels and low profile (235/45 20) tyres enhance the appeal of the Kodiaq but we feel that India might get smaller 18- or 19-inch wheels with less appealing alloys. 


Pop open the door and you'll notice a new dashboard design, touchscreen infotainment system, and the kind of craftsmanship you'd expect from a car priced around Rs 27 lakh. The front doors have a slot with an umbrella in it for rainy days. Not surprisingly, the cabin is roomy, looks comfortable and attention to detail is good. There are some plastic parts in the lower part of the cabin which were not up to the mark but, hopefully, these will be ironed out in the production version of the car.



Skoda Kodiaq



Since the Kodiaq is so tall getting in and out of the SUV is pretty comfortable. The luggage or boot space is really impressive and appears to be one of the largest in the segment. The 7-seater with all the seats up offers 270-litres of storage; with the third row folded you get 630-litres and with both the second and third row toppled down it carves out a neat 2005-litres! 


The front seats offer good support and the large glass area give adequate visibility. The second row have reclining back rests and there’s no shortage of space here either. But what Skoda will struggle at with regards to the competition is the third row seating space and comfort. There’s hardly any under thigh support, not enough knee or head room, and the floor is too high for comfort. This row is best suited for shorter journeys or for small children.  



Skoda Kodiaq



Plenty of smart engineering adds to the character of the Skoda Kodiaq. Thirty, to be precise, with six all-new features in this segment. Like the door edge protection that prevents the front and rear doors from being damaged in congested car parking lots. Other notable new features include electric door child safety and cosy head rests in the Sleep Comfort package that slide out for added comfort. 


Other features that we've seen before but remain useful nonetheless include opening or closing of the trunk lid by just sliding your foot under the rear of the car (provided you have the car's key with you). What I liked a lot is the detachable lamp from the car's boot which can be useful if you have flat tyre after sunset. Talking about tyre punctures, the seven seater also comes with a space saver spare wheel. 



Skoda Kodiaq


There's technology overlaid with features, like in-car WiFi and SmartLink system with everything you can ask for including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and even MirrorLink. If your smartphone has the option then you can also use the PhoneBox which charges phones wirelessly. 


In case the car breaks down Kodiaq owners can use the inbuilt Care Connect to avail emergency assistance and Skoda executives can even help you check and configure your SUV using the internet via the Skoda Connect app. And if, God forbid, there is an accident and the airbag is deployed, the Skoda Service Centre gets notified automatically. 



Skoda Kodiaq



Since the Kodiaq was only for display and we didn't get a chance to drive it, we don't know how it will perform as yet. But internationally, the Skoda Kodiaq will come with petrol and diesel engine options:

- Petrol 1.4-litre TSI producing 125PS and 200Nm with front wheel drive (FWD) and 6-speed manual gearbox. 

- Petrol 1.4-litre TSI producing 150PS and 250 Nm with option of FWD and 4x4 with DSG gearbox. 

- Petrol 2.0-litre TSI producing 180PS AND 320 Nm with 4x4 and DSG gearbox.

- Diesel 2.0-litre TDI producing 150PS and 340Nm with option of FWD and 4x4, and 6-speed manual or DSG gearbox.

- Diesel 2.0-litre TDI producing 190PS and 400Nm with 4x4 and DSG gearbox. 


Yes, there will be various driving modes to configure the car according to your mood, while the optional Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) will enhance the Kodiaq's abilities further. Skoda has clearly stated that the Kodiaq is not being positioned as a hardcore off-roader but it does have an Off-Road button if you do decide to set off on a relatively mild adventure. At the touch of a button the Kodiaq can be set up from a city commuter to a fairly capable adventure machine. 



Skoda Kodiaq



Since we've driven the Skoda Yeti in Leh and have experienced it first-hand we can safely say that the new Kodiaq will be even better, with its modern engineering and a new multi clutch 4x4 system. Things like good approach and departure angles, along with high ground clearance of 194mm, will make the Skoda comfortable even on bad and broken roads. It'll be interesting to pit it against its rivals like the Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Endeavour, and the upcoming Toyota Fortuner. That'll be one face-off you wouldn't want to miss.


Finally then, is the Skoda Kodiaq worth waiting for? From the looks of things, yes, especially if you appreciate European quality and ride quality. Remember, it's neither a proper off roader nor are the third row seats the most comfortable, but the Kodiaq looks like a very premium SUV, has some noteworthy features, and is quite a lot of car for the money.