After months of teaser images, Skoda has revealed its Kodiaq SUV in full, giving Skoda its first seven-seat model and finally giving the brand a model to compete in the segment above its popular Yeti.
The Czech firm has also confirmed UK pricing for the car, which will start from £21,495 when it becomes available to order in November. Deliveries begin in April 2017.
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Where the original Yeti majored on quirky styling and chunky usability (with an entertaining chassis thrown in for free) the Kodiaq (named after a species of bear) is a more sophisticated product.
For some, that could imply boredom, but for others the sharp details and handsome lines are arguably more attractive than those of fellow Volkswagen Group offerings from Audi and VW itself. There is a striking similarity to the SEAT Ateca we drove in recent months, though with a seven-seat option the Skoda is the larger car - it measures 4.7 metres, to the SEAT’s 4.36m. It’s suprisingly light for its size, with a basic kerb weight of 1452kg.
There are five powertrains available at launch across four trim lines, S, SE, SE L and Edition. Three of the power units are petrol, with outputs of 123bhp, 148bhp (1.4) and 187bhp (2.0), with two 2.0 TDI diesels making up the remainder, offering 148bhp and 187bhp - much as they do across the VW Group empire. A third, entry-level diesel will join later on, producing 113bhp.
For the first time there’s a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission available in a Skoda, standard on the top diesel and petrol models, as is all-wheel drive. The 148bhp 1.4 TSI uses the old six-speed DSG (with all-wheel drive), or a six-speed manual with only the front wheels driven.
The lower-output diesel gets the seven-speeder or six-speed manual with optional AWD, or the seven-speed ‘box with front-drive alone. Finally, the basic 1.4 TSI is solely available with front-drive and the 6-speed manual.
Still with us? Based on the MQB platform (hence the familiar engines, gearboxes and driven wheels), Kodiaqs get MacPherson struts up front and a four-link rear axle. 17in wheels are standard on S and SE models, SE L moves up to 18” rims, and 19” are optional - while 20” should be a dealer-fit accessory.
And like other MQB cars, the group’s XDS+ differential lock is available whether the front or all four wheels are being driven. An off-road mode adjusts the traction control and braking functions for low traction scenarios.
When it comes to trim, S models kick off the range and pack LED daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, a leather multifunction steering wheel and air conditioning into their specification lists, along with a touchscreen infotainment system with DAB. For the time being it's only available with the basic 1.4-litre petrol engine, though the entry-level diesel will join later.
SE models - starting at £22,945 with the 1.4 TSI and available with the 148bhp 1.4 petrol and 2.0-litre diesels - add 18-inch alloys, cruise control, climate control, rear parking sensors and for £1000, another pair of seats. SE L (with the top 2-litre petrol and 187bhp TDI, from £28,595) adds another inch to the diameter of the wheels, navigation, Wifi, Alcantara trim and full LED headlights.
The £30,695 Edition models stay with 19in alloys but also get seven seats, metallic paint and leather trim as standard, as well as a suite of safety features such as Lane Assist, High Beam Assist and Blind spot detection.
One area in which the new car should score highly is its cabin. Less sporty than the smaller SEAT Ateca it’s also more interesting than most other Skodas, with chunky dashboard architecture that places the central touchscreen higher in the driver’s line of sight with vents either side. Switchgear and materials are much as you’d find in models like the Superb.