Skoda has become a go-to name if you want spacious, good-value and cleverly thought-out family transport, so it’s about time that there was a seven-seat option in the range. And here it is. The Skoda Kodiaq falls firmly into the SUV bracket, with its bulky but precisely creased lines and lofty ride height, and the option of five- or seven-seats. It goes head-to-head with rivals like the Peugeot 5008, Nissan X-Trail and Kia Sorento, and it promises to put up a stiff fight given that it’s brimming with Skoda’s trademark roomy usefulness, and is great value however you’re buying. There’s also a better variety of petrol and diesel engines than is offered in any rival, which should mean that there’s a model to suit everyone.
|Body Style: 5 door SUV||Seats: 5/7||MRP from £22,190-£36,135|
Did you know? SE Tech is a fleet-focused trim line so you may find better finance deals on regular SE or the pricier SE-L versions.
The Skoda Kodiaq is hard to fault as a family car. It’s huge, great value and feels solidly built throughout. It even has neat tricks, like umbrellas in the doors, to go a bit further on the usefulness front than merely being big. If there is any significant criticism, it’s that it could be better to drive. Ride comfort is lumpy around town, and the diesels are quite grumbly-sounding most of the time.
Even so, the Kodiaq is fit for purpose in the way it drives, and betters all of its key rivals on practicality and cost, plus it’s got masses of standard kit to keep you comfortable, entertained and safe. If you’re after a great all-round seven seat SUV at a good price – whether you’re buying outright, on finance or as a company car user - the Skoda Kodiaq should be your first stop.
Spacious and versatile cabin
Plentiful standard kit and sensible pricing
Broad range of engine options
We Don't Like
Dull to drive
Fuel economy isn't great on some models
The Kodiaq is nearly 4.7-metres long, which puts it firmly into the ‘really big’ category of SUV. Still, it’s a clean-looking car, particularly at the front, where you can appreciate the angular headlights and precisely creased lines. It looks a bit more awkward from the back, but certainly the Kodiaq is at worst just inoffensive-looking, and at best is really quite handsome.
All models get alloy wheels, body-coloured door handles and bumpers, contrast roof rails, a hidden exhaust (that’s tucked up beneath the rear bumper), and smart-looking LED daytime running lights, so even if you go for the cheapest S trim, the Kodiaq is still going to look pretty good. Stepping up the range just get more chrome, bigger alloy wheels in snazzier designs, and – if you go for SE L or above – full LED headlights.
This is the reason you buy a Kodiaq. There’s masses of room up front for even the leggiest of drivers to find a natural-feeling seating position in the height-adjustable seats, although adding the very affordable optional lumbar adjustment is a must if you’re going for the S or SE trims that don’t get it as standard.
Those in the middle row get a bench seat that splits and slides in a 60/40 arrangement and has an adjustable seat back angle. Sure, you don’t get three individually adjustable seats as you do with a Peugeot 5008, but with the amount of space and adjustability on offer you’ll still be able to carry three adults, or two child seats (there are two Isofix mounting points in the middle row, but weirdly you have to pay £40 to add Isofix to the front passenger seat) and a third passenger with relative ease.
Adults will be fine in the rearmost ‘occasional’ seats for short journeys, but they’re best reserved for kids since the floor is quite raised and forces adult legs into an uncomfortable knees-raised position.
If you go for the five-seat Kodiaq, behind that middle row is a cavernous boot of 720 litres – way bigger than the 550 litres you find in the Nissan X-Trail, for instance. Going for the seven seats is a no-brainer, though, since it adds so much added usefulness for those weekends with the grandparents in tow, and it doesn’t eat into the boot space very much when the two occasional seats are folded into the floor. Even with all seven seats in use, there’s still room to get a lightweight buggy or a few shopping bags into the boot space that’s left. Only a Peugeot 5008 rivals the Skoda for outright cabin versatility and roominess in this class.
The convenient variable boot floor is optional in the five-seat model (standard on seven-seat Kodiaqs), and levers in the boot to drop the rear seats from the back of the car are optional on every model. Otherwise you have to drop the seats from the side doors to enjoy the smooth, extended load bay that’ll do a full-on Ikea trip no worries.
There are loads of cubbies everywhere, from a sunglasses holder in the roof above the driver, to the spacious door pockets, glovebox and central cubby. You can add even more storage space with optional hidden drawers beneath the front seats for a small extra cost on S or SE (they’re standard above that). You have to go for SE trim to get a central rear armrest with cupholders.
Essentially, every spare inch of space is useful in the Kodiaq, no matter how insignificant it seems. There’s even an ice scraper hidden in the fuel cap, and – if you go for SE or above – an umbrella in each front door. Clever, and endlessly useful.
The dash is straightforward and hardly the most aesthetically interesting, but it looks clean and is easy to use. Going for full-fat SE L steps up the overall ambience considerably with Alcantara seats and piano black inserts around the cabin. Adding the panoramic glass sunroof is expensive but makes the Kodiaq feel much brighter and classier inside.
Even the cheapest Kodiaq gets a 6.5in colour touchscreen with Bluetooth, USB input, DAB radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Mid-spec SE trim gets an 8-inch screen and more speakers, while SE L goes even further with a 9.2-inch screen, standard sat-nav and integrated wi-fi.
The touchscreen is definitely better all-round in the 8- or 9.2-inch setup since the icons are bigger and easier to punch precisely when you’re on the move, and the graphics are better, too. Still, even the smallest screen is fairly easy to use and has logical menu layouts.
Adding sat-nav to SE trim is a bit pricey but is worth it for the convenience and to protect your resale values, and gets you all the entertainment and communication functions you could want.
There’s not really anything wrong with the way the Kodiaq drives, but there’s nothing particularly memorable or exciting about it, either.
The only significant flaw is that the ride comfort is quite knobbly at low speeds. Hit a pothole or broken piece of Tarmac and the Kodiaq thumps and heaves, and takes a few moments to regain its composure. For all the occasional uncouth bump and shiver around town, the Kodiaq does settle down into a relaxed cruiser at high speeds, and it’s rarely uncomfortable enough to bother you – even if it’s also not the most comfortable car in the class (a Hyundai Santa Fe is about the comfiest budget seven-seat SUV).
Go for SE trim or above and you get variable drive modes that alter the steering weight and throttle response, and automatic gearbox and Dynamic Chassis Control (adaptive dampers by a posh name), if you’ve added it. We’d avoid adding the latter, since it’s pricey and doesn’t really iron out the existing problems in the Kodiaq’s repertoire – it’s still not that smooth over urban stuff, and there’s still lots of body lean in corners, too, despite the adjustable dampers.
Honestly, it’s best left in standard mode, when you can enjoy the predictable, well-weighted steering and plentiful grip that makes this feel like an endlessly stable if uninspiring car.
Gallery: Skoda Kodiaq UK review
Those grip levels are there whether you go for two- or four-wheel drive, so we’d only go for a 4x4 model if you regularly do heavy-duty towing or tackle quite severe condition – otherwise, even trickier everyday road conditions are dealt with easily with the front-wheel drive models.
Engine options include a 1.4-litre petrol in two power outputs, and a 2.0-litre diesel – also in two power outputs. We haven’t driven the entry-level petrol, but we’d hazard a guess that the higher-powered engine will be the better option in such a big car.
It’s a great engine, the 148bhp 1.4 – it can switch off two of its cylinders when they’re not needed, saving you fuel, plus it’s quiet, smooth revving and has plenty of mid-range urgency to keep you happy in fast-moving traffic or for the odd overtake. Mated to the seven-speed dual-clutch auto it’s a particularly slick, easy-going daily driver, but the clean-shifting manual is a great option, too, if you’re not in traffic all the time.
The 2.0-litre diesel is available in 188bhp, but only in top-spec SE L trim which makes it very expensive. The 148bhp is a good motor that’s a bit noisy when you accelerate but quiets down when you’re just cruising about, and does exactly what you need it to the rest of the time. It’s not fast or exciting, but it does the job in a very effective way.
Anything but the base petrol engine in the Kodiaq range can tow 2,000kg max, or going for the DSG auto ‘box on the 4x4 diesel ups that to 2,300kg.
Recommended engine: 1.4 TSI 150 DSG 2WD
Every Kodiaq gets a full suite of electronic traction and stability aids, seven airbags including a driver’s knee airbag (it costs nearly £500 to add rear side airbags, though), and automatic emergency braking at city speeds – where the car will brake itself if it senses an imminent collision with a car or pedestrian.
Adding optional adaptive cruise means the car will keep its distance from the car in front when cruise is activated, and will even bring the car to a halt from high speeds.
Rear parking sensors are standard on SE an up, but you can add front sensors, a rear view camera and even an automatic parking system where the car steers itself into a space.
It’s a really cheap option to have the relevant speed limit shown on the dash, but disappointingly it’s only offered on SE L, even though some rivals offer it as standard or on every model. Blind spot and lane assist warning systems are optional across the range, as is a very affordable driver fatigue alert system.
An alarm is standard across the range, as is a tyre repair kit, although you can add a space saver tyre on five-seat models.
Standard colours are navy blue or white – the latter of which looks great, and is a safe bet for being easy to sell on. The range of eight metallic paints costs around £500 and is more colourful than you might expect, although it still majors on greys and silvers. Capuccino Beige metallic has a terrible name but actually looks really good – or bright silver is always a safe option.
There are three trim levels in the Kodiaq lineup – S, SE and SE L. Avoid S trim – it misses out on some basics, like a rear central armrest and the bigger colour touchscreen and it’s only available with five seats and in the entry-level petrol engine.
Go for SE; it gets masses of stuff as standard including all of the aforementioned infotainment stuff (see Technology and Connectivity), 18-inch alloys, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, auto lights and wipers. Options to add are the £40 front Isofix mounts, and the 8-inch screen with sat-nav. Heated seats and windscreen are a bit pricey, but worthwhile if winter seems almost perennial in your area, or if you’re more about enjoying the weather rather than fighting it off, the panoramic glass sunroof really ups the interior feel in the Kodiaq.
SE Tech is a trim aimed squarely at company car users, and if you’re one of that proud bunch, then go for it. It’s got everything that SE does, only with sat-nav as standard, and you can only get it with the 2.0 TDI 150 diesels. If you’re a private buyer, this is also the best value trim given the spec, but you may have to buy it outright to get this spec as a retail customer. Skoda often won’t offer retail finance on SE Tech models as it’s really a designated company car spec, so you’ll get better finance costs by settling for standard SE and adding nav as an option.
SE L is the full-fat, luxury spec, and it’s worth considering if you like your comforts. It’s about £2k more than a comparable SE, but it does get big screen and nav system as standard, plus lots of extras like alcantara seats, LED headlights, heated seats, keyless entry and a powered bootlid. It’s expensive, but it does justify the cost with its high-end finish. You’ll still have to pay extra for the glass roof, though.
Size and Dimensions
2,087mm (including door mirrors)
Max towing weight without brake
The Kodiaq is certainly cheap to buy, and yet re-sale values are predicted to be quite strong, so you’ll lose less value on depreciation when you come to sell on or trade in than you will with pretty much any rival.
The Kodiaq is also very competitive for government claimed economy, although the reality is that it will be quite a way off the claimed figures. We’ve done many thousands of miles in a 2.0 TDI 4x4 DSG model and tend to return around 34mpg in varied use. Not bad for a big, four-wheel-drive vehicle, but also not the best.
The 1.4 TSI 150 isn’t going to be any better than that, but we’d be surprised if it dropped below 30mpg as an overall average.
Insurance costs will be a bit lower, or on a par, with most rivals.
Reliability and Servicing
It’s tricky to comment on reliability given that the Kodiaq hasn’t been out long, but Skoda has a very good reputation overall for reliability. It is, of course, part of the Volkswagen Group, which means that parts tend to be affordable since they’re produced in such large numbers for fitment to so many different vehicles.
Every Kodiaq comes with a 60,000 mile, three-year warranty, which is industry standard but is also quite a bit worse than the five-year or seven-year warranty offered on the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento respectively. You can extend the warranty on the Skoda up to four years and 80,000 miles (£300) or five years and 100,000 miles (£600).
As with most modern cars, you get a warning on the dash when a service is due, or if you do a lot of short journeys then Skoda recommends getting the car serviced every 10,000 miles (intervals will be bigger if you drive longer miles regularly).
Fixed price servicing deals are offered, and are very competitively priced and can be spread out into monthly payments. You also get three years, unlimited mileage European roadside assistance with every new Skoda.
12 months/10,000 miles
24 months/20,000 miles
The Skoda is priced very competitively, not least because it has a much broader range of engines than its more diesel-centric rivals. It’s the best value way into a big seven-seat SUV, whether you’re buying outright up front, paying in monthly instalments, or looking to run it as a company car (tax payments will be low provided you stick to the 2.0 TDI 150 engine in SE Tech spec).
The only downside is that demand is fairly high for the Kodiaq, so you won’t get big discounts like you will on some of its rivals.
Avoid the high-end launch edition trims, though, as they’re really expensive and will lose value quickly. Go for a mid-spec model with a few key options added and you’re on to a winner however you’re buying.
Go for SE L, which comes with the biggest touchscreen on offer as well as wi-fi features.
SE is still the best bet – ideally the 1.4 TSI 150 DSG model for private buyers, or the 2.0 TDI 150 for company car users.
SE L again, and still avoid the 2.0 TDI 190 as it’s just not worth the extra cost. Stick to the 1.4 TSI 150 or 2.0 TDI 150, and add the panoramic glass roof.
Not as sharp to look at, nor quite as spacious, but worth considering if you can haggle a deal, as it’s a good all-rounder.
|The plug-in hybrid is worth considering for company car buyers, but otherwise it's tricky to recommend given the competition.|
It's not an SUV but it's still a stylish way of carrying seven people in decent comfort.
Actually a bit more spacious in the third row, but its engine options are limited to a 2.2-litre diesel.