SKODA claimed a rare spot in the motoring-world limelight yesterday with its eagerly awaited big-SUV debut in Berlin.
The seven-seat Kodiaq signals the Czech automaker’s push into the large-SUV market “to win over new customers” and, if initial reports on pricing are anything to go by, it’s pretty serious.
While there’s no official word on pricing, UK motoring site AutoCar reckons the entry-level Skoda Kodiaq will cost a very competitive £22,500 ($39,500) when it hits British showrooms, which is cheaper than all its rivals there including the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorrento.
Price won’t be the only attraction. Skoda claims the 4.7m long Kodiaq has the biggest boot space in its class – 720 litres with the sixth and seventh seat folded into the floor. Fold down the middle row and you have a van-like capacity of 2065 litres. With an optional flat-folding front seat installed this can be further extended to carry items up to 2.8-metres long.
The Kodiaq holds its own in the aesthetic stakes. It looks at home in town and the bush with a stately grille and narrow headlights that lead back to contoured surfaces including a recessed shoulder line along its entire length and rear.
Utilising parent company Volkswagen Group’s modular engine platform, it comes with a choice of five engine choices – 2x TDI, 3x TSI with capacities of 1.4 and 2.0 litres – with power output ranging from 125 PS (92 kW) to 190 PS (140 kW). All engines come with auto stop-start system, brake energy recovery and a thermo-management system to improve efficiency.
There will also be a choice of 6-speed manual transmission, 6- and 7-speed direct shift auto transmissions (DSG) and front or all-wheel-drive (AWD).
The all-wheel drive system with electronic control is available for most engine variants and features an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch, which calculates the ideal driving torque for the rear axle to maintain traction on all road conditions.
The driver can select Normal, Eco, Sport or Individual setups while the AWD models come with a snow mode for slippery road conditions and an off-road mode to better suit rough terrain.
The Kodiak’s towing capacity is a handy 2500kg with a tow assist package available.
Inside, there’s a 6.5-inch touchscreen that can be upgraded to an 8-inch Bolero high-definition screen. Both combine infotainment and Care Connect which feature Google mapping and information services including live traffic, system monitoring and an emergency call function which sends a message to rescue services when the airbags are deployed. It also works with the Skoda Connect and Smart Link apps for remote monitoring and access to infotainment services via Apple Car Play and Android Auto.