There’s no doubt about it, after more than half-a-year on the fleet, the Skoda Kodiaq has proved itself as one of the very best family cars on sale. Not only is it large and flexible enough to compete with rivals like the Nissan X-Trail, but it feels upmarket, and for the most part, itís very good to drive.
The Skodaís 2.0-litre TDI engine with 148bhp on tap will be familiar to many owners of Volkswagen Group models, and itís smooth and quiet here, especially once up to speed. The sheer size of the Kodiaq can make it feel a little laboured off the mark, though, so I reckon the 188bhp version is a worthwhile upgrade if your budget can stretch to it. Alternatively, you could stick with the manual gearbox, because while the DSG automatic is excellent on A-roads and the motorway, it could take a while to find the right gear in town. This gearbox has also been criticised in the past in other cars for being a bit jerky when parking, and sadly itís no different in the Kodiaq. Fuel consumption of 40.4mpg is some way off the claimed 49.6mpg, but not bad at all considering the Kodiaq was driven almost exclusively on hilly country roads. It also consumed around £35 of AdBlue in just under 14,000 miles.
Given its size, though, the Kodiaq impressed on the move. There were some ëbreathe iní moments while threading it along narrow B-roads, but wider, flowing A-routes give the Kodiaq more space and suit its long wheelbase. The chassis provides a feeling of immense stability, and when you do enter a corner or roundabout, it leans slightly, squatting on its big 19-inch wheels and tyres, and then providing lots of bite. It was similarly at home on the motorway, where it soothed away the miles. Its active cruise control also came into its own, and its ability to accelerate and brake to a standstill in traffic proved a handy and novel feature. Skoda hasnít quite perfected it yet ñ it is somewhat jerky and I couldnít help but hover my foot near the brake pedal ñ but it can noticeably reduce fatigue on long trips when thereís lots of congestion.
Passengers will be just as happy as the driver, with loads of space in the first and second rows to stretch out. Itís an attractive interior too, with the mixture of leather and suede upholstery in our SE L trimmed Kodiaq proving cool and comfortable in the summer. The Columbus infotainment system is one of the best around, with clear graphics and maps. Its glass screen looks great, but itís a fingerprint magnet, so I resorted to carrying a cloth in the upper glovebox to wipe them. It also lost the saved station presets a few times, but this is a minor gripe and could probably be sorted by a software update.
Not only is the boot vast, but the third row of seats are easy to pop up and down, and the powered tailgate functioned quickly and flawlessly. Speaking of the third row, itís fine for kids, but the occasional adult passenger told me they wouldnít want to travel too far. The Kodiaq also proves itís big and clever, with lots of neat touches, like an LED boot light that doubles as a rechargeable torch, an ice scraper in the fuel filler door and high-visibility vests under the seats. But, by far my favourite was the matching Skoda umbrellas that live in a void in the front doors. With Britainís lottery-style weather, they saved me on quite a few occasions and I even managed not to lose them.
Iím happy to report we didnít experience any major faults, which is good news. However, in a moment of weakness, I did take the Kodiaq through an automatic car wash, and its roller plucked the rear windscreen wiper blade clean off. I thought Iíd be able to pop it back on, but as it had in fact snapped the plastic clip, this wasnít possible. Exactly the same happened to our SEAT Leon ST, so it seems to be a minor weakness, and therefore it might be worth seeking out hand car washes if you own a related model.
Date Arrived 15th January 2018
Economy (urban/extra urban/combined) 41.5/54.3/49.6mpg
Economy (on test) | 40.4mpg
Apart from a weak wiper blade, our Kodiaq has been trouble-free.
The DSG gearbox is great above 30mph, but sluggish in town.