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2017 Kodiaq vs Endeavour vs Tiguan comparison

27th Nov 2017 5:46 pm

The luxury SUV segment just got bigger with the launch of the Skoda Kodiaq. But is it good enough to take on the rest?

With the demand for SUVs on the rise, it's not surprising to see manufacturers rolling out models in rapid succession. The latest one to be bitten by the bug is Skoda. The Czech carmaker, predominantly known for its comfy and large sedans, launched a new SUV after a long time. It's got all the right ingredients with four-wheel drive, seven seats and a diesel engine. Priced at Rs 36 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), its closest competition is, err, pretty far. One of them is the hardcore frame-based Ford Endeavour, which has time and again established itself as the current segment-best. It's big, comfy and has an elaborate skill set when it comes to tackling rough stuff. The Kodiaq’s other competitor is its cousin from Volkswagen, the monocoque-bodied Tiguan, which may not be comparable in size and off-road prowess, but has enough space and practicality on the inside with compact dimensions on the outside. Now, while this might look like a motley crew, all of the three SUVs are so closely matched that they can easily put the prospective buyer in a dilemma. Our not-so-easy job here is to narrow it down to one, and for that, we find out which SUV offers the perfect balance of luxury and off-road skills in a sort of 80:20 ratio.

What are they like inside?
Get in the Kodiaq and it's apparent that Skoda has really put the ‘luxury’ in its first luxury SUV. The ambience of the cabin is plush and there is an expensive feel to everything. The dashboard has a simple but subtle layout and is dominated by the large touchscreen in the centre. On either side of the screen is a slab of trim that also incorporates classy looking vertically aligned AC vents. As ever with Skoda, the seats are comfy and spacious enough for large-sized adults and cushioning too is on the right side of firm, so even long hours in the car won’t be a problem.

Dimensions
Skoda Kodiaq Style TDI ATVolkswagen Tiguan Highline TDI ATFord Endeavour 3.2 Titanium
Length4697mm4486mm4893mm
Width1882mm1839mm1862mm
Height1676mm1672mm1837mm
Turning circle12.2m11.5m11.7m
Boot space270 litres615 litresNA

In the back, getting in and out is a breeze as the seats are at a decent height. Once settled in, it is comfortable and the sense of space is excellent. The bright upholstery along with the brilliant panoramic sunroof, and ample legroom and headroom make the rear cabin experience all but unforgettable. You also get AC vents for the middle row. However, they protrude and so middle passengers are not going to be as comfortable. The last row in the Kodiaq is best used by children, as space is limited and the knees-up seating position can get tiring on long trips. However, the second row slides forward, and this frees up more legroom here.

The layout of the VW Tiguan is clean and sharp with all-black interiors and tastefully incorporated silver accents. The attention to detail is impressive and like the Kodiaq, the buttons and knobs feel upmarket. The seats, however, are a tad firm and the bolstering for the thighs feels uncomfortable after a while. Also, the driving position is very car-like but without any compromise on outside visibility. In the back, there is a good amount of legroom and headroom, but even though there is a panoramic sunroof, the dark interiors rob the sense of space. Also, being a five-seater, the VW Tiguan misses out on that all-important third-row flexibility.

Get in the Ford Endeavour, or rather climb up into it and you'll almost immediately get used to the high seating position. And while sitting high up, towering over all the other cars gives you a good amount of confidence, it's the interiors that add to the Endy's appeal. Yes, everything here is big – the touchscreen, the AC vents, the centre console and the panoramic sunroof. The quality of materials used is nearly as good as its European rivals, and that is saying something. The dual-tone double-stitched leather on the dash, the brushed aluminium AC vents, the beige upholstery, all combined make the Endy feel expensive and luxurious. The seats too are comfortable and well cushioned. In the back too there is plenty of legroom and space for three large adults. The windows do well to enhance the airiness of the cabin, and the third row, unlike in the Kodiaq, is a bit more practical and spacious. Still, doing long hours is not comfortable as there is a bit of space crunch.

Which one offers the most features?
All three cars are absolutely brimmed with equipment. Starting with the Skoda Kodiaq, you get full LED headlamps and tail-lamps with DRLs, automatic parking, driver fatigue alert, cruise control, off-road modes, electrically adjustable front seats with memory function and ventilation, three-zone climate control, tyre pressure monitoring system, neck support for the middle passengers and also two umbrellas in the doors. For safety, you have a class-best, nine airbags, ABS with ESP, hill hold control, parking sensors in the front and the back and Isofix mounts for child seats.

On the VW Tiguan, you get full LED automatic headlamps, automatic boot opening, off-road modes, heated front seats which are electrically adjustable as well, hill hold, three-zone climate control and for safety, six airbags, Isofix mounts, ABS with EBD and ESP amongst others.

Equipment
Skoda Kodiaq Style TDI ATVolkswagen Tiguan Highline TDI ATFord Endeavour 3.2 Titanium
Panoramic sunroofYesYesYes
Ventilated seatsNoHeated onlyNo
Low-range gearboxNoNoYes
Rear parking cameraYesYesYes
Climate control3-zone3-zoneDual-zone
Rear AC ventsYesYesYes
Paddle shiftersYesYesNo
Steering adjustRake/reachRake/reachRake
Keyless entry/goYesYesNo
Airbags867

The equipment list of the Ford Endeavour includes proper off-road modes, a low-range gearbox cruise control, LED DRLs, parking camera with front and rear sensors, automatic parallel parking system, electrically adjustable front seats, hill descent and hill hold controls, four power outlets, tyre pressure monitoring system and a noise cancellation system. In terms of safety, the Endy gets seven airbags, ABS with EBD, curve control and also roll stability control.

What are they like to drive?
The Skoda Kodiaq is powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine developing 150hp. For a seven-seater SUV with four-wheel drive, weighing 1,799kg, you’d think the power figure was only just about enough. But once behind the wheel, you would be surprised as the Kodiaq is quite quick off the line. There is a good amount of punch from the engine in the mid-range and as long as you keep the engine spinning in the mid-range, you won’t feel the need for more oomph. The power only begins to taper and taper strongly after the 4,000rpm mark. The Kodiaq gets to 100kph from a standstill in just 10.62sec which is quite commendable. The seven-speed dual clutch gearbox is smooth and shifts seamlessly and should you want to take over the control, there are paddle shifters which are equally responsive. The engine refinement levels are excellent as well, especially at high speeds. Even as you climb the rev range, it is only at very high engine speeds that you would hear the coarse note of the engine. Handling is another plus for the Kodiaq. The ground clearance isn’t as much as the Endeavour and while that restricts off-road capability, it means the Kodiaq can take on corners with only a little of that typical, SUV body roll. This suspension also has been tuned to offer the best balance between comfort and manoeuvrability. The low-speed ride is a bit thumpy and crashy, but the Kodiaq absorbs most bumps and potholes quite well. It is only the sharper bumps and broken roads at low speeds that will register into the cabin. Up the speed, however, and that slightly firm suspension is a lot more rewarding. The ride at highway speeds is flat and consistent with almost no pitching and bobbing. Grip levels too are impressive and there is a sense of assurance around long bends and corners, and while there is some body roll, the SUV is always neat and tight in corners with the four-wheel-drive system which gives it that all-important off-road capability. 

Powertrain & performance
Skoda Kodiaq Style TDI ATVolkswagen Tiguan Highline TDI ATFord Endeavour 3.2 Titanium
Displacement 1968cc, 4 cyls1968cc, 4 cyls3198cc, 5 cyls
Power150hp at 3500-4000rpm143hp at 4000rpm200hp at 3000rpm
Torque340Nm at 1750-3000rpm340Nm at 1750-2750rpm470Nm at 1750- 2500rpm
Transmission7-speed automatic7-speed automatic6-speed automatic
0-100kph10.62s10.55s11.22s
50-80kph though the gears3.80s3.70s4.10s
20-80kph in third gear7.16s6.63s6.34s
40-100kph in fourth gear8.40s8.63s8.58s
Braking 80-0kph24.72m23.47m26.68m
ARAI fuel efficiency16.25kpl17.06kpl10.90kpl
Tank63 litres71 litres80 litres
Range1023.75km1211.26km872km

The VW Tiguan is quite similar in comparison. The 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine makes 143hp and is also mated to a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox. The performance too is similar and just marginally short of the Kodiaq with a 0-100kph time of 10.55sec. What the Tiguan has going for it, however, is the lack of bulk. The five-seater layout means the VW is significantly lighter on its feet and that translates into better driving dynamics. In corners, it feels more car-like than SUV, and even in everyday driving, it's the more agile one of the two. The engine feels much more responsive with sharper throttle inputs and the smooth, quick-shifting gearbox. Refinement levels are quite similar as well. There is a hint of drone in the mid-range, but at low speeds, the engine is barely audible.

Also, like the Kodiaq, the Tiguan gets VW's 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system. Now, although the ground clearance isn’t suitable for off-roading, the AWD certainly helps it on wet roads, and through mud or slushy paths. Comfort is what the Tiguan does well too. Yes, you will encounter similar thuds and bumps like in the Kodiaq at low speeds, thanks to the similar firm suspension setup, but once up to speeds, it really is impressive and well contained.

The Ford Endeavour is the most powerful here with a 3.2-litre, five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine under the large bonnet. It makes a healthy 200hp and has a very impressive 0-100kph time of just 11.22sec, which if you consider the fact that it weighs 2.3 tonnes, will give you a better idea of just how much grunt the engine has. The refinement levels are not as good as the VW and Skoda, and you do hear a fair bit of engine noise even when you’re ambling about in the city. Press on and the sound only gets loud and boomy. Also, the six-speed gearbox is slow to respond and dulls the experience a fair bit. The Endy, however, has an ace up its sleeve and that's handling. For a big body-on-frame SUV, you’d expect it to be all over the place, but it just isn’t and, as crazy as it sounds, the Endeavour goes around long bends and corners with ample confidence and reassurance. In addition, the steering is light, accurate and quick, and even though there is that inevitable body roll, it is far from being difficult to control. The strongest advantage it has here, however, is the high ground clearance, a proper low-range gearbox and the multiple off-road modes. In fact, the Endeavour has features and functionality that's on par with very expensive luxury SUVs. The suspension is the most supple of the three models and bump absorption is so good, except for some wheel shudder and resonance from the heavy frame of the SUV. It's at low speeds that the ride is best. It isn’t as flat at high speeds as the others but on a rough road, the Endy gobbles up whatever the road throws at it and you barely feel it in the cabin.

How much do they cost?
The Skoda Kodiaq is priced at Rs 34.49 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) and is available as one variant. The good part of this is that, with a single variant, what you see is what you get, however, it is also the most expensive of the three SUVs here and that can work against it. You also get the reassurance of Skoda's 4-year warranty, essential we think. The VW Tiguan is available in two trims, the Comfortline and the fully loaded Highline (tested here) priced at Rs 27.49 lakh and 30.87 lakh, respectively. The Tiguan gets a 2-year/unlimited km warranty which can be doubled in the extended warranty package.

The Ford Endeavour 3.2-litre is only available in the top-of-the-line Titanium variant which costs Rs 31.40 lakh and it comes with Ford's 2-year/1,00,000km warranty along with it.

Which one should I buy?
The VW Tiguan is clearly the best value here, the one you should go for if you are firm on a budget. But its compact dimensions, dull-looking interiors, low ground clearance and lack of off-roader stance mean it just can't play with the big boys. And then there's no third row of seats.

The Ford Endeavour is the quintessential body-on-frame seven-seat SUV. It is a bit rough around the edges when compared to the other two, but its well-built interiors and comfy cabin come as a pleasant surprise. It is well equipped, has a strong engine and even drives well. The ride is a bit unsettled, the big diesel sounds truck-like at higher engine speeds and it is big, heavy and unwieldy compared to the car-based competition.

Price & verdict
Skoda Kodiaq Style TDI ATVolkswagen Tiguan Highline TDI ATFord Endeavour 3.2 Titanium
Price (ex-showroom, Delhi)Rs 34.50 lakhRs 30.88 lakhRs 31.40 lakh
Price (on-road, Delhi)Rs 40.92 lakhRs 36.09 lakhRs 37.47 lakh
Rating5/53/54/5
VerdictIdeal blend of luxury, practicality and off-road skills.Good to drive but is lacking in real SUV appeal.Good off-road, but feels big, heavy and a bit unwieldy in comparison.

The Skoda Kodiaq is better built on the inside, almost as spacious, several times more refined, and lighter and easier to drive. It is lavishly equipped, exudes a genuine luxury-car vibe and offers the best blend of off-road skills and on-road driving manners. It is Rs 3.1 lakh dearer and needs a bit more power, but in the final scheme of things, the Skoda is so good, it just doesn't matter. Remember to buy the extended warranty and the service pack though. With Skoda's less-than-perfect track record, you may need it. 

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