The new Skoda Kodiaq SUV has launched with a single Style trim at Rs 34.49 lakh (ex-showroom, all India). Following are all the details you need to know about the India-spec model.
1. It’s Skoda’s first ever seven-seat vehicle
Skoda has done SUVs before – as we’ve seen with the Yeti – but hasn’t yet done a seven-seater. This is the first one in the company’s 120-plus-year history and that’s a big moment for the Czech brand. It’s named after an Alaskan bear, the Kodiak, and fittingly, it looks quite rugged. But Skoda says it’s not an all-out off-roader, but rather a family car that can traverse rough terrain.
2. It is based on the Skoda Superb
No wonder then, that it’s based on the VW Group’s MQB platform that also underpins the Skoda Superb and Octavia in different guises. It is stretched and raised for its duties as a seven-seat SUV, and top-spec versions, such as the Style trim that will be offered in India, get the latest version of the VW Group’s transverse-engine AWD system, supplied by Haldex/BorgWarner.
3. It will use 2.0-litre diesel engine
The Kodiaq will come with a 2.0-litre diesel engine that will deliver 150hp and 340Nm of peak torque. The engine is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic unit that sends power to all-four-wheels. Skoda claims a fuel efficiency of 16.25kpl for the 1.8-tonne SUV.
4. The exterior looks really good
Skoda’s head of design Jozef Kabaň has really nailed it with the Kodiaq’s exterior. It manages to look imposing enough thanks to its aggressive grille and headlamp treatment, large wheel arches and hefty stance, but also somewhat sporty with a gently tapering roof line and 18-inch wheels. It borrows a lot of cues from the Skoda Superb, including a thick shoulder line, heavy sculpting on the boot, and intricate, angular LED headlamps and tail-lamps inspired by Czech crystal. We particularly like the way the LED fog lamps sit in angular recesses just below the headlamps.
5. It’s relatively compact for a seven-seat SUV
It may look imposing at first glance, but look a bit longer and you’ll soon realise that’s all down to clever styling cues; it’s not really that big. With a length of 4,697mm, width of 1,882mm, height of 1,665mm (1,676mm including the roof rails) and a wheelbase of 2,791mm, it’s actually relatively compact. That’s something Skoda is proud of, because that should make it easier to live with as a family car. It gets 188mm of ground clearance and can wade through 300mm of water, which again, is not proper off-roader stuff, but will suffice for most.
6. It debuts a new dashboard design for all future Skoda SUVs
After the disappointingly plain and familiar-looking interior of the new Superb, we were expecting the same with this platform-shared SUV, but instead, the Kodiaq gets a more upright dash design that will define all future Skoda SUVs. It features a huge slab of trim running through the centre that opens as a second glovebox on the passenger side. The chrome-ringed AC vents are vertically oriented and give it a more macho look, which was the intention. There are lots of shared parts in the cabin, but overall, the look is far removed from what you get in Skoda’s sedans.
7. It’s packing loads of tech
Yes, radar-based features like adaptive cruise control and auto emergency braking won’t come to India, but there’s loads else that could. The latest Skoda Connect 8.0-inch touchscreen has on-board Wi-Fi, Google Earth, an app that lets you check the car’s status from your phone and, of course, the de rigueur Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are 360-degree cameras, hands-free tailgate operation, and even a robust Emergency Assist SOS function, much like in Ford’s models. There are also what Skoda calls ‘Simply Clever’ features (and they are), like a magnetic flashlight to stick on the bodywork when you have a breakdown, rubber beading that pops out from the doors when you open them to protect their edges from scuffs, and umbrellas in the doors, like the Superb.
8. The interior is really flexible
You get a pair of generously sculpted electric front seats, but the real highlight is the second row that splits 60:40, reclines and slides with quite a lot of travel. It also gets ‘sleeping headrests’ which basically have supportive, fold-out ‘wings’ that prevent your head from rolling off the cushion. You get a decent 270-litre boot with all rows in place, and with the third row folded flat, it jumps to 630, and finally 2,005 with all seats down. The seven-seater SUV only gets a space-saver spare.
9. The third row is best only for kids
Those compact dimensions and that tapering roof have meant that the third row is not very spacious by modern standards. You’ll really have to make some compromises with the slide and recline of the middle row to fit anyone back here, and even once you have, it is very tight for adults. The huge wheel arch intrusions seriously limit the width, and the seat itself is thin, low-set and with a very small squab. As a result, you sit very ‘knees-up’, there’s no thigh support and your legs will constantly brush against the middle row. Even headroom is seriously tight. So yes, while this is a seven-seater, the last row is best reserved for children, or be folded away.
10. Launch price is Rs 34.49 lakh (ex-showroom, India)
Skoda’s seven-seat SUV has launched at a price that is about Rs 3 lakh higher than its primary rivals, Ford’s Endeavour and Toyota’s Fortuner. However, the level of kit offered with the Kodiaq should off-set this price difference.
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