The Czech brand’s first middle-of-the-road SUV promises much, but does it deliver enough luxury SUV to justify the price? We put it under the microscope.
Czech carmaker Skoda is famous for its large and well-engineered sedans. The company first started its innings in India with the solidly built Octavia, followed by the bigger and more luxurious Superb, and it hasn’t looked back since. Yes, there have been some service-related ups and downs, where the brand has taken a knock. But despite these, the Octavia and the Superb managed to carve out a niche for themselves. What works so well for Skoda in India is that the models deliver a massive amount of car for the money; exactly what Indian car buyers want. Does anyone do value luxury better? The answer is no.
Skoda, however, hasn’t been big on SUVs. In fact, truth be told, it seems to have missed the boat completely. Yes, the quirky Yeti – sold in India from 2010 up until early this year – was technically
an SUV and it came with a 4x4 system too, but its unfavourable price-to-size ratio and oddball styling meant customers ended up spending their money elsewhere.
But that is set to change now. Skoda’s new-gen SUVs will be big, very spacious, conventionally attractive and, like its sedans, loaded to the gills with features. The Kodiaq we have here is the first of Skoda’s new-age SUVs.
It seats seven, comes with a sophisticated and modern interior, and loads and loads of tech. The Kodiaq isn’t cheap, but, like the range-topping Superb, it promises to deliver the full luxury-SUV experience at a premium. Question is, is there enough luxury SUV here to justify the ex-showroom price of Rs 34.49 lakh? At this price, it isn’t too far off from compact luxury SUVs like the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, and if you want something rugged and capable of tackling serious off-road challenges, there’s the brilliant Ford Endeavour and Toyota’s bulletproof Fortuner to contend with.
So can the Kodiaq – named after the island in Alaska that’s home to the largest grizzly bear in the world – offer the best balance of luxury, practicality, rugged appeal and comfort? It’s a big ask.