The Kodiaq is Skoda’s second attempt at an SUV in India after the Yeti. But this one is much more premium. It also has seven seats when compared to Yeti’s 5. Looking at the growth the segment has seen in recent times, there cannot be a better time for Skoda to launch the Kodiaq in the country. A look at the Kodiaq confirms the fact that this one well and truly belongs to the Skoda family. It looks muscular from all angles but things like the butterfly grille help retain the sophistication. The fog lamps are placed at a much higher position than where they’re seen on most cars, which once again helps subscribe to the SUV DNA. The Czech crystal LED headlamps and tail lamps add a lot of style to the car. The Kodiaq gets 18 inch wheels as against 19 inch ones it gets internationally while the cladding on the doors and the square wheel arches makes it sportier.
Skoda has always taken pride in some clever innovations they come up with in their cars. The Kodiaq is no different. The two front doors have a housing to store an umbrella which also comes with the SUV. This was seen in the Superb as well. A great addition is the door protectors which pop out every time a door is opened. It really helps in tight parking spaces as it keeps the paint of the door secure even if it touches the car next to it. The boot has a removable torch and there’s also a housing to store the rear parcel tray. And finally the tail gate opening height can be adjusted so that even kids can close the gate without any difficulty.
Like most cars from the brand quality is top notch inside the Kodiaq. There’s a lot that reminds of the Superb but there are some differentiating elements as well, like the AC vents that grow bigger here. There’s 3-zone climate control inside the car but there are a little too many buttons on the dash for your liking. There’s an eight inch touch screen system that is compatible with both Apple car play and Android auto. The Kodiaq comes with hands free parking as well as ambient lighting. The front seats get memory functions and the second row too can be slid forward to create more space in the third row. With all the seats upright the Kodiaq still offers a boot space of 270 liters but fold the third row and that goes up to 630 liters. The SUV gets a sunroof, along with side curtains on the second row.
The Kodiaq has been launched in India with just one engine and one variant. It’s a 2.0 liter diesel mill seen on other cars from the brand but churns out a maximum power of 150 PS here. The motor is refined and what impresses are the NVH levels as hardly any noise creeps into the cabin. The peak torque of 340 Nm starts kicking in at fewer than 2000 rpms and this keeps the vehicle take on slow moving traffic with ease. Looking at the 1800 kgs of kerb weight and the 7 speed DSG gearbox the claimed mileage of 16.25 kmpl is pretty impressive. There are 5 driving modes namely Eco, Sport, Comfort, Individual and Snow and with each mode the settings of the engine, steering and even the Air conditioner change.
Ride & Handling
The ride quality on the Kodiaq is a bit on the stiffer side especially at lower speeds. But as the speeds keep getting faster the car deals with the bumps and the potholes in a much better way. Despite the SUV shape the Kodiaq is pretty agile and the body roll that you expect in SUVs is kept to a minimum. Stability at high speeds is really impressive and the car gives a very confident drive. The steering wheel is a bit on the lighter side but the way it responds helps really well in negotiating traffic. The Kodiaq gets a full time 4 wheel drive system and in difficult situations as much as half of the torque is transferred to rear wheels which is a useful tool. But there is no 4x4 lock either so it’s clear that the Kodiaq is more about convenience than sportiness.
The Kodiaq comes with a lot of practicality for the entire family and is loaded with features. It’s got an engine that performs decently well and safety is also given a priority with the SUV getting as many as 9 airbags as standard. It’s priced at Rs. 34.5 lakh (ex-showroom, pan India) and looking at the competition overcoming that is the single biggest challenge for the SUV to succeed in India.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars