Skoda has finally entered the 7-seater SUV segment with the much awaited Kodiaq in the country. Available in only one variant - Style - the Skoda Kodiaq wears a hefty price tag of Rs 34.49 lakh (ex-showroom). At this price point, the Kodiaq has landed itself in the midst of two different kinds of SUVs that wear similar price tags. On one hand, you have rough road masters like the Ford Endeavour and the Toyota Fortuner. On the other, you have premium SUVs like the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA and the BMW X1. Further, the Kodiaq is nearly Rs 4 lakh dearer than the top-spec Volkswagen Tiguan which has the same engine underneath, albeit a bit less powerful (143PS Vs Kodiaq’s 150PS)
With those numbers out of the way, let’s quickly list what are the positives and negatives in the Kodiaq’s kitty.
The Kodiaq’s subtle stance with top-notch build quality demands respect. Yes, it doesn’t wear an in-your-face suit like the Endeavour or the Fortuner. However, we believe the chiseled body moulded with Skoda’s new design language will surely ignite second looks.
The build quality on the inside is just as exceptional as the exterior. The cabin is welcoming and almost everything is draped in leather upholstery. Even the seat cushioning is spot on.
As you’d expect, Skoda’s flagship offering is jam-packed with creature comforts. The list includes full-LED exterior lighting, 18-inch alloy wheels, umbrellas and umbrella holders with drainage in the front doors, a powered tailgate with hands-free operation, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink support, a 12-speaker Canton audio system with a voice enhancer, electric front seats with memory function, a three-zone climate control and a panoramic sunroof.
Big In Size And Safety
When crash tested by Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme), the Skoda Kodiaq came out with a full five-star safety rating. Safety equipment on the Kodiaq include nine airbags, ABS with EBD, brake assist, multi-collision braking system, all-round parking sensors, a rear camera and cornering fog lamps.
Even with the three-row arrangement, there is plenty of space in the first two rows. Moreover, there is no shortage of storage spaces for knick-knacks.With all three rows erect, the Kodiaq offers 270-litres of boot space. Drop down the last row and that number increases to 630-litres. If you want more, dropping the middle row gives you a massive 2005-litres of space.
Car Like Convenience
Even though the Kodiaq is big, the ergonomics are very car like. For instance, you don’t need to climb an extra step to make your way inside the cabin. Moreover, the flat ride, light steering, punchy engine and the smooth transmission of the Kodiaq help in getting accustomed to the SUV a lot easier.
Design Lacks Aggression
If you want an SUV that has demanding road-presence and scares the hell out of poor little hatchbacks, then the Skoda Kodiaq won’t make it your list. Although looks are subjective, having an aggressive look is a fundamental part that makes a proper SUVs.
Tricky To Enter The Third Row
On most SUVs, the second row seats slide forward and tumble away to create a reasonable space for the third row entry. In the Kodiaq, however, the tumbling process of the seats is missing, so getting in or out is going to be an undignified affair. The third row seats are quite low to the floor resulting in your knees pointing up. There are no AC vents here, but you do get three seatbelts and airbags.
Lacks Outright Grunt
A car this big is bound to be heavy. In fact, the Kodiaq is over 200kg heavier than the Skoda Superb. The 2.0-litre TDI engine in the Kodiaq develops 27PS and 10Nm less power than the one in the Superb. Even the laws of aerodynamics work against the tall stance of the SUV. The lack of power isn’t immediately evident though. It comes to haunt you only when you try to overtake or zip past traffic on the highway. At higher revs, the engine sounds strained and that doesn’t encourage you to push it hard either.
Not A Serious Off-Roader
Although the combination of an all-wheel drive system, sufficient ground clearance and snow mode should keep you going in mushy, slippery and uneven roads, it can’t handle the rough stuff as the Ford Endeavour, Isuzu mu-X or the Toyota Fortuner can. There is no low-range gearbox and the shallow approach and departure angles aren’t suitable either.