Feature

New Skoda Kodiaq vs Kia Sorento vs Mazda CX-5

Large SUVs usually come with an equally large price tag, but the new Skoda Kodiaq promises to fix that while offering seating for seven. How does it compare to the current class leaders?

Words ByWhat Car? team

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Kia Sorento dashboard

What are they like inside?

If you’re after a pseudo-Range Rover experience, you’ll probably prefer the Skoda Kodiaq or Kia Sorento. Both afford you a suitably lofty driving position from which to survey the road ahead, while in the Mazda CX-5 you’re sat closer to the ground. That said, it’s easy to get comfortable in any of our protagonists, with all offering a generous range of adjustment in their seats and steering wheels.

The narrower seats in the Kodiaq and CX-5 hold you in place better along snaking roads, while the Sorento’s broader, armchair-like seats are more cosseting when you’re driving straight. It’s just a shame that the Sorento doesn’t have adjustable lumbar support to stop you from slouching; the CX-5 and Kodiaq get this important feature as standard.

Unsurprisingly, given its price tag, the CX-5 feels cheapest inside. The buttons and dials on its dashboard don’t have quite the same feeling of quality as those in the Kodiaq and Sorento. Those cars have denser, more solid-feeling dashboard materials, with the Kodiaq just edging the Sorento for poshest interior thanks to the finer grain leather on its steering wheel and gearlever, and the better damped window switches.

Obviously you can rule out the CX-5 if you need seven seats, but you’ll otherwise find it a suitably spacious family car. True, it lacks the sliding and reclining rear seats that feature as standard in our two seven-seaters, but all three of our contenders have similar amounts of rear leg room. The Sorento has the least rear head room, but your rear-seat passengers would have to be basketball players to notice.

Erecting the third row of seats in the Kodiaq and Sorento is done by pulling straps in the boot floor. It takes less manhandling to get these seats into position in the Sorento, though. More importantly, those in the Sorento have more leg and shoulder room, and will also find it easier to get into and out of. Put simply, it’s the better choice if you need to ferry around more than four adults on a regular basis.

With all seven seats in place, the Kodiaq has slightly more space leftover for luggage than the Sorento. However, the tables are turned with the third row seats stowed away into the floor because the Sorento’s boot becomes 7cm longer than the Kodiaq’s and 5cm wider at its narrowest point. The CX-5, meanwhile, has the tallest and fractionally widest boot, but its load bay is much shorter than its seven-seater rivals’ so can ultimately take less luggage.

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