Skoda Kodiaq long-term test review

Skoda's first seven-seat SUV won big praise in our road test and took home our 2017 Large SUV of the Year award, but how will it stand up to daily life?

Words By Jim Holder

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Skoda Kodiaq

The car Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TDI SE L DSG Run by Jim Holder, editorial director Why it’s here To evaluate our 2017 Large SUV of the Year over 12 months and assess Skoda's new range-topper Needs to Be the consummate seven-seat SUV, delivering on practicality, comfort and frugality while justifying a price tag that puts it head to head with entry-level models from some premium car makers

Price Β£30,615 Price as tested Β£31,615 Miles covered 12,980 Official economy 56.5mpg Test economy 39.7mpg Options fitted Children’s pack (Β£175), metallic paint (Β£555), rear-seat backrest release (Β£90), space saver wheel (Β£100), textile floor mat set (Β£80)

12 July 2018 – Saying goodbye to the Kodiaq

The Skoda Kodiaq is a really good car. It has a large, flexible interior that's comfortable and well laid out. Its third row of seats pop up and down easily and are reasonably simple to access. It’s economical for a large SUV. Its infotainment system is logical to use. It's good to drive in town, in the countryside or on motorways.

The list goes on, with the word β€˜good’ being applicable to almost every facet of the car, so perhaps it's just as important to state that at its very worst, the Kodiaq is... still a very good car. Yes, there are niggles, such as the proximity of the emergency warning switch to your knuckles when you change gear, or the infuriating fact there isn’t even the option of having USB ports for middle or rear passengers (a quirk of right-hand drive models). But really, can either of these two things be considered deal-breakers? I think not.

Damn it, the Kodiaq even has a few fripperies to add a bit of extra values and fun into the equation. I can’t imagine that many people buy a car because it has an emergency brolly in the door or an ice scraper waiting behind the fuel cap, but these and a variety of other nice-to-haves add an extra lustre to ownership, as well as emphasising Skoda’s reputation for delivering more value than you might have imagined possible.

That ability to surprise by just doing things well is a key ingredient of life with a Skoda, and it's why, I suspect, ownership survey after ownership survey rates the firm so highly for exceeding expectations.

It’s unfair to saddle Skoda with associations of its doddering East European past after so many years, but I don’t doubt that there is a truth in the suggestion that expectations are lower than for other established mass-market brands, making it easier to surprise and delight customers. I should know better, but as you will have gathered, I too have been sucker-punched (positively) by the experience.

It is true that we now rate the Peugeot 5008 above the Kodiaq, but it's by the smallest of margins, and ones that depend on your priorities. The 5008 is marginally more spacious, so long as you avoid its panoramic roof option, for instance, and perhaps a little more relaxing to drive. However, while the two are evenly matched on list price, a delve into What Car?’s online New Car Buying portal reveals there are larger discounts available on the Kodiaq, probably because it has been on sale just that bit longer.

Talking of rivals, others also provide some further context. If you're buying your large SUV with both eyes firmly on practicality, even at the expense of other qualities, we'd recommend you consider the Kia Sorento, a car that majors on space and has a decent level of capability elsewhere. Perhaps controversially, we’d also suggest that you pause over a lower-end Land Rover Discovery Sport purchase and weigh up top-end versions of the Kodiaq. At those points, where the prices converge, the kit list is significantly in the Kodiaq’s favour but the badge appeal (and thereby residuals) and off-road ability are not.

A Skoda that’s as compelling as a Land Rover? You’d better believe it. After launching a car as good as the Kodiaq, perhaps Skoda’s next challenge will be keeping expectations in check, because surpassing them may never again be so easy.

Skoda Kodiaq – test data

Dealer price now Β£22,500 Private price now Β£22,000 Trade in price now Β£21,000 True MPG NA Contract hire Β£341.80 Cost per mile Β£341.80 Total running cost Β£1909.69 Insurance Group 17E Typical insurance quote Β£545

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