What Car? says...
The Skoda Kodiaq – with its attractive starting price – could be just the ticket for big families looking for a value-for-money car that car carry seven people.
You see, while Skoda has a reputation for building good-value practical vehicles, the Kodiaq is the Czech brand's first seven-seat SUV.
The Kodiaq shares some underpinnings with other VW Group models – including the Seat Tarraco and the VW Tiguan Allspace – but it's just as much a rival to the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Kia Sorento and the Peugeot 5008.
There's plenty of choice in the range, with petrol and diesel engines, front or four-wheel drive, plus a vRS performance version. And while the price starts at a competitive level, you can pick plusher trims and more powerful engines that push it into the price range of the Land Rover Discovery Sport and other premium cars.
But is it any good? That's what this review will tell you. We can also point you in the direction of the best deals if you search our New Car Buying pages.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The 148bhp 1.5 TSI 150 petrol is our favourite Skoda Kodiaq engine, delivering a good balance of cost and performance.
With 0-62mph in 9.7sec, it should have enough pace for most seven-seat SUV buyers, and is slightly quicker than the Peugeot 5008 1.2 Puretech 130. It does lack the low to mid-range gutsiness of the diesel versions though, and you have to rev it harder when it's loaded up.
With that in mind, the 148bhp 2.0 TDI 150 diesel engine is stronger from a pure performance point of view. It's gutsy enough to haul up to seven people around with little drama and pulls effortlessly from low speeds.
If you plan to do any towing with your Kodiaq, there's also the more powerful 197bhp 2.0 TDI 200, which will easily pull a caravan up a steep hill.
The 187bhp 2.0 TSI 190 and 242bhp vRS add that missing bit of performance to the petrol range, but ramp up the price and running costs. To read about the full-on sports SUV version, see our Skoda Kodiaq vRS review.
Suspension and ride comfort
The Kodiaq’s ride isn't as pillowy soft as the Citroën C5 Aircross (which only has five seats) but it doesn't sway about as much either. It's also far less jarring over bumps than the closely related Tarraco.
If you resist the temptation to go for SportLine models fitted with 20in alloy wheels as standard, you'll enjoy a generally comfortable ride in the Kodiaq. The 5008 is more cushioning over broken town roads, but they're fairly evenly matched on faster A-roads and motorways.
The optional adaptive suspension, which Skoda calls Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), lets you stiffen or soften the ride at the touch of a button. It does improve the ride in the softest setting, but it's still not brilliant on patchy roads. DCC is an expensive option, and we don't think it's worth the extra.
Big SUVs have a tendency to sway around quite a bit through corners, but the Kodiaq is remarkably composed compared with the C5 Aircross and the Discovery Sport. Body control is impressive through fast direction changes and there’s plenty of grip.
Four-wheel-drive Kodiaqs have more traction on slippery surfaces – something that's not available on the front-wheel-drive-only Peugeot 5008.
The fly in the ointment is the Kodiaq’s steering. It's well-suited to town work but feels a touch too light when you get out of the city limits. There's a better sense of connection to the front wheels in the Mazda CX-5, the Tarraco and the VW Tiguan.
The Drive Mode Selection system allows you to add much-needed weight to the steering with its Sport mode. The Progressive Steering system (standard on SportLine models and above, optional on SE L Executive) is even better.
It reduces power assistance at higher speeds for a greater feeling of stability and quickens the steering at low speeds to help with parking.
Noise and vibration
The Kodiaq's 2.0 TDI 150 diesel engine is pleasantly muted, especially compared with the diesel engine in the Mercedes GLB.
The TDI 200 sounds noisier when you put your foot down and continues to emit a constant grumbly hum at motorway cruising speed. The 1.5 and 2.0 TSI petrols, meanwhile, are smoother and quieter, but sound more strained than the equivalent C5 Aircross or 5008 petrols when pushed.
You don’t feel many vibrations filtering into the interior with any of the engines, and there’s little in the way of road noise on the motorway. You will hear the wind whipping around the Kodiaq’s door mirrors, though.
Every Kodiaq has a slick seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which is swift to change through the gears as you drive along but has a tendency to be jerky at parking speeds and during finer movements.
Strengths Impressive body control; decent ride; quiet diesel engines
Weaknesses Gearbox jerky at slow speeds; steering could have more feel
The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
You’re perched quite high up in the Skoda Kodiaq, and the driving position is hard to fault, with the standard-fit electrically-adjustable seats and manual steering wheel each giving you loads of adjustment. Better still, adjustable lumbar support is also standard, something you’ll be thankful for on long drives.
The Kodiaq’s dashboard is logically laid out and a doddle to use. There are plenty of big, clearly labelled buttons, including for the climate control, that are easy to use on the move. That's preferable to forcing you to use the touchscreen for often-used functions, as the C5 Aircross and 5008 do.
A clear and easy to read 10.3in digital driver display comes as standard, and can be set up in various ways to show whatever information is most useful to you.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The Kodiaq is fairly boxy, so it’s generally easy to see out of. Your view of the road ahead, and sideways when pulling out of junctions, is mostly clear, and even over-the-shoulder visibility isn’t too bad.
As you might expect, when the third row of seats are in use, they limit visibility out of the rear. That’s not really a problem, though, thanks to standard-fit front and rear parking sensors and rear-view camera.
For a little more assistance, consider the optional Park Assist, which can tell if a parking spot is big enough and automatically steer you into the space.
For great vision at night, you get advanced matrix LED headlights regardless of which trim you go for. They automatically shape their light pattern to avoid dazzling other road users, even when on high-beam.
Sat nav and infotainment
SE L Executive Kodiaqs have an 8.0in touchscreen as standard. It’s easier to operate than the Peugeot 5008's unit, with clearer, more logical menus and hardly any delay in responding when you touch it.
From SportLine trim upwards you get a larger 9.2in touchscreen with built-in sat-nav, while the range-topping Laurin & Klement trim benefits from a premium Canton stereo system.
The Kodiaq’s interior is a smorgasbord of soft-touch materials and well-damped buttons and switches, with any harder plastics kept well out of sight.
There are lots of fancy dashboard inserts available to jazz up the interior if you think the standard look is a little bland. The interior light pack (standard on SportLine) makes the Kodiaq feel that bit more special inside.
Strengths Impressive interior quality; great digital driver’s display; good driving position
Weaknesses Smaller infotainment screen than many rivals; rear visibility isn’t great with third row in use
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
As the Skoda Kodiaq is a big SUV, you’re unlikely to ever feel cramped in the front seats, even if you’re particularly tall.
There's more head room than in the Peugeot 5008 and the front seats slide back a long way to accommodate anyone with long legs – although the Kodiaq isn’t as broad as the Hyundai Santa Fe or the Kia Sorento.
There's loads of storage space, including door pockets that are big enough to swallow a large bottle of water and a large cubby under the front armrest. There’s also a small rubberised area in front of the gearlever that’s designed to take your mobile phone and doubles as wireless charging.
All Kodiaqs have seven seats. The second-row seats slide back and forth, but not individually, as they do in the 5008. With the seats set fully back to maximise leg room rather than boot space, there’s a decent amount of space for taller adults.
Head room is excellent, but there’s not as much knee room as in a Discovery Sport or 5008, and if you need something really huge, the Santa Fe and Sorento are even bigger. The Santa Fe and Sorento have wider interiors too, so they’re better for seating three adults side by side.
The Kodiaq’s third-row seats are a lot less roomy than those in the Santa Fe and the Sorento. Teenagers and adults will have to duck to keep their heads from brushing the roof. Leg room is reasonable, as long as those sitting in the middle row don’t slide their seats too far back.
Seat folding and flexibility
The Kodiaq's three middle-row seats fold down in a 40/20/40 split arrangement so you can increase luggage space but still take a passenger or two. They also recline in the same split in case anyone wants a snooze.
The third-row seats stow away into the boot floor when they’re not required and are very simple to put up or down.
With the rearmost seats stowed away in the floor, the Kodiaq has an enormous boot that can hold an impressive nine carry-on suitcases. The Santa Fe's boot is bigger still and able to take 10, while the Sorento’s is much longer and wider and can take 11.
With all seven seats in use, the Kodiaq’s boot is considerably smaller, although there’s still space for a quick trip to the supermarket or a couple of small suitcases. The tonneau cover pulls across the whole boot area when the Kodiaq is in five-seat mode and cleverly slots away under the boot floor when all seven seats are required.
Strengths Plenty of boot space; loads of front space; lots of front storage
Weaknesses Less versatile rear seats than the 5008; third row seats are less generous than rivals
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
The Skoda Kodiaq is particularly good value if you go for our favourite 1.5 TSI 150 petrol engine – the diesels are quite a bit pricier to buy.
In general, pricing is similar to the 5008 but way cheaper than the Sorento and premium models including the Discovery Sport. If you're on a budget and need only five seats, you'll save quite a bit by going for the C5 Aircross instead.
The Kodiaq is pretty good at holding on to its value against depreciation over three years, and should lose its value slightly slower than the CX-5 and 5008. Meanwhile, the Discovery Sport is among the best in the class for low depreciation.
Good resale values help keep PCP car finance costs low, and the Kodiaq is normally competitive if you plan to buy using it. Check our New Car Deals pages for the current best prices.
The Kodiaq’s official fuel economy and CO2 emissions are beaten by the equivalent C5 Aircross or 5008. That means it’ll cost company car drivers more in benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax payments each month – especially if equipped with the most powerful engines.
Equipment, options and extras
Despite being the entry-level trim, we think SE L Executive is the one to go for, because it comes with all the equipment you could ever want.
For a start, it gives you 19in alloy wheels, heated front seats, front lumbar adjustment, leather trim and an electrically operated boot, but the real big ticket items are the third row of seats, matrix LED headlights and the selectable drive modes that we discussed earlier.
Sportline and L&K come with extra goodies but are too pricey to recommend.
If anything does go wrong, you’re covered by a three-year/60,000-mile Skoda warranty. That's not bad, but can't match Hyundai's five years or Kia’s seven.
Safety and security
Safety body Euro NCAP awarded the Kodiaq the full five stars after testing it in 2017. Models that were tested more recently will have undergone tougher tests so it's hard to make a direct comparison.
Standard safety features are sparse compared with on the Mazda CX-5, but you do get automatic emergency braking (AEB) and Isofix mounts on the middle row of seats. For a small premium you can add those to the front passenger seat too.
The optional Travel Assist Package adds lane-keeping assistance, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control and traffic jam assistance. Other safety options to consider are rear side airbags and a driver fatigue sensor.
The security experts at Thatcham Research awarded the Kodiaq a four-out-of-five rating for resisting being broken into and the full five stars for resisting being stolen.
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Strengths Lots of standard equipment; efficient engines; affordable price tag
Weaknesses Less safety kit than rivals; so so warranty; quicker depreciation than most rivals
In short, if you need a seven-seat SUV – yes. The Kodiaq offers a great all-round package, and is well-equipped, good to drive, practical and good value for money.
|RRP price range||£38,730 - £49,335|
|Number of trims (see all)||3|
|Number of engines (see all)||5|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||petrol, diesel|
|MPG range across all versions||33.1 - 50.6|
|Available doors options||5|
|Warranty||3 years / 60000 miles|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£2,659 / £3,531|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£5,319 / £7,062|