Skoda Kodiaq estate performance
Most buyers opt for the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which is gutsy enough to haul around seven people with little drama. However, the rival Kia Sorento delivers a welcome dollop of extra shove when you put your foot down – useful when overtaking or towing a caravan. To counter that, Skoda offers the Kodiaq with a 188bhp version of the same 2.0-litre diesel engine, which has similar acceleration to the Sorento, but it does push up the price considerably.
While you might think the entry-level 123bhp 1.4 petrol engine would struggle in a car as big as the Kodiaq, it actually copes reasonably well provided you don't expect swift progress. But if you intend to drive long distances or frequently travel fully loaded with people and paraphernalia, the 148bhp 1.4 petrol is a better bet. It never feels underpowered and proves decently frugal in the real world.
The 2.0 TSI is the strongest petrol option, but it’ll be a rare sight on UK roads because it isn’t particularly efficient and rather pricey.
Skoda Kodiaq estate ride
The Kodiaq's standard passive suspension works well enough. Resist the temptation to add big alloy wheels and you'll enjoy a generally comfortable ride, particularly at cruising speeds on the motorway. It’s certainly far less bouncy than a Nissan X-Trail.
It gets better still if you order the optional adaptive suspension (called Dynamic Chassis Control), which lets you stiffen or soften the suspension at the touch of a button. If you choose the softest modes (aptly labelled Comfort), the Kodiaq deals even more adroitly with road scars at higher speeds.
Like a Land Rover Discovery Sport, things get a little unsettled around town, though, and the firmer Normal and Sport modes amplify the problem so are best left well alone. In fact, the latter setting makes the ride downright uncomfortable – even on smaller 18in wheels (19in ones are standard on the best-selling trims).
For one of the best rides in the class at this price point, the Peugeot 5008 is the SUV to try, but even then only if you avoid the bigger wheels.
Skoda Kodiaq estate handling
Big SUVs have a tendency to sway around quite a bit through corners – but less so in the Kodiaq. Compared with rivals such as the Sorento and X-Trail, it’s actually remarkably agile. Don’t expect it to scythe through bends like a Seat Ateca or an Audi Q2 (they’re smaller, lower and lighter) but the Kodiaq doesn't tip over onto its door handles and there’s plenty of grip.
The only fly in the ointment is the steering. It's fine around town but too light when you get out of the city limits; you get a better sense of connection with the front wheels in a Mazda CX-5. The Driving Mode Selection system (standard on SE L trim and above; optional on the cheaper trims) allows you to add much-needed weight to the steering by providing a weightier Sport mode.
Skoda Kodiaq estate refinement
The 148bhp 2.0 diesel engine is pleasantly muted, especially compared with diesel units in the Sorento and X-Trail, and even the more premium Discovery Sport. The 188bhp 2.0 diesel is equally hushed at low revs but gets noisier earlier than the smaller unit, while the 1.4 and 2.0 petrols are smooth and quiet when cruising but noisier when pushed out of their comfort zone. It’s good that you don’t feel much vibration filtering into the interior when accelerating with any of the engines – something you can’t say about a few of the Kodiaq’s key rivals.
There’s also little in the way of road noise on the motorway, although you do hear the wind whipping around the Kodiaq’s door mirrors. The standard six-speed manual gearbox has a precise, satisfying action, and with its defined clutch bite and progressive brakes the Kodiaq’s easy to drive smoothly in traffic. Meanwhile, the optional six and seven-speed dual-clutch auto gearboxes are slick and swift to change on the move, but they can be jerky at parking speeds.