Most buyers will opt for the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel. It is gutsy enough at low revs to haul around seven people with little fuss.
However, the equivalent 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 a 188bhp version of the same 2.0-litre diesel engine, which offers similar acceleration to the Sorento, but does push up the price considerably.
While you may 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. If you don't intend to drive long distances or frequently travel fully loaded with people and paraphernalia, it is worth considering but if you are, the 148bhp 1.4 petrol should be 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. It’s a shame, but it’s strong and smooth to drive.
Skoda Kodiaq ride comfort
The Kodiaq's regular suspension system works well, providing a generally comfortable ride and decent control in the corners.
The optional adaptive suspension (called DCC, or Dynamic Chassis Control) system lets you stiffen or soften the suspension at the touch of the button, and if you choose the softest modes (aptly labelled ‘Comfort’) the Kodiaq deals better with the majority of road scars you can throw at it – particularly at faster speeds.
It’s still a little unsettled around town, though, and firmer ‘Normal’ and ‘Sport’ modes only amplify the problem so are best left well alone. In fact, the latter setting makes the ride downright uncomfortable – even on 18in wheels (19s are standard on the best-selling trims).
Skoda Kodiaq handling
Big SUVs have a tendency to sway around quite a bit through corners, but not the Kodiaq. Compared with rivals like the Kia Sorento and Nissan 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 there’s plenty of grip.
The only fly in the ointment is the steering. It’s just too light in its ‘Comfort’ and ‘Normal’ modes, so you’ll want to select ‘Sport’ when you leave the city limits.
Skoda Kodiaq refinement
The 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine is pleasantly muted, especially compared with equivalent engines in the Sorento and X-Trail. The 188bhp 2.0-litre diesel is hushed at low revs but gets noisier earlier than the smaller unit, while the 1.4-litre and 2.0-litre petrols are smooth and hushed when cruising but noisier when pushed out of their comfort zone. You don’t feel much vibration through the soles of your feet when accelerating with any of the engines.
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 has a precise, satisfying action, while the optional DSG unit is swift and smooth to change so long as you don't make too many demands of it.
Likewise, the clutch and brake pedals are positive and give you enough feedback to make the Kodiaq easier than its main rivals to drive smoothly.
While you may think the entry-level 123bhp 1.4 petrol engine - available only with a six-speed manual gearbox and two-wheel drive - would struggle in a car as big as the Kodiaq, it actually copes reasonably well provided you don't expect swift progress. If you don't intend to drive long distances or frequently travel fully loaded with people and paraphernalia, it is worth considering - although residual values will probably not be as strong as for the diesels.
1.4 TSI 150
Punchy petrol that can drop two cylinders at a cruise to save fuel. Never feels underpowered and is decently frugal in the real world.
It’ll be a rare sight on UK roads thanks to high CO2 emissions and fuel use. It’s a shame, then, that it’s strong and nicely smooth at any revs.
Our pick 2.0 TDI 150
The 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel is expected to be the best-selling engine. It’s gutsy enough at low revs to haul around seven people without fuss. If you choose four-wheel drive you'll get a choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or automatic (DSG) 'box, whereas front-wheel drive models get DSG as standard.
2.0 TDI 190
The 188bhp version of the 2.0-litre diesel engine - available only with an automatic (DSG) gearbox and four-wheel drive - provides useful extra performance if you are likely to regularly drive fully laden or to use it for towing. However, the price hike suggests most buyers should stick with the 2.0 TDI 150 unit.