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This is the brand new Skoda Kodiaq SUV
Named after an Alaskan bear, this is Skoda's first full-size, seven-seat SUV
What’s bigger than a Yeti? A Kodiaq. This is the company’s first full-size SUV, and given Skoda’s enviable rep for class-leading space and sheer usefulness, you may wonder what took them so long. It’s 4.7m long, is available with three rows of seats, and lifts a load of tech and connectivity from the class above. Prices aren’t confirmed yet, but the Kodiaq is tipped to start in the low to mid-£20k range. This pits it against the likes of the Hyundai Santa Fe, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Nissan X-Trail and Volkswagen Tiguan, the key combatants in the bloodthirsty family wagon wars. In terms of size and heft, imagine it sitting somewhere between the Audi Q5 and Q7. Perhaps Sasquatch would have been a better name.
Says Skoda’s technical development boss, Christian Strube: “The Kodiaq offers all of our brand’s strengths: well-thought-out functionality, superior interior space and excellent value for money.”
Skoda’s new big ’un uses the VW Group’s ‘modular transverse matrix’ (MQB) which reduces weight, while delivering the necessary torsional rigidity. Powered by the 1.4-litre TSI engine, the all-wheel drive Kodiaq – sans driver – weighs an impressively lean 1540kg.
Although Skoda’s mission for genuine lifestyle credibility is ongoing, only those with elephantine memories and horrendous auto bigotry would struggle to see the Kodiaq as a milestone in the Czech company’s complicated history. Design head Josef Kabaň – who has the Bugatti Veyron on his CV, amongst other things – has kept the surfaces clean-cut and precise, chiselling out a design language within the VW Group that is left-field without being wilfully quirky. The rear lights use LEDs, and the double-line approach carries on inside. A 6.5in glass touchscreen is standard, and is flanked by large air vents that effectively separate the cabin into driver and passenger zones. Infotainment and navigation can be upgraded depending on how deep into your wallet you want to delve, but we definitely like the sound of the optional ‘Phonebox’, which charges a smartphone inductively. Tri-zone climate control is also available.
Two turbodiesel and three petrol engines will be available at launch, with power outputs ranging from 123bhp to 187bhp, all EU6 compliant, and all featuring turbocharging and direct injection. The entry-level, 148bhp 2.0-litre TDI delivers a claimed combined average of 56.5mpg and 131 CO2s. The Kodiaq is available with a six-speed manual, or a DSG with either six or seven gears. Driving Mode Select is also an option, which configures engine, DSG, steering, air con and other systems into Normal, Eco, Sport, or Individual Modes, with the further option of Adaptive Dynamic Chassis Control. The all-wheel drive system uses an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch to constantly vary the amount of torque sent to the rear axle.
TopGear.com is in Berlin for the Kodiaq’s world premiere this evening, and if we can forage out plans for a 16-cylinder Skoda supercar, we’ll bring them to you. Until then, as a big brother for our favourite small SUV, the Yeti, this looks all right by us.