Versatile cabin, appealing pricing, quality cockpit and tech
No electrified versions yet, which feels odd nowadays
What is it?
In 2016 we named the then-new Skoda Kodiaq the 'Best Car for Big Families' for its thoughtful, space-efficient design and general excellence. “It’s reassuring and safe,” we said, “but it manages to avoid tedium. Not only because it’s decent to drive, but in its design and build. There are some beautifully considered pieces of visual detailing here, executed with quality craftsmanship.”
But that’s five years ago now…
It’s been lightly updated since, but the Kodiaq remains just as appealing on a rational, family first level as it was in 2016. Rivals include the Land Rover Discovery Sport, Mercedes-Benz GLB, Peugeot 5008, Kia Sorento and – from within the Volkswagen Group itself – the Seat Tarraco and Volkswagen Tiguan. All these cars are varying degrees of good and worth cross-shopping if you’re so inclined.
The Kodiaq is based on the ubiquitous MQB platform shared across the VW Group and uses familiar petrol and diesel engines with the option of manual or automatic gearboxes and front- or all-wheel drive. It’s a bit of a shame that Skoda has slipped behind rivals in offering any hybrid versions of the car, but if you only need five seats there’s the Enyaq iV. The Kia Sorento offers a nice PHEV option with seven seats, mind.
Though it looks big, the Kodiaq is roughly the same length as an Octavia Estate and far shorter than the Superb Estate. So it’s not a chore to thread through town or park in a multi-storey. Yet most versions come with seven seats. Granted the rearmost two are only for kids (or short teenagers at a push), but that’s par for the course and not a problem given how families use these things.
What engines do you get?
There are five options to choose from – a 1.5 petrol pumping out a heady 148bhp, a 2.0-litre petrol with 187bhp or 242bhp in vRS guise, and a 2.0-litre diesel with 148bhp and 197bhp versions. You could briefly get a diesel version of the sporty vRS car, but that was rather wisely canned.
Prices start at £33,845 for a five-seat 1.5-litre petrol Kodiaq in SE Drive trim, rising to £48,075 for the seven-seater vRS range-topper.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
A former Top Gear award winner, the Skoda Kodiaq is among the most complete family cars you can buy for sensible money. As compelling now as it was when it was launched in late 2016, the company’s first (and so far only) seven-seater is reasonably priced, spacious yet compact, decent to drive and full of those clever little touches that really set Skoda apart from other car manufacturers.
It will fit seamlessly into your family life, and it's an ingenious way of ferrying your little people from place to place. In fact, the Kodiaq is that rarest of things – an SUV that makes a strong case for itself over and above the equivalent conventional estate.