Skoda’s flagship seven-seater Kodiaq takes its place in the medium and large SUV segments and boasts thoughtful use of space and high driving dynamics.
Our family of four tried the mid-range Sportline, but does the brand and model really represent value and intelligence?
Jules: I have a serious weakness for the Skoda Kodiaq.
Jules: It is difficult to pinpoint the rules of attraction. It’s imposing without being too big, stylish without much effort, and lives up to its “Just smart” advertising slogan.
Ian: Well, quite smart. It only has seven seats and offers reasonable performance. Skoda is still a minor brand, so you feel less sheepish than at Toyota or Kia.
Jules: Our Kodiak is a bad boy. Being a Sportline, it’s black on black on black.
Ian: Like middle-level mobsters who can’t get their hands on a black Mercedes AMG for school yet.
Jules: If you want.
Ian: Pros include Matrix LED headlights, animated rear turn signals, 20-inch alloy wheels and a black grille, roof rails, mirrors and badges.
Jules: What does all this cost me?
Ian: A reasonable $57,990 price tag, but the Skoda isn’t what it used to be. Option packages are also quickly added to the bill.
Jules: Inside is really luxurious.
Ian: Because of the above options. Replacing the Alcantara sports seats with ventilated leather seats will cost $1,900; a $1,900 panoramic sunroof and a $3,700 Luxury package provide heated front and rear seats, a power passenger seat, and enhanced driver aids. Without the latter, a security kit is really needed.
Jules: So what’s the final score?
Ian: Wait. Eat more. The Paint costs $700, and the $2,900 Tech Pack adds adaptive chassis control, a Canton audio system, a hands-free tailgate, and park assist. Try $69,160 to get away.
Jules: Is that money for the Kodiaq RS?
Ian: That’s $74,990 with options included, plus you get an extra 48kW from its 180kW 2.0-liter engine.
Jules: It was me who sold out. The Sportline is still great though. It’s great to have a digital instrument cluster, wireless CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging, and a 9.2-inch touchscreen.
Ian: He feels athletic. The steering wheel is chunky, the instrument panel is trimmed in faux carbon, and the driver display, doors and footwell are red-lit.
Jules: There is an umbrella in the door, as well as convenient luggage nets and massive storage compartments.
Ian: Not so smart are the center cup holders, which are too small for my coffee cup or sports bottle. On the plus side, there is a good storage area in the door that also houses a small trash can.
Jules: Waiting for Sport in Sportline.
Ian: I’m waiting. The four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine has just 132kW and shifts 1,750kg.
Jules: This is an impressive cruiser. Quiet, comfortable, and the radar cruise control works with the sound system to keep me happy.
Ian: I found the seats a bit too firm, but the driver assistance is slightly non-invasive. Its dual-clutch transmission is very smooth when it picks up speed, but twitchy in town. It is also slow off the line, which has caught me more than once at intersections.
Jules: No chance of a quick 3-point turn, just what we moms need in school. There is a long delay between drive and reverse.
Ian: These are paid options, but the hands-free tailgate and bird’s-eye camera are great for a supermarket.
Jules: Normal rear view camera is surprisingly poor quality. The massive trunk makes up for this, and you can even fit a few shopping bags when all seven seats are up.
Ian: He has impressive cornering skills. The optional Adaptive Driving Mode adjusts parameters such as damping and steering in sport mode.
Jules: I love these driving modes. The ambient light turns green in Eco mode, blue in Comfort mode, and red in Sport mode. There is even a snow mode and everything turns cold blue. It tickles me.
Ian: Cornering is a pleasure, and the gearbox works best at speed. The paddle shifters are a nice bonus. Grip with Pirelli tires is good, but they are quite thin, so you feel sharper bumps through them.
Jules: It’s fun on back roads, but our price is so close to the Kodiaq RS, I’d pay extra for more power and showiness.
Ian: I worry that our kids are being raised in a bubble of heated leather seats.
Jules: They are spoiled with mid-size seats that recline, slide back and forth, and have mini footrests. Sunblinds are comfortable, and a huge sunroof floods the cabin with light.
Ian: Their own climate control is good, but you know what’s just not smart? No rear USB ports. For a family SUV? It just doesn’t make sense.
Jules: It’s also sort of a mission to get access to the two rear seats.
IAin: They are best suited for children. I’m six feet tall with my head on the ceiling and my knees locked.
Jules: We averaged 8L/100km on the highway and 9.1L/100km overall. Not great if it needs 95 fuel, but at least an $1,800 five-year upgrade package is decent value.
Ian: In terms of adventure, there are opportunities for light off-roading. It tows 2000kg, but the weight of the ground globe is a measly 80kg.
Jules: The Kodiaq is striking on the outside and beautiful on the inside, but these options make it feel expensive compared to the competition from Kia, Hyundai and Mazda.
Ian: It’s excellent to drive and behold, but it’s missing some of the standard security features, there are no rear USB ports, and it’s pretty drinkable. It’s not the smart, value choice it once was.
SKODA KODIAQ SPORTLINE VITALS
PRICE From $57,990 per trip
WARRANTY AND SERVICE Warranty 5 years/unlimited km, $1800 for 5 years
ENGINE 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, 132 kW and 320 Nm
SAFETY Nine airbags, automatic emergency braking, radar cruise control
THIRST 8.2 l/100 km
SAVE Space saving
BOAT 270-765 liters
Originally published as 2022 Skoda Kodiaq Sportline review