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MotorBar
Skoda Kodiaq SE L 2.0 TDI 150PS DSG 4x4 7-seater
Click to view picture gallery“SUVs have come a long way in a
  short time and today’s consumers
  are spoilt for choice. With seven seats
  and four-wheel drive increasingly
  seen as indispensable, Skoda has
  just the SUV for you
its über-
  versatile 2.0-litre Kodiaq...”


AND IT DOESN'T COST THE EARTH. The mid-range SE L model reviewed here offers more than an ample sufficiency of kit along with four-wheel drive off-road ability, a DSG autobox and those versatile seven seats — all for just 36K.

Despite diesel fuel's recent demonisation, a lot of drivers are still filling their tanks at the black pumps. An excellent justification for this cheeky flaunting of the Magisterium's fuelling dictates are engines like the 2.0-litre TDI still to be found under the bonnet of Skoda's Kodiaq SUV. A turbodiesel, it provides all the grunt required to haul around a full complement of six passengers and a driver alongside a mpg figure that won't break the bank every time you pull on to a forecourt.

Outputting a useful
148bhp that’s backed up
by a more meaningful
265lb ft of torque,
the TDI simply gets on
with life without any
drama, whether that’s
transporting six or seven
to the family staycation,
exploring rewilded parts
of the UK off-road, or
towing a braked 2,000kg,
this four-pot turbodiesel
pulls readily from low
revs and has all the
muscle you’re ever likely
to need...”
Of course, the TDI uniit powering the 7-seater SE L 4x4 is just one of the powertrains offered by Skoda and is only one component in the winning mix of features that have made this family-friendly SUV so popular other core attributes include its roominess, impressive can-do versatility, comfortable accommodation and satisfying driving dynamics. Oh, and let's not forget its affordability...

As we've started with the powerplant we may as well continue. Outputting a useful 148bhp that's backed up by a more meaningful 265lb ft of torque, the TDI simply gets on with life without any drama, whether that's transporting six or seven to the family staycation, exploring rewilded parts of the UK off-road with four-legged friends, or towing a braked 2,000kg, this four-pot turbodiesel, paired with a responsive seven-speed DSG twin-clutch autobox, pulls readily from low revs and has all the muscle you're ever likely to need.

It's no slouch either, coming off the blocks and clocking the benchmark 62mph in 9.6 seconds before carrying on, should you wish, to a top speed of 121mph. Good too that when cruising motorways at the UK's legal limit there's still plenty of oomph in hand. And while Sport mode is thoroughly enjoyable when, to quote Monsieur Barnier, the clock is ticking, left to its own devices in Drive the automatic transmission will serve you right (in the nicest possible way!).

And while not quite as sparing as the anecdotal camel, this TDI still makes a gallon stretch a pretty long way officially it should return an average of 41.5 to 45.6mpg but a week's hard driving saw our autoboxed (a sweet shifting DSG), four-wheel drive 148bhp unit record a test average of 43.7mpg with longer motorway trips showing 50mpg. And it would be fair to say that if we can get that, then you should do better!

Economy is but one department where the Kodiaq TDI shines. First, its looks are upscale: fronted by a thrusting barred grille and slim LED headlights, it sports boldly defined flat-cut 'squared' wheelarches packed out with smart 19-inch alloys, all topped off by an elegant glasshouse treatment that gives it as much kerb appeal as any premium-badged SUV. Imposing it may be but getting on board is easy courtesy of seat bases that are the ideal height for entry through generous door openings. The cabin ambience is invitingly plush with first class attention to detail and swish trimmings.

The well padded and nicely bolstered seats are upholstered in tactile microsuede and leather and provide all the support, and in all the right places, you'd hope to find. They're also heated (3-stage), adjust easily for height and offer good lumbar support.

The driving position is commanding with a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel; from behind it you have a perfect view of the bonnet and the road and placing the Kodiaq accurately in busy traffic, along tight back lanes or off-road, is a doddle. A tape measure confirms this is a big car happily it rarely feels like one when being driven.

The driving position
is commanding with a
leather-wrapped multi-
function steering wheel;
from behind it you
have a perfect view of the
bonnet and the road
and placing the Kodiaq
accurately in busy traffic,
along tight back lanes
or off-road, is a doddle.
A tape measure confirms
this is a big car —
happily it rarely feels
like one when
being driven...”
And then there's more space than you can shake a stick at starting with a fist-plus of air between the crown of your head and the roof; at your other extremity there's room for the biggest booted feet and a comfy rest for your left foot in this two-pedal car. Making life even easier are 'convenience enhancers' such as keyless entry and starting, and an electric parking brake with auto-hold that automatically applies/releases the brake for you in stop-start traffic.

Close to hand is the selector lever for the DSG autobox that makes switching between Drive and Sport a breeze plus you can easily manually override the autobox's shifts by nudging the selector lever to the left into Manual mode.

Another bonus is the standard-fit Drive Mode Selection that offers a variety of settings: Comfort, Sport, Normal, Eco, Individual; there's even one for Snow. In addition there's a dedicated all-terrain setting activated by a quick press on the Off-Road button alongside the selector lever. So whatever the road and weather conditions, the Kodiaq's got it covered.

Comms are as comprehensive and as straightforward to use as they come courtesy of Skoda's first-rate Columbus infotainment and navigation system and a large responsive 9.2-inch central touchscreen that includes an integrated WiFi hotspot along with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink technology for your smartphone. Other worthy features include Google Earth and Google Street View while Infotainment Online provides a mass of useful features including live weather forecasts, traffic reports, calendar updates, and will also show you the best spots to park; In the event of an emergency Skoda Assistance will contact the emergency services for you.

Skoda Connect uses a smartphone app to keep you in contact with your Kodiaq when you're apart, keeping you apprised of how much fuel is in the tank and, should you forget where you parked, it can lead you back to it and then flash the lights or sound the horn as you draw near just to be sure. Also useful is the ability to send destinations from your home to the SatNav so you're ready to just jump in and go. Naturally Bluetooth and a DAB radio are also fitted. Finally there's voice control which makes for safe online music searches while you're negotiating traffic.

Ahead of the driver the instrument panel's white-on-black dials are superbly legible and between them is a multifunction driver's information display that along with core driving information also shows a digital speed readout (the posted speed limit is found on the touchscreen's active mapping) and helpful graphic navigation prompts.

Thanks to its designers
the Kodiaq doesn
t look
like your average family-
carrier but swing open
a rear door and it
s clear
that Skoda hasn
t
skimped on space as proved by five rear seats
spread across rows
two and three.
Those travelling in the
middle row enjoy well-
shaped seats generous
enough to appease
a pair of Bond-movie
bruisers sharing
a well padded central
armrest with built-in
cupholders...”
When it comes to stashing your personal gear there's plenty of places including two large gloveboxes (one of which is cooled), out-of-sight storage drawers beneath both front seats, a net compartment close to the passenger's knee, 'holsters' built into the doors to house compact brollies, lined Prosecco-sized bottle-holding door pockets, a drop-down glasses case, a lidded tray ahead of the selector lever, cupholders, a deep drawer-style box in the fascia, a capacious bin under the wide, sliding and height-adjustable central armrest, and a pair of very useful 'sleeve-pockets' on the front seats.

The SE L also comes with plenty of creature comforts that, in addition to all the kit mentioned throughout the review, includes keyless entry and engine Start/Stop, a powered tailgate, auto-dimming rearview mirror, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, four one-shot electric windows, powerfolding (on-demand and automatically on locking and leaving) heated door mirrors with boarding spots, privacy glass, and a set of stylish 19-inch alloy wheels.

Safety kit is comprehensive and most importantly includes Front Assist autonomous city braking, seven airbags, adaptive LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, cornering LED front foglights, LED tail lights, headlight washers, auto lights and wipes, a rear spoiler with integrated LED brake light, tyre pressure monitoring, and height-adjustable front seatbelts.

Thanks to its designers the Kodiaq doesn't look like your average family-carrier but swing open a rear door and it's clear that Skoda hasn't skimped on space as five rear seats spread across rows two and three prove. Those travelling in the middle row enjoy well-shaped seats generous enough to appease a pair of Bond-movie bruisers sharing a well padded central armrest with built-in cupholders. Flip up the armrest and three can sit side by side in perfect harmony.

Even better, the legroom can be customised thanks to sliding (fore and aft by about six inches) seats plus hats can be worn without scuffing the headlining while multi-adjustable backrest angles add yet another layer of relaxation while knees will not be playing 'boomps a daisy' with the front seatbacks. Bottle-holding door bins, dedicated air vents and unrestricted views of the outside world are more plus points for second row passengers.

Absolutely no yoga skills are necessary to get to the third row of two individual seats because both middle-row seats tilt and slide smoothly. Once there, even sub-six-foot grown-ups will be fine once the second row of seats is slid forward by a few inches (helpfully they slide individually); teenagers will feel even more at home while smaller children in particular seem to love it back there.

The ride quality, even rolling on 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in beefy 235/45 Pirelli Scorpion CHK rubber, is satisfactorily pliant and keeps all aboard well isolated from even poorly maintained blacktop. But handling hasn't been sacrificed and the Kodiaq feels good to drive; engagingly so. On-road it's confident enough to be hustled, the 4x4 and safety tech keeping it reassuringly 'planted' on fast secondary roads without unsettling your passengers. The brakes, too, are totally dependable and drama-free.

“Absolutely no yoga
skills are necessary
to get to the third row of
two individual seats
because both middle-row
seats tilt and slide
smoothly. Once there,
even sub-six-foot grown-
ups will be fine once
the second row of seats
is slid forward by a few
inches (helpfully
they slide individually);
teenagers will feel even
more at home while
smaller children in
particular seem to love it
back there...”
Sadly, many owners, whilst appreciating its 4x4 safety net when the white stuff settles or crossing a churned-up field, will probably not explore just how competent their Kodiaq is away from the beaten track. In fact, the Kodiaq's ground clearance and four-wheel drive system endow it with seriously good all-terrain skills. Press the Off-Road button alongside the selector lever to engage its dedicated off-road mode and leaving the blacktop is a stroll in the park.

In Off-Road mode the chassis, engine and brake settings are automatically adjusted to tackle off-grid terrain with Hill Descent primed to keep the Kodiaq shipshape when descending tricksy downhill slopes. At the same time the touchscreen displays appropriate information about front wheel angle (very useful when you're in deep, slimy mud or snow or are wading, all situation where it's easy to lose track of which way your wheels are pointing), body tilt, compass, and altitude, etc.

Access to the boot is straightforward courtesy of a wide, high-lifting and fast-acting powered tailgate; conveniently, it can be opened and closed via the key-fob or a button in the cabin. A smooth-operating roller blind luggage cover is good to have; even more appreciated is the customised compartment beneath the boot floor for when it's not needed. Another plus is the full-size central section of the middle row backrest that folds down for extra-long load-throughs although youngsters will enjoy using it as an impromptu picnic table! It goes without saying that in five-seater mode the boot (usefully lip-free) will swallow buggies, bikes and Baskerville-sized hounds.

On those occasions that cargo rules, folding seats six and seven into the boot floor and dropping the 60:40-split middle row chairs creates a massive 2,005-litre, seamlessly flat-floored loadbay. At the other extreme, with all seven seats in use, you'll be pleased to discover that there's still a practical 270 litres left over for luggage and the like.

Naturally there are sturdy bag-holders and a selection of stretchy luggage nets; you can also divide the cargo bay widthways. Thoughtfully, the two boot lights are supplemented by a removable self-charging LED torch. The Kodiaq also comes very highly-rated by The Caravan and Motorhome Club if you need to tow, it's braked 2,000kg ability should ace it whatever it is you're planning on hauling.

Live with a Kodiaq for even a week and you'll find it hard to give up not surprising given its well thought-out and easily accessed usability. Plus, of course, there's the upscale cabin with its seven-seat versatility and a strong and economical turbodiesel that's well up to the task of moving a family in comfort as well as tackling off-road conditions. Definitely one of the very best all-rounders and with a price to fit most pockets. ~ MotorBar
.
Skoda Kodiaq SE L 2.0 TDI 150PS DSG 4x4 7-seater | 36,225
Maximum speed: 121mph | 0-62mph: 9.6 seconds | Test Average: 43.7mpg
Power: 148bhp | Torque: 265lb ft | CO2: 162-178g/km

.