Considering the ongoing popularity of SUVs in the Indian market, it isn’t at all a surprise that Skoda has decided to bring in Kodiaq to India. The car is based on the same platform (MQB) as the Tiguan, however it offers seven seats instead of five and is therefore longer. The car has evolved from the Vision S concept which was first showcased in Geneva and the name Kodiaq, literally means the Alaskan bear. The proportions are quite alright, and close to what you would expect from an SUV.
EXTERIOR AND LOOK
The Kodiaq will be Skoda’s flagship model in India, positioned right above the Superb. It looks sophisticated, considering Skoda has made use of crystalline design elements. The front end is sharp-looking with those sleek all LED headlamps and the black Skoda ‘butterfly’ grille, which is a standard in all Skoda models. What stands out right away is the fact that the ‘compactness’ of the car comes through neat edges and lines all over the car. The sculpted bonnet along with the very prominent shoulder lines gives it an appearance of all muscle and no bulk. There are hardly any curves anywhere. The stance of the car is as aggressive and muscular as an SUV could possibly have. But there is no mistaking the air of sophistication and elegance that Skoda cars are associated with. Adding to the muscle are the square-ish wheel arches with a touch of plastic cladding that houses 18-inch alloy wheels. Internationally, the Kodiaq gets 19-inch wheels but for Indian road conditions, the company believed 18-inch wheels to be perfect.
INTERIOR AND COMFORT
Step inside the Skoda Kodiaq and you might be reminded of the Superb’s interior, but it does get a new dashboard design. It is a mix of soft plastics in black and beige, with a black textured plastic panel separating the two. The plastic panel was the only design element we did not like in the otherwise cheery and premium interiors and we would rather prefer a wood-finished veneer instead. There are large, vertically mounted air-con vents that’ve been designed for better airflow and noise control. You get two glove compartments: a regular cooled unit and one above, both opened via buttons on the dash. There are cubby holes below the steering too, along with storage spots in the centre console.The Kodiaq abroad gets an all-black interior but here it is a mix of black and beige, with beige leather seats. This cabin is a cheery place to be in and quite comfortable as well. The seats offer fantastic support, especially the front ones, both of which get electrical adjustment for height, reach and lumbar support. The glasshouse effect of the cabin is accentuated by a large panoramic sunroof, so you do feel like you’re sitting in a really big car.
The rear have wide-opening doors that are heavy and take an effort to shut from the inside. Getting into the cabin is as easy as walking in; no need to climb up into the cabin like other SUVs. The middle row seats offer oodles of legroom, even with a 5ft 8in driver sitting in the driver’s seat. They are adjustable and can be moved forward by 18cm. The seat-back rest angle can also be reclined to a certain degree. A unique touch is the Kodiaq’s power nap package. It includes two pillows, window-mounted sun blinds and two blankets that are neatly bundled into pouches mounted at the back of the front seats. The highlight, though, is the lateral support extensions on the 2nd row headrests. These allow the occupants to hold their head in place if they wish to take a nap. We felt that this novel feature could do with more cushioning. The AC unit has tri-zone climate control. It offers three individual settings for the driver, co-driver and the middle row seat occupants. The middle row gets just two central AC vents and could do with roof- or pillar-mounted vents for better cooling.
The last row also does not get AC vents. The seats work for small adults but for someone above 5ft 8inch, you will be sitting with your knees close to your chest. Access to the split last row is also narrow and not as easy as, say, an Innova.Another interesting feature is the hands-free tailgate. Simply wave your foot below the bumper and the tail gate opens. Along with electronic actuation, the tailgate can also be adjusted to open to a certain height for shorter users. The boot light is a small unit that can be removed and used as an LED torch. The boot partition screen also hides below the boot floor for a cleaner look.Boot space is 270 litres with all rows up. With the split rear seat folded flat, boot space rises to 630 litres. With the middle and rear seats dropped down, boot space is a cavernous 2005 litres, enough to swallow a refrigerator.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
Now while we’ve previewed the Skoda Kodiaq extensively in the last few months, this is the first time we’re getting to drive it. Getting the specs out of the way first – it will come to India with a 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine making 180hp and 250Nm, as well as a 2.0-litre TDI diesel making 150hp and 340Nm. There’s also a version of the 2.0 TDI with 190hp and 400Nm, but this one is designed for Euro 6 emissions norms, and so might not make it to India initially, as it would have to be modified to suit our poor fuel quality. There will also be AWD on top variants, and both engines come with either six-speed manuals or seven-speed DSG automatics. Interestingly, the automatics will get priority in the range this time – Skoda India has learnt its lesson from the Yeti, which is still only available as a manual.
The petrol engine first, and it’s everything we’ve come to expect from a TSI motor. It’s smooth and refined and builds up all its power really early on, making it quite enjoyable to drive. For such a large car, it weighs a not-too-shabby 1,695kg, and as a result is able to sprint to 100kph in a claimed 8.0sec. The DSG gearbox too is as impressive as we’ve come to expect, with smooth and quick shifts exactly when they’re meant to happen.The 150hp diesel is impressively refined too, but that also has to do with the Kodiaq itself, which is great at shutting out outside noise. It’s very peppy off the line, sacrificing some top-end oomph in the process, but then with 340Nm on call, you really can’t complain, especially with a claimed 0-100kph time of 8.9sec. Each shift from the seven-speed DSG can be felt a little bit more here than in the petrol, but it’s not to the point of being uncomfortable.
RIDE AND HANDLING
Well, driving a Skoda is always a pleasure. Be it hatchbacks or sedans or even the Kodiaq SUV. There are some things which bring a smile to your face in the way a Skoda does.Skoda Kodiaq is not an outrightly powerful machine and is aimed towards relaxed driving. It has a high quality ride which gives you more of a sedan feel rather than an SUV.The suspension has some amount of stiffness which is felt at slow speeds, but this helps in the vehicle retaining its composure at high speeds. There is minimum body roll and pitch and this goes a long way in adding to the ride comfort.The Kodiaq also gets 4X4, hence it is useful for situations when you need to go a bit off-road. That maybe on steep inclines with loose soil or in slushy areas ,which would have some amount of wheel spin. Though not a hardcore off-roader, the Kodiaq will definitely manage to get you out of quite a lot situations. In terms of safety, the Kodiaq comes with nine airbags and of course ABS with EBD is standard.
It comes packed with features and equipment, some of which are unique and innovative. For instance, the retractable door protector that juts out of the front door edges each time the door is opened, and hides itself inside when you shut the door. It will help avoid scratching the paint on the doors or hitting the door onto another car in tight spaces. Then there’s the two umbrellas stashed into dedicated pockets on both front doors. Move to the boot, and you have a light that illuminates the area but can be detached and used as a flashlight.The Kodiaq gets 9 airbags, higher than most premium SUVs, compact luxury SUVs included. It also gets multi-collision braking and a fatigue alert system. In terms of features the Kodiaq gets the same 8-inch capacitive touch display. The infotainment system offers Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink connectivity. You can also control the infotainment system using Skoda’s boss connect app via your smartphone. The Kodiaq gets 10 colour ambient lighting like the Octavia, while a digital voice enhancement system plays the driver’s voice to occupants via the audio system’s microphone and speakers for better audibility, though the cabin itself feels very quiet.
So where does the Kodiaq sit? In terms of size, Hyundai’s Santa Fe would be the Kodiaq’s closest rival. But, its sophisticated and car-like nature would make it an obvious choice for those who have yearned for a Honda CR-V but wanted a diesel option. In terms of pricing, it will be pegged on par with the Skoda Superb, and that means it will crop up on the radar of anyone looking to buy any SUV, from the Tucson to the Endeavour. Its European design and build quality could tempt entry-level luxury SUV customers who don’t want to sacrifice on the space or the third row of seats. Yes, this Skoda isn’t invigorating to drive, but this large seven-seat SUV it appeals to the head with its car-like manners, easy drivability, roominess and sense of premiumness. The Skoda Kodiaq is sure to be quite sought after when it arrives in India before Diwali in 2017!
Skoda Kodiaq Ex Showroom Price in Jaipur ranges from 34,49,000/- (Kodiaq Style 4×4) to 34,49,000/- (Kodiaq Style 4×4).Skoda Kodiaq has 1 Variants of Diesel are available in India. Skoda Kodiaq comes in 4 colours, namely Lava Blue,Moon White,Quartz Grey,Magic Black.