Skoda had started its innings in India with a bang. The Octavia, back then, was second only to Mercedes with its tank-like build and typical European demeanour. Without the presence of any real competition, Skoda’s brand value leap frogged many seasoned players in the Indian car market. With its perceived luxury, a big fat SUV was always on the cards. So here we are driving the all-new Skoda Kodiaq, the first big-fat SUV from the Czech carmaker in over 100 years to find out if it can be the giant slayer like its sedan sibling, the Skoda Superb .Get Skoda Kodiaq price in Chennai at carzprice
Viewed from the front the Kodiaq is quite distinctive. There is a sense of width as the butterfly grille fans out wide, with chunky bars popping out to create a strong three-dimensional design. The sharp cut and slim headlamps increase the sense of width, but also add a sense of delicateness to the design. As expected from Skoda, the lines are crisp and elegant and it is evident when you view the Kodiaq from the side. Lightly squared-off wheel arches give a hint of robustness. From the rear the Kodiaq looks neat and crisp, just that. The sharply cut tail lamps also jut out, giving them a three-dimensional feel. The C-motif is also executed in an edgy and taut feel. The deeply clefted tailgate breaks up the volume nicely too. It’s been named after an Alaskan bear, but the Kodiaq is no grizzly SUV. Like the Audi Q7, the Kodiaq too has a whiff of an overgrown estate rather than a brawny SUV. The surprise, though, is that the Kodiaq really isn’t small! While it looks quite tidy, its dimensions put it in the league of the Hyundai Santa Fe. At 4,700mm, it is as long as the Santa Fe, and with 1,880mm of width it is as wide as well. The Skoda boasts of longer wheelbase (by 90mm!) which gives it a planted stance too. However, the Skoda isn’t as tall as the Santa Fe and that’s what keeps it from getting that towering SUV-like stance.
The Kodiaq’s insides look similar to the Octavia and Superb’s. You get a two-tone finish with the top half of the dash finished in black while the lower half and seats are beige-hued. This is a well-designed cabin and feels premium. The top of the dash uses soft-touch plastics from end to end, while the panel below it wears a wood finish. Air-conditioning vents are vertical ones, which Skoda tells us have been designed to channel air better while also being quieter.The front seats are wide, bolstered well and well-cushioned, and I particularly like how spacious the cockpit is. There’s lots of space for the driver and the electrically adjustable seat and rake/reach adjustable steering make finding a good driving position easy. You don’t sit too tall and the feel is more car-like than SUV. Second row seats are very spacious and comfortable and seating three abreast shouldn’t be an issue. The second row seatback is split 40:20:40, and while the seat can be moved ahead by 180mm, the seats don’t tumble forward completely which makes getting into the third row a bit of a task.The third row has you sit higher and under thigh support isn’t great but legroom is good and the seats should be good for short distances. Boot volume is a decent 270 litres with all three rows up, but flip the third row down and you get 630 litres of volume. Flip the second row down as well and you get a massive 2005 litres of volume. The Kodiaq gets three-zone air-conditioning and the system worked well in Kovalam’s humid climate. There’s a massive panoramic sunroof to add to the airy feel along with the beige interiors, and on the whole the Kodiaq feels very spacious, particularly as a family or chauffeur-driven SUV.
At present, Skoda will offer only a single 2.0-litre DQ500 diesel engine on the Kodiaq which will be mated to a 7-speed DSG unit, which is quite a surprise considering a majority of car buyers are migrating back to petrol engines. A petrol engine option should have been on the cards. Getting the numbers out of the way, the engine makes 148 bhp at 3,500-4,000 rpm and pumps out peak torque of 340 Nm at 1,750-3,000 rpm. The claimed fuel efficiency of the Kodiaq is a decent 16.25 kmpl. Like all recent Skoda cars, the engine is smooth and between low and mid-range, the power delivery is linear and smooth.However, enthusiastic driving needs some work done, owing to the car’s weight (1,799 kg, gross). This is all the more evident when you need to overtake a lumbering truck or a slower car ahead of you. Skoda also offers five driving modes on the Kodiaq, which are the Eco, Normal, Sport, Snow and Individual. The car is running on 4×4 all the time with the torque vectoring system delivering 96 per cent of the torque to the front wheels. Upon requirement, it could send up to 50 per cent of the torque to the rear wheels as well. The Kodiaq will always be more comfortable on the tarmac, but having said that it could tackle very mild off-road terrains too.
DRIVING DYNAMICS ;
As for the dynamics, it feels like a large, higher-riding Superb to drive, and that’s just what you’d expect from a monocoque SUV. It’s also a revelation in a segment dominated by bulky, ladder-frame SUVs like the Fortuner and Endeavour, which feel a lot more cumbersome from behind the wheel. The steering isn’t bristling with feedback and it is a little numb around centre, but at least it’s neutral and predictable. On Mallorca’s narrow village roads, it certainly did a great job of shrinking itself around me, when in reality, it just about barely fit the lane width. You do get a bit of body roll, but that’s nowhere as much as you’d get in a ladder-frame SUV. Our test cars all had DCC – Dynamic Chassis Control – which alters suspension firmness and steering weight in one of a few different modes, but we found the differences to be very slight. Overall, the Kodiaq, on its 18-inch wheels and 55-profile tyres, likely the same ones we’ll get in India, rides nice and flat, although it can feel a little lumpy over broken bits of road.
SAFETY FEATURES ;
The Kodiaq is one of the rare cars sold in India to get nine airbags as standard. In addition, this Euro NCAP 5 star-rated SUV gets dynamic stability control, adaptive cruise control, driver alert system, lane assist, and blind spot detection. It also gets multi-collision brake, wherein if someone crashes into your Kodiaq from behind, the car will brake and come to a stop instead of crashing into another car or object ahead. When it goes on sale, the Kodiaq will be one of the safest cars in the sub-Rs 50 lakh market.
The Skoda Kodiaq is more of a family SUV than a hardcore sports utility vehicle. It is priced just above Rs.35 lakhs (on-road) and is slightly lower than the Endeavour and Fortuner, but falls in line with the Volkswagen Tiguan. The Kodiaq manages to distinguish itself quite well and for buyers in this segment, it is a good option. If you are looking for easy driving, good space, comfort and lot of features, then the Skoda Kodiaq can be a good choice.