- Inexpensive for a seven-seat SUV
- Roomy, good-quality interior
- Satisfying to drive
- High-spec versions cost as much as premium-brand rivals
- Some rivals are more comfortable
- Some safety features are optional extras
The Skoda Kodiaq is a large, family-friendly SUV that costs the same as some of its much more compact rivals. You get a practical car that’s available with seven seats and offers great value for money.
But the Kodiaq is about more than just robust, cost-effective family transport. It’s also a very desirable SUV, with smart styling inside and out, excellent interior quality and lots of high-tech features. It’s one of the more fun SUVs to drive, too. Four-wheel drive versions are well-suited if you live in a remote area or regularly tow a caravan or trailer.
There are plenty of engines and equipment levels to choose from, including sensible and simple models and those with a more luxurious character. For really keen drivers there’s the powerful and sporty vRS model, too.
The first word that comes to mind when describing the Kodiaq’s interior is ‘big’. Five-seat and seven-seat versions are available and the five-seater’s 720-litre boot capacity is almost as much as you get in the much bigger and more expensive BMW X5. With the third row of seats folded away, the seven-seater model has a boot capacity of 630 litres which is still enough for four large suitcases or a couple of large dogs.
The Kodiaq accommodates people equally well. There’s loads of headroom and legroom in the front two rows, and you can slide the second-row seats back and forth to adjust legroom as needed. There’s not as much space in the pair of third-row seats but they’re perfect if you want to bring family or friends along on shorter trips.
Up front, the dashboard has an elegant look and a high-quality feel, while the eight-inch central touchscreen is easy to use.
The Kodiaq is surprisingly enjoyable to drive for a big off-roader, with a responsive and nimble feel. Sportline models are especially agile, although their larger alloy wheels make the ride a bit more bumpy.
Whichever version you go for, the Kodiaq is an excellent car for long journeys, with a smooth and stable feel at speed and very little noise in the interior.
The smooth and powerful diesels suit the Kodiaq well, especially if you regularly carry seven people or use it as a tow car. The high-performance diesel-powered vRS version is very quick. Still, the petrol-powered models are a great choice if you cover fewer miles.
The high-spec models in the Kodiaq range are very well equipped, but they are a little pricey – mid-spec models like the SE Drive, SE L and Sportline versions provide the best balance of cost against equipment.
For running costs, the diesel models are the best bet, as the more relaxed nature of their power delivery makes them more efficient at moving what is quite a heavy car. In fact, the lower-powered 2.0-litre diesel can manage an impressive 47mpg, according to official figures.
The petrol models are perfectly capable, though, especially the 1.5-litre, which should get you about 40mpg.
The Kodiaq is available in both four-wheel drive and two-wheel drive, but the two-wheel-drive cars are the more fuel-efficient choice.
As a brand, Skoda finished an impressive second in the JD Power 2019 UK Vehicle Dependability Study, so the Kodiaq should prove to be a reliable choice.
It certainly feels like a quality product, and it shares many mechanical and electrical parts with various Audi and Volkswagen models since all are part of the larger VW Group.
When it comes to safety, the Kodiaq scores highly. It achieved a full five stars from the independent Euro NCAP safety assessment programme. Although some of the safety kit – like blind spot warning and lane departure warning – is only standard on top-spec versions, all Kodiaqs have automatic emergency braking as standard.
Best for economy - 2.0 TDI SE L
Best for family - 1.5 TSI 150 SE L
Best for fun - vRS
SE L trim is the sweet spot in the Kodiaq range because it gives you desirable features such as microsuede seat trim, keyless entry, an electric boot lid and heated front seats.
Unlike every other version, the seven-seat configuration is only an optional extra on entry-level SE models, so if you’re looking at an SE, make sure its seat layout is specified.