Skoda has definitely arrived a bit late to the SUV party, considering it is part of the VAG conglomerate which hasn’t been shy in plugging the SUV holes in the market. However, better late than never. After showing us the Kodiaq concept at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, and after a number teaser reveals, some inadvertently and others purposely, Skoda has finally taken the covers of the new Kodiaq, their first SUV and now, the flagship of the Skoda brand.
The Kodiaq closest relative, mechanically, would be the new Tiguan with which it shares the MQB platform. At 4.7m long, its main competitors in India is the Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Endeavour and the Toyota Fortuner, and like the competition, the Kodiaq is a true seven seater. The seating arrangement is also very flexible, with both the seats capable of being folded flat to the floor, to liberate 2,065 litre of luggage space, something which Skoda is very keen emphasize.
While the number of teaser shots, camouflaged vehicles and artistic renders had given us a fair idea of what the Kodiaq would look like, it would be fair to say, looking at the final design, the Kodiaq would be one of the best looking mid-range SUVs once it hits the market. The sharp cuts and creases, which is a feature of the current Skoda family-look, is there in abundance on the Kodiaq. A strong shoulder line starts off from the top of the headlights and ends as ridge along the rear hatchback, with intersecting lines and triangular shapes on the body panels. Those 19 inch wheels are optional along with that stunning alloy design, for the most powerful engines.
The interior has less of the sharp lines of the outside and instead is rather simply laid out, with a large central display system integrated into the dashboard, flanked by vertically oriented A/C vents. The infotainment system, other than boasting of improved graphics and sharpness, comes with the what Skoda calls the Skoda Connect features.
Essentially, it allows seamless integration with your smartphone using Android Auto and Apple Carplay, along with emergency services, real time information about the car and an improved navigation which displays Google Street View and other information like weather updates, fuel prices, traffic conditions and pre-saved destinations. There are four different types of the central display in increasing size and features offered, from the 6.5 inch Swing system to the 8.0 inch Amundsen system.
A number of features on the Skoda Kodiaq has been branded as Skoda as ‘Simply Clever’, like the small panels that come out when the door is opened and protect the edges from hitting the wall or the car next to it. Also, the Area View system which creates a virtual top-down view of the car using cameras mounted around the body. The Kodiaq comes with a large number of driver assist systems as standard, many of which, like the Adaptive Cruise Control, pedestrian detection, Lane Assist and Emergency brake assist might not be available in India, thanks to our strict laws regarding the use of radar systems for civilian purposes.
At around 1500 kg, the Kodiaq isnt that heavy for its size, and the four cylinder turbocharged engines on offer should be enough for respectable performance figures. There are three engines on offer at launch, a 2.0-litre TDI with power figures ranging from 145 bhp to 187 bhp, a pair of petrol engines, the familiar 1.4-litre TSI and a 2.0-litre TSI. The smallest petrol, the 1.4-litre TSI has a power output of 124 bhp and is available in front wheel drive combination and with a six speed manual. The more powerful engines are offered with six or seven speed DSG transmissions, depending on the torque output. Skoda India might narrow these choices to the 2.0-litre engines with DSG and four-wheel-drive, since it is aiming for the premium end of the market. The all-wheel-drive system is a Haldex based multiclutch system, with an electronic differential. In keeping with the premium image, Skoda might also make some features which are optional, like the driving mode select, and the adaptive chassis control, standard in the Kodiaq launched here in India.
Unfortunately though, the Kodiaq is not going to come in a hurry to India. Expected to reach here only in the middle of next year, we will have to wait for what seems to be a brilliant, European, luxurious SUV in a market which is dominated by the Japanese and the Koreans.