Skoda throws the VW Group kitchen sink at new Kodiaq
Skoda isn't the best known member of the Volkswagen Group, but it's a member worth taking notice of. From the capable Superb through to the punchy Octavia vRS, it's proof platform sharing benefits all the brands involved. The Kodiaq is yet more evidence, picking and choosing the best bits from the MQB parts bin, and packaging them up in a practical SUV body.
Leading up to the launch of the Kodiaq, Skoda put the car through an elaborate strip tease. We got a glimpse of its headlamps and a fleeting glance at the interior, but this is the first time the world has been given a look at the car in its entirety ... and to our eyes it looks pretty good.
The latest VW Group SUV is long, at 4.7 m (15.4 ft), but manages to be light as well. In base two-wheel drive trim, it tips the scales at just 1,452 kg (3,201 lb), and fully-loaded four-wheel drive models weigh just 1,540 kg (3,395 lb). By way of comparison, the Jaguar F Pace is almost identical in length, but weighs at least 1,665 kg (3,671 lb).
Inside, a lot of work has been done to make sure everything looks and feels premium. From the electric push-button handbrake to the optional heated steering wheel, Skoda has tried to cram in as much high-end kit as possible. Tick the right option boxes, and rear seat passengers get their own climate controls, making it easier to keep the kids happy on long road trips.
Meanwhile, the driver gets to play with a 6.5-inch central touchscreen complete with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink connectivity. The car will call the police in an accident, and the Skoda Connect app provides information about parking, weather, traffic and fuel pricing.
Along with the rear-seat climate control, plenty of attention has been paid to making the Kodiaq a willing family companion. On top of the whopping 720L (25.4 cu.ft) boot, there are little touches like pop out door protectors packed in to make sure the car can stand up to the rough-and-tumble without breaking a sweat.
When it comes to looking after the family, the other crucial area is active safety. After all, the best way to keep precious cargo safe is to avoid having an accident in the first place. On top of the auto-emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot warnings and cross-traffic alerts, there's a 360-degree camera to help with parking.
Anyone who's nervous about towing will also appreciate the tow assist system, which takes over the steering during low-speed reversing to avoid jackknifing.
There are three petrol models in the range, two of which are powered by a 1.4-liter turbo motor making 92 kW (123 hp) or 110 kW (148 hp). The range topping 2.0-liter turbo punches out 132 kW (177 hp) of power and 320 Nm of torque, and uses cylinder deactivation to save fuel under light loads.
Diesel power is provided by a choice of two 2.0-liter TDI engines, one with 110 kW (148 hp) and another with 140 kW (188 hp). Skoda is claiming the base model sips just 5.0 l/100 km (47 MPG) on the combined cycle, although whether you'd be able to replicate those figures under regular conditions is another question. The engines can be combined with a six-speed manual gearbox, or six and seven-speed double-clutch gearboxes.
Skoda will give the public its first taste of the Kodiaq at the Paris Motor Show, where New Atlas will be on the ground covering all the action. Expect it to hit showrooms early next year.