Skoda’s handsome and beautifully-packaged Kodiaq SUV launched back in May 2017, and went on to win the New Zealand Car of the Year award thanks to this seven-seat SUV’s all-round capabilities, and its excellent value.
It uses the Volkswagen Group MQB platform, on a VW Passat wheelbase. The Kodiaq name originates from the Alaskan Island ‘Kodiak’ which also gives its name to the largest brown bear still alive today. It was a bit of a bear in terms of its power output however its dimensions aren’t particularly large coming in at just 4697mm long and 2087mm wide, mirror to mirror.
The Kodiaq is available in five specification levels and with three engine capacities there’s something for everyone. Pricing for the family SUV starts at a very competitive $42,990 for their 2WD petrol entry model up to our tow test model - the Turbo Diesel 4x4 at $61,990 +ORC which produces an impressive 400 Nm of torque.
With a towing capacity of 2000kg, we opted for a lighter Haines Hunter 545 boat (1350kg) to represent the kind of load / boat majority of SUV owners would generally tow with.
|At a glance|
|Engine||2.0 Turbo Diesel|
|Power||140kw at 3500rpm-4500rpm|
|Towing Capacity Braked||2000kg|
|Towing Capacity Unbraked||N/A|
The reversing camera was clear and lining the vehicle up to the bar was straight forward. Once connected the vehicle warned us that Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) had automatically detected the presence of a trailer and disabled the BSM system. Being a European model, we were pleasantly surprised to be able to connect the trailer with no need for clumsy electrical adaptors.
On the hill section of our test the Kodiaqs performance was impressive, accelerating from 50kph to 80kph at about 3200 rpm without hesitation. Paddle shifters also allowed us to quickly drop down through the gears with a responsive DSG. We had the choice of 5 driving modes which, however during our testing we kept the Kodiaq in normal mode. The power and torque were delivered progressively and we were never in a position where we were looking for a power button.
The suspension was a bit on the firm side, which did lead to a little bit of jostling around town and over rougher country road surfaces, but at higher speeds it did smoothen out.
Cruising the motorway, this turbo diesel coupled to a seven speed DSG saw the vehicle drift along at a mere 1700rpm in 6th gear. We did manage to push 7th gear with 1500 rpm at 90 kph, however it was much happier in 6th gear for obvious reasons. The Skoda tracked straight and true on the motorway and we were assisted on occasion by its active lane keep assist feature.
The Kodiaq performed well in our brake test, stopping confidently without slip in relatively dry conditions. During the rest of the tow test the brakes could be applied progressively but they still had enough bite when required. This vehicle also has autonomous braking and Electronic brake force distribution which made us feel more confident about stopping.
Things we didn’t like:
- The reflective dash panel on the passenger side picked up a bit of glare
- A slight rattle around the rear towing connection on uneven surfaces
- The vehicle became a little unsettled with cross winds.
Not so sure about it being a big brown bear as its name suggests? With its conservative size and practical seven seat configuration, it is a great all-rounder and a decent tow vehicle.