5 April 2018

Skoda Kodiaq 2018 Car Review

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.

Skoda Kodiaq Sportline jm 18
Skoda Kodiaq
Skoda Kodiaq Sportline jm2 18
Skoda Kodiaq
Skoda Kodiaq Sportline jm3 18
Skoda Kodiaq
Skoda Kodiaq Sportline jm4 18
Skoda Kodiaq
Skoda Kodiaq Sportline jm7 18 crop
Skoda Kodiaq

It plays in a packed segment, and against the big-volume seven-seat players: think Mazda CX-9, Hyundai Santa Fe and Holden Captiva.

Given the popularity of SUVs, it’s perhaps not surprising that Skoda decided to capitalize on the winning formula by introducing two new variants, including this Sportline, which went on sale in March to top the range and attract buyers from a pricier bracket.

As the name suggests, there’s a more dynamic, sporty focus to this Kodiaq, which now gets 20-inch alloy wheels and performance tyres, plus changes to exterior trim, the addition of roof rails, and tinted windows.

The cabin adds sportier seats with contrast-stitched Alcantara and leather, plus silver-coloured footpedals.

It also gets a digital performance monitor, which lets the keen driver view oil and coolant temperatures, boost pressure and acceleration levels, and lap times so that in the unlikely event the owner throws the kids and spouse out and takes in a track day, they can later analyse their performance lap by lap.

Our press vehicle had the 132kW 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine – there’s also a turbo diesel – mated to the VW group seven-speed DSG transmission and, of course, four-wheel drive.

This system sends only 10 per cent of torque to the rear wheels under normal driving, but if the car’s sensors detect slip, they’ll send up to 50 per cent to the rears, and can even throw 85 per cent of all the available torque to just one wheel, to get you out of trouble.

That said, the weather stayed dry during our test, and we stuck mainly to tarmac, and a bit of rural gravel back-roading.

Either way, at times this Kodiaq felt slightly schizoid. Three rows, seven seats, sensible boot, equally sensible lines, and what superficially might seem like a relatively small engine for such a roomy vehicle?

But modern engine technology can pack a real punch, and any Kodiaq sporting this engine delivers it across a mighty wide spread of revs, for peak torque comes on from 1500rpm, and stays there until 3940rpm – just over the 3900 at which power peaks, leaving you surfing that peak all the way to 6000rpm, provided your passengers are tolerant of brisk driving…

Mind you, there’s barely more performance on offer than you get from the Style variant. It’s the same engine, and also allows some chassis personalization via drive modes and Chassis Control with adaptive suspension. The Sportline’s bigger wheels come with stickier rubber, but the same family-friendly chassis compliance. So it does corner quicker, but above those grippy tyres the chassis still cushions your ride, which means this Kodiaq can feel a smidge less composed.

As for features, this SUV is loaded. Nine airbags include sides for the front two rows as well as curtains, there are front and rear park sensors as well as cameras all round. There’s an emergency braking system with pedestrian protection, rear traffic alert that activates an emergency brake if obstacles are detected while reversing — great when school is letting out, or you must reverse into a busy road; less great if, like our tester, your bush section keeps triggering it as you try to leave home. Fortunately a simple flip through the menus lets you switch that one off…

Useful features include an electrically-operated tailgate you can trigger by waving a foot, fabulous when you’ve got armfuls of shopping and struggling toddlers. There’s triple-zone climate-control air, front and rear heated seats, satnav, a nine-speaker surround-sound infotainment system, and typically-thoughtful Skoda touches, like an ice scraper on the fuel flap, that massive boot, and an even more capacious one with the seats folded – flat load floor, too.

And then there are the options. Like long road trips? An extra $750 brings head cushions with side support for sleeping passengers out back, plus a rollup sunshade and rear sunset glass. Kids ape Houdini? Add a separately controlled child safety lock. You’ll pay $2500 for the panoramic sunroof fitted to the press car, or $750 for a heated windscreen, and $1850 for a factory-fit towbar and Trailer Assist.

That this Kodiaq Sportline isn’t expected to head to the track is obvious from the fact a 1.4-litre is available in some markets. That it’s meant to look as if it could is equally obvious from its lap timer.

If you have the budget it may be worth the $62,990 price for what you get in terms of size, useability and features. But it’s a given that it’ll be families buying – who else needs seven seats – and that few of those will want to throw their Kodiaq around when it’s packed to the gunwales with kids and chattels.

Which for those more influenced by budget than looks makes the entry-level start price of $42,990 look a whole lot better, and the almost equally loaded Style version top the Sportline at six thou less.


At a glance


Skoda Kodiaq Sportline


2.0-litre turbo petrol tested


$62,990 (diesel, $67,990)

ANCAP safety rating


Power and Torque

132kW at 3900-6000rpm, 320Nm at 1500 tp 3940rpm


Seven-speed DSG auto

Fuel economy


Towing capacity

2000kg braked



Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

630 litres (third row folded)

Safety systems

Nine airbags

Front, side and rear cameras

Adaptive cruise control

Lane Assist

Blind Spot Detect

Drowsiness detection

Trailer Assist

Computer-controlled park assist

Previous review
Next review
VW e-Golf 2018 Car Review
Read more
BMW X2 2018 Car Review
Read more