The ultimate SUV for a one-car Singaporean family? Skoda’s seven-seat SUV, the Kodiaq, crams so much into one package it could well be just that
What’s with the spelling errors?
It’s de riguer for an SUV to have weird, edgy spelling though it’s hardly the kind of transgression we’ve seen elsewhere. The Kodiaq is Skoda’s large, seven seat SUV.
Wait, brand that starts with ‘S’, is part of the VW Group, VW-level tech for not so much money..that’s familiar…
You’re thinking Seat, but now there’s Skoda of course. Both have been in Singapore before, under different hands.
The former, a Spanish brand, returned at the end of 2016 with the dealership by Vertex Euro Motors. Skoda has made a more recent comeback, in just March of 2018.
Oh so they’re same same but different…but still the same?
You could say they’re almost but not entirely quite unlike one another.
Yet, Skoda’s doing very well right out of the gate: Up till June, it has sold 31 cars to Seat’s 62, but it’s only been selling cars for a third of the time (two months, March and June).
There are two reasons to explain its success: One is semi-official backing by being part of Volkswagen Singapore.
The other is selling cars that are pretty much re-defining what car buyers should expect for their money.
The Skoda Octavia VRS is pretty much the performance bargain of the year, if not the past half decade. And while the VRS’ big horsepower will grab headlines, it’s cars like the Kodiaq SUV that will really help Skoda fill its sales quotas.
WAIT. Vaguely animal name, SUV that’s bigger and cooler…
The Kodiaq is based on the also-animal-named Volkswagen Tiguan, the Tiguan having appeared here in its impressive second-gen form early last year.
Both have the same MQB platform underpinnings, 1.4 and 2.0-litre engine choices.
The Tiguan has three variants here, two 1.4 models (Comfortline and Highline) and the 2.0 R-Line model (2.0 driven here), while the Kodiaq as one of each, the 1.4 Ambition Plus, and the 2.0 4×4 Style, driven here.
While the Tiguan is a useful point of comparison, technology wise, it’s not actually a competitor to the Kodiaq: the Skoda has seven seats, and is significantly bigger, not to mention cheaper.
It’s wider, almost 50cm longer (481mm more), and with a 114mm longer wheelbase of 2,791mm. The Kodiaq 2.0 is $30k cheaper than the Tiguan R-Line, while the 1.4 is, at $130,900 with COE, $7,500 cheaper, while packing more equipment.
All of this puts the Kodiaq 2.0 in direct contention with cars like the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe, while the 1.4 can take on cars like the Nissan X-Trail and Mitsubishi Outlander.
So that’s probably why it’s named after a big-ass bear. Does it drive like a Tiguan?
The Kodiaq is less powerful and slower than the Tiguan (177hp compared to 220hp), but despite the extra dimensions, it drives in a very similar fashion.
There is a tiny bit more road noise in the Skoda, and it does feel larger to drive especially when parking.
Yet the adaptive suspension, all-wheel drive traction, and generous thrust from the turbocharged 2.0-litre engine means it doesn’t lumber from point to point, but instead has a surprising amount of pace and grace.
As a big, seven-seat SUV, it’s obviously not the most agile thing around, but compared to the competition it holds up very well indeed.
With adaptive suspension (DCC) as standard, you can use the drive modes to alter the car’s character significantly. Like the Tiguan there’s a certain thumpiness to the ride that never quite goes away (thank the fashionable 19-inch wheels), but it’s not bone-jarring, and the Comfort setting offsets it a little.
So it doesn’t crash around in growly fashion…
Actually no, not at all.
In fact that driving, and living with, the Kodiaq is actually not a hairy, wild experience but instead quite civilised. The plethora of features and equipment give those onboard the distinct feeling of being cosseted.
For the driver, it’s things like the adaptive cruise control, blind spot indicators, autonomous front braking, automatic parking system, 360-degree view camera and more, all leaving you less to do, safely.
The onboard ‘Columbus’ infotainment system is on par with VW’s Discover Pro model, meaning a slick, hi-res 9.2-inch touchscreen with fully modern features like navigation, smartphone control, wireless device charging (above), a great-sounding Canton sound system, and more.
What about the other victims, I mean passengers. Hey, we can’t bear it.
Bear names can be polar-ising, we know.
Passengers will enjoy the panoramic sunroof, the adjustable second-row seats (backrest, slide), plus the plentiful leg and headroom.
The third-row is decent, with enough space for adults on shorter journeys, though cubs will do much better. The boot is big – 270-litres with all seats in play, 630-litres with the third row down, and 2,500 litres with all passenger seats folded down.
The places where Skoda has saved money aren’t even that obvious, either. The door handles are hard plastic, which you’d never find in a VW, and perhaps some of the presentation graphics aren’t as polished, but that’s about it.
In any case, the Kodiaq has extra, practical touches, such as the in-door plastic bash guards, and integrated umbrella, that make you feel somebody really did put a lot of effort into making something pleasing to use. It’s truly more of a carebear than the one of the world’s largest terrestrial predators.
So, is the Kodiaq, too hot, too cold, or just nice?
For a family that wants space and the style an SUV brings, the Kodiaq brings a lot to the table (cave?).
While both have animal names and a shared ancestry, the Skoda Kodiaq is a very different creature from its Volkswagen Tiguan forebear.
With European tech, plenty of features, and a price tag that puts it in competition with the Japanese and the Koreans, the Kodiaq appears fearsome to rivals, but very cuddly to its owners.
Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 Style
|Engine||1,984cc, inline 4, turbocharged|
|Power||177hp at 3900-6000rpm|
|Torque||320Nm at 1400-3940rpm|
|VES / CO2||C1 / 171g/km CO2|
|Price||$161,900 with COE|