Skoda Kodiaq review 2021

The Kodiaq is a large SUV available with seven seats

£26,057
Average price
Loading...
2
Out of 5

Pros

  • Hugely spacious interior
  • Good to drive
  • Great value

Cons

  • Seven seats not standard
  • More safety kit could be included
  • Firm ride on largest wheels
  • MPG

    37 - 62

  • CO2

    119 - 171 g/km

  • Video

  • Price Guide

  • Trims

  • Summary

Model review

Skoda has a fantastic reputation when it comes to producing affordable, practical and versatile family cars, but had never produced a seven-seater. That changed in recent years with the arrival of the Kodiaq, a large new SUV to rival the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe. 

Sitting above the Yeti – now Karoq – in the brand’s range, the Kodiaq is named after the Kodiak bear that lives on a remote island off Alaska, and after many months of being teased, Skoda finally revealed it in September 2016. Boasting the largest boot in its class, a smart new design and state of the art technology, it quickly became a key part in Skoda’s line-up. 

It was soon joined by a range of further derivatives, including a rugged-looking Scout option, racier-looking SportLine version and a range-topping Laurin & Klement model that added in further luxury. In 2019 it was joined by the sportiest version yet – the vRS. It remains the first and only time that the performance badge has appeared on a Skoda SUV and delivered a strong mix of performance and efficiency from its 2.0-litre biturbo diesel engine.

Latest model

The first major changes for the Kodiaq came in 2021 with a mid-life facelifted version. Given what a solid base Skoda had already, the changes aren’t huge, but design updates to look out for include a wider hexagonal grille, slimmer LED headlights (Matrix LEDs are fitted on all but entry-level SE Cars) and larger rear spoiler at the rear. 

Greater driver assistance technology was also available as an option, while Skoda also noticeably bolstered the list of standard kit included, albeit joined by an increase in pricing. 

The other key change was that the vRS switched from diesel to petrol power, with Skoda now using a 242bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine in its sportiest model – interestingly it’s the same unit that you find in the Volkswagen Golf GTI. 

Value for money

Though Skoda’s models have moved more upmarket in recent years, by and large its cars are still good value for money, and the Kodiaq is no exception. With prices starting from £28,165 you do get an awful lot of car for your money – both in terms of physical metal and also in equipment, with an eight-inch touchscreen, LED headlights, keyless entry and dual-zone climate control all included. 

The only downside is that the Kodiaq doesn’t get five seats as standard, and you’ll need to pay an extra £1,500 for these, though they are included on all but the entry-level S and SE models.  

Used Kodiaqs are a solid buy too, and though prices are remaining quite firm, decent savings are still available on used examples. At the time of writing a four-year-old car with relatively low mileage would still cost you £20,000, with savings minimal on nearly-new cars. 

Looks and image

here’s no disguising the sheer size of the Kodiaq, but it’s undoubtedly one of the smartest looking large SUVs on the market. Neat LED lights at the front and rear, as well as just the right amount of plastic cladding, give it smart styling without it having to try too hard. If you want something more visually exciting, you can always choose the bolder SportLine or vRS models, which certainly give the Kodiaq plenty of street cred. 

Though the design of the Kodiaq’s interior isn’t especially exciting, what you can’t knock it for is quality, which is among the best in this segment, and actually makes it feel more premium than mainstream. All versions now feature a large touchscreen with wireless smartphone mirroring, with top-end versions using a 9.2-inch screen that’s brilliantly integrated into the dashboard. The ergonomics are generally excellent, and contribute to what a great car it would be to live with. 

You probably wouldn’t expect a large SUV to be anything special to drive, but that’s where the Kodiaq will surprise you. Granted, it’s no hot hatch, but it’s a lot more enjoyable than you would expect, with direct steering and limited body roll making it the best car in this segment where driving pleasure is concerned. This isn’t at the expense of ride comfort, either, as it also impresses in this area. 

Video review

Space and practicality

Plenty of space is a must from a large SUV and the Kodiaq absolutely excels. Its interior really is vast, and there’s a huge amount of room in the second row, meaning five adults can quite easily travel in comfort with a boot full of luggage. The boot itself measures 700 litres, or a van-like 2,065 with all rear seats folded, so you’re unlikely to ever need more room

Though seven seats aren’t fitted as standard to all SE models, they’re well worth having as they neatly stow into the boot when not in use. As with most models in this segment, they’re better for children than adults, but would still be fine for smaller trips. 

Engines

Though the Kodiaq is yet to be available with an electrified option – unlike many rivals – a broad range of petrol and diesel engines means you still have plenty of options to choose from.

Let’s start with the petrol range, which kicks off with a 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol that’s available with a choice of manual and automatic gearboxes. Further up the range is a punchy 187bhp 2.0-litre petrol, which comes with a DSG automatic transmission and four-wheel-drive as standard, while at the top of the range is the vRS, which uses a powerful 242bhp 2.0-litre petrol, again with an automatic and four-wheel-drive. With a 0-60mph time of 6.4 seconds, this is the quickest Kodiaq in the range. 

However, diesel engines still work well in a large SUV like this and there’s a 2.0-litre TDI turbocharged unit available with either 148bhp or 197bhp. Both come with a DSG automatic gearbox as standard, with the lesser option having the choice of front- or four-wheel-drive, and the latter only coming as a 4x4. As it can go from 0-60mph in 7.5 seconds, it’s a surprisingly punchy choice. 

Running costs

If running costs are important it’s worth looking at the diesels first – specifically the front-wheel-drive 148bhp version as this is the cleanest in the range. Skoda claims up to 52.3mpg and 141g/km CO2 emissions, which are both impressive figures for an SUV of this size. At the other end of the spectrum, the vRS will return just 30mpg, while 200g/km CO2 emissions are quite steep. 

Insurance premiums should also be comparatively low too, and range from 17 through to 30. 

Things to look out for

Skoda has a solid reputation for its cars’ reliability and the Kodiaq is no exception to that rule. Faulty sat navs are some of the most reported concerns, but again are quite small niggles in the scheme of things. 

As with any large SUV of this size, it’s well worth paying special attention to any bodywork damage that comes from children banging doors against other cars, as well as looking out for any signs of scratched or scuffed trim, though the Kodiaq should be quite hard wearing.

Rivals

Some of the Kodiaq’s closest rivals are its siblings – the Seat Taracco and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, both of which are also worth considering. Other great options in this class include the Kia Sorento, Peugeot 5008 and Hyundai Santa Fe. If you fancy something slightly more upmarket, you should take a look at the Land Rover Discovery Sport.

Depreciation

Large SUVs tend to be quite desirable used options and the Kodiaq is no exception. Though you’ll be able to save several thousand pounds by looking for examples that are a few years old, you’ll struggle to see decent savings on nearly-new cars. 

Which Kodiaq to pick

Cheapest to buy when new

1.5 TSI SE Drive 5dr DSG

Most MPG

2.0 TDI SE Drive 5dr DSG

Fastest model (0-60)

2.0 TSI 245 vRS 4x4 5dr DSG [7 Seat]

Trims explained

Skoda offers five trim levels on the Kodiaq, with equipment highlights and prices as follows.

SE –

All Kodiaq models get plenty of equipment, with SE versions coming with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights with washers, front fog lights, electric and heated door mirrors and black roof rails. An eight-inch touchscreen with wireless smartphone mirroring and DAB radio is also included, along with dual-zone climate control, cruise control, keyless entry, automatic lights and wipers and rear parking sensors.

From £28,185

SE L

Upgrade to the SE L and you then get seven seats as standard, along with larger 19-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior styling, full Matrix LED headlights and electric folding mirrors. It also features microsuede and leather upholstery, heated front seats, satellite navigation, wireless smartphone charging, front parking sensors and an electric boot.

From £32,430

SportLine

As the name suggests, this trim brings sportier looks, achieved with a black styling pack, sports steering wheel, 20-inch alloy wheels, microsuede sports seats and multicoloured LED interior lighting.

From £36,430

L&K

Named after Skoda’s founders Laurin & Klement, this grade adds a panoramic sunroof, electric and ventilated front seats with memory function, leather upholstery, heated steering wheel, a heated windscreen and lane assist.

From £42,255

vRS – from £45,170

The vRS is the performance version of the Kodiaq, packing large 20-inch alloy wheels, a vRS exterior styling package and upgraded sports seats. Dynamic chassis control is also included, allowing you to switch between the car’s various driving modes.

From £45,170

Summary

  1. Skoda’s largest SUV
  2. Especially roomy interior
  3. Though seen seats not standard on all versions
  4. Good to drive
  5. Plenty of standard kit included
  6. Well-built interior
  7. Broad range of petrol and diesel engines
  8. Sporty vRS model available
  9. Holds value well
  10. One of the best large SUVs on the market

Related news

View Skoda news archive
View all Motors.co.uk reviews