Skoda Kodiaq review

A large, seven-seat SUV is all about the interior, you might argue, given the genre has effectively replaced MPVs. And Skoda seems to have taken that to heart, because inside, the Kodiaq is a very nice place to be.

Practical matters first: the old car was spacious, and an additional 63mm of length makes this one even more palatial. With the rear seat in its standard position, you can stretch out, almost like in a Mercedes S-Class. The bench itself usefully folds 40/20/40, while providing good under-thigh support.

The third row (which is standard on most Kodiaqs in the UK) is tighter, of course, but by sliding the second row forwards, you can just about cram in seven adults. None of them will be too happy about it, but it’s better than walking.

A usable amount of boot space remains even with all the seats up, too. The five-seater boasts 910 litres.

You can’t have a seven-seat PHEV, because the third row seats and the battery occupy the same space. Skoda’s engineers say they did consider one, but they would have had to compromise the battery size and the fuel tank. Indeed, the Kia Sorento PHEV, which does have seven seats, offers less than half the Kodiaq’s EV range.

The real revolution is in the general design and ambience. As with the Skoda Enyaq electric SUV, you choose a trim and then one of four ‘design selections’ that match all the interior materials. Some work better than others, but the one with the grey faux leather and wool and wood inserts felt a cut above some of the symphonies in plastic being churned out by the ‘premium’ car makers. 

This is not to say select parts of the interior felt cheap, because they did. While it generally looks and feels nice, the material around the glovebox feels and sounds like a thin layer of cloth draped over an equally papery sheet of plastic.

The user interface, however, gives you the sense that the engineers put some real though into how you might want to use a car. On the road. While driving. Figure that. The overall button count has been reduced, sure, but once you’ve set up some shortcuts, the latest generation of Skoda’s multimedia system puts important functions just a single press away. Unlike previous iterations, it also responds instantly.

The new ‘smart dials’ that made their debut in the Superb help too. There are two dials that control the temperature and heated seats and one to which you can map up to four functions, like zooming the map and changing the fan speed and driving mode. Once you get used to it, it works remarkably well, and without overloading the dashboard with buttons.

Our only gripe with them is that they feel quite cheap and flimsy to use, and their integration with Apple CarPlay looks clumsy and unfinished, with your chosen screen being blanked off and interrupted each time you adjust the HVAC controls and heated seat ferocity.

We encountered some other issues. Some of the electrical systems threw up glitches, with the car failing to recognise the key fob when the car was in motion and cutting the engine out, as well as temperamental ADAS functions. This particular test car was on an outdated software version and we’ve not noticed the same with other Skodas, but it is slightly worrying.

Other gripes? Space has been freed up in the centre console by turning the gear lever into a column stalk where the wiper controls once sat. This leaves the left-hand stalk to perform 14 different functions depending on how you push, pull or click it, which is confusing to get used to.

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