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Road Test: Skoda Kodiaq Edition 2.0 TDI (150PS) DSG 4×4

Skoda practicality in a fashionable SUV – the Kodiaq can’t go far wrong, says Alex Grant.

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SECTOR: Crossover PRICE: £33,125-£34,975 FUEL: 49.6mpg CO2: 149g/km

For a manufacturer which prides itself on clever solutions to family life, it’s a little odd that it’s taken 26 years of progressively higher-stake Volkswagen Group ownership before Skoda got its first seven-seater. However, where others have had to revise their old MPV-based product plans, the Kodiaq has arrived well-tuned to market trends.

This is, obviously, not a SEAT Alhambra with a Skoda badge; the flagship of the range is a three-row crossover. It’s roughly the same size as an Audi Q5, but with established SUVs such as the Nissan X-Trail, Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe, as well as newcomers such as the Renault Koleos and Ford Edge, firmly in its sights.

It’s the top of a new SUV line-up for Skoda, with the forthcoming Karoq indirectly replacing the Yeti and – though there’s been no talk of it yet – it’s likely that there will be a Fabia-sized crossover at some point, given the popularity of that sort of product. That there’s a hint of the SEAT Ateca in this car’s swage line, and the Karoq’s, is no coincidence; all of them are built on the same production line. The Kodiaq may offer some hints as to SEAT’s forthcoming three-row SUV too.

Entry-level versions are staggeringly good value, but the Superb’s top-weighted trim mix in the UK suggests few will go for the most pared-back models. In range-topping Edition guise, it’s priced right up into premium brand territory and for the most part feels perfectly comfortable there. Plenty of black or beige leather, soft-touch plastics and chrome, and Skoda’s excellent 9.2-inch high-resolution touchscreen – with prerequisite Android and Apple connectivity – all stop it feeling like a value-led proposition. It’s quiet at speed, rides neatly and doesn’t feel overly unwieldy on rural roads.

Not all of this car’s closest competitors offer seven seats, and Skoda charges £850 to add them. They’re a useful feature for emergencies, and there’s room for adults in the third row, but they’re low on padding and really only suited to short-distance use. Access is good, though, with long rear doors and a middle row that slides forward by 180mm if needed, and an under-floor compartment for the load cover just inside the tailgate. The only feature it lacks is a bench that folds and slides in three sections.

And it’s not just sheer size in the Kodiaq’s favour; families will welcome the two large gloveboxes on the passenger side, cup holders which enable one-handed opening of bottles, and a removable, reversible section of the centre console to fit whatever you’re storing. It also gets umbrellas in each of the front doors, though they’re arguably a less essential item than front parking sensors, which even the Edition makes do without.

The likely best-seller is the 148bhp 2.0-litre TDI, as tested here, which is also available with a manual gearbox and front-wheel drive. It’s a reasonably refined diesel engine and almost as frugal as the official economy figures suggest – helped by the DSG’s ability to decouple the engine to save fuel when it’s not working hard.

However, at 149g/km in this spec, or 131g/km even with two-wheel drive, it’s a car for those with reasonably flexible choice lists, and the lower-priced, equally powerful 1.4 TSI petrol falls into the same BiK banding. It’s a surprisingly good fit, considering how large the Kodiaq is, and yet another feature that feels neatly tuned to the way this part of the market is heading.

What We Think:

Another great Skoda product, albeit lacking a very low-CO2 small diesel engine to widen its appeal in fleets – especially compared to the popular Superb. As is the case with its closest rivals, it’s food for thought for those who might otherwise look at a premium-brand offering.

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Alex Grant

Trained on Cardiff University’s renowned Postgraduate Diploma in Motor Magazine Journalism, Alex is an award-winning motoring journalist with ten years’ experience across B2B and consumer titles. A life-long car enthusiast with a fascination for new technology and future drivetrains, he joined Fleet World in April 2011, contributing across the magazine and website portfolio and editing the EV Fleet World Website.