QUICK TEST: Skoda Kodiaq is a seven-seat beast
KODIAQ IS PRICED TO IMPRESS
The all-wheel-drive Skoda Kodiaq is a well-appointed seven-seater that, at $46,240 driveaway, cost similar money to mid-sized SUVs. The default specification extends to city-speed autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, tyre pressure monitoring, a powered, height-adjustable tailgate, an eight-inch infotainment screen with satnav and Android/Apple smartphone mirroring. Factor in the five year warranty and it is a lot of car for the coin.
SMART USE OF SPACE
A lot of thought has gone into the Kodiaq's packaging beyond fitting seven seats. A space for wallets or small purses in the dash next to the steering wheel is handy, as is covered storage under the faux woodgrain trim above the glove box. Truth is, with the manuals in the glove box, the top slot is actually more usable. The tray beneath the USB/12 volt plugs is rubberised to stop phones sliding around, there's a big lidded bin between the seats, the door pockets are wide and deep and the Skoda will carry 270 litres of cargo with all seven seats in use.
THE DRIVE IS BETTER THAN DECENT
A 2.0-litre turbo (132kW/320Nm) teamed with a seven-speed automatic transmission gives the Skoda a brisk turn of pace. The ride quality is even more impressive. The Kodiaq handles city duties with none of the wallowing that can occur in big SUVs when they encounter speed humps; is sure-footed on the freeway and can be as entertaining on country roads as you choose to make it. That breadth of capability is impressive in a car this size and is one of the reasons the big Skoda is our reigning Car of the Year.
BRIGHT IDEAS INSIDE AND OUT
A rubbish bin in the front door pocket is a smart and simple innovation for a vehicle tasked with family transport. Similarly, the pair of umbrella in the front doors make the downpour-dash to and from school that much more comfortable and the LED torch in the cargo area may not be used often but is a saviour when you've dropped something under the big SUV in the dark. The plastic protection for the door edges that pops into place when they're opened is another, simple, smart approach to avoiding scratched or chipped panels _ on your vehicle or the adjoining cars.
PACKS NEED BETTER PACKAGING
Cast your eye over the bundled option packs for the Skoda and it looks like someone in the marketing department is a touch dyslexic. That's the only way you can explain items like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and traffic jam assist in the "luxury pack" and items like a premium sound system and semi-automated parking the "tech pack". The cynic in me suggests someone might even want safety and/or style-conscious buyers to choose both …