The seven-seat Skoda Kodiaq SUV gets styling tweaks and tech upgrades in facelift.
The Skoda Kodiaq has been a class stalwart since the seven-seat SUV made its debut towards the end of 2016.
Its blend of value and versatility meant larger families could tap into the talents of a machine that offered the kind of space and usability many MPVs delivered at the time – five years ago the new-car market looked very different, with the people-carrier sector still having some life left in it – yet the Kodiaq wrapped this up in a package that was more stylish and appealing.
And style is as good a place as any to start when it comes to this facelift. You might have to look closely to pick out the design changes on this mid-life update, but new headlight clusters to reflect the split-level design seen on Skoda’s other SUVs, the mid-size Karoq and the compact Kamiq, give a little more family cohesion.
The grille has also been tweaked for a sharper look, helped by the black surround of our SportLine test model, while the bonnet design has been subtly altered, too.
Changes at the rear are also subtle, with a more prominent spoiler, fresh tail-lights and a new insert for the bumper, but they’re also effective in creating a crisper look that only becomes obvious when you see a picture of the original Kodiaq.
There are even fewer changes inside, but the Kodiaq wasn’t broken in this respect, so it didn’t need fixing. Our SportLine test car had some carbon fibre-effect trim to go with the sportier gloss black detailing outside, while the technology is just as good as in its predecessor with the 9.2-inch touchscreen, 10.25-inch digital dash and a bevvy of driver aids as standard for $53,340 before on-road costs. The entry-level Style costs $48,540 and the top-spec RS $67,440. While the models have not launched in Australia yet, we’ve had a first drive in the UK ahead of its arrival.
Both the Style and SportLine here get a 2.0-litre TSI four-cylinder turbo engine with 132kW and 320Nm of torque. It’s linked to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox that sends power to all four wheels as standard.
All SportLine models also feature seven seats as standard, and this is the Kodiaq’s calling card. The car is still based on the VW Group’s MQB platform, so space inside is unchanged and remains at a good level for this kind of car. Room in the rearmost row is fine for children, and even adults won’t grumble too much over short journeys, but anything more than a local trip will see your knees creaking as you get out, which isn’t too difficult, thanks to relatively good access through the fairly wide apertures of the rear doors and a simple sliding and folding mechanism for the middle-row seats.
Space in the middle row is much better, and even SportLine trim’s racier, more supportive Alcantara-clad seats don’t eat into kneeroom for those sat there, giving a good level of flexibility. The rugged Czech SUV is also a nice height so that strapping youngsters into child seats shouldn’t be a back-breaking task, either.
There are 270 litres of boot space available with all seven seats in place; at the other end of the scale, there’s up to 2005 litres on offer with both the second and third rows folded away. They stow to leave a completely flat boot floor, which gives the model an extra edge of versatility when loading items.
On the move in the Kodiaq it’s status quo; there’s very little difference in how it drives to its predecessor, which means that even on our car’s 20-inch wheels, which look great, the ride is fluid and soft. Only really bad bumps will thump up through the structure, but while the soft set-up does help comfort, it means there is some pitching front to back, and roll in quicker corners. The chassis delivers a refined and relaxing ride, while the progressive steering means the Kodiaq is still pointy and direct enough.
The engine matches it assuming that, again, you don’t demand too much of it. The Skoda is able to sprint from 0-100km/h in 7.7 seconds but is best at part-throttle, where the maximum 320Nm of torque carries the Kodiaq along with sufficient punch, but also maximises refinement. Otherwise, at higher revs the turbocharged engine can sound a little coarse. At least the seven-speed automatic transmission is smooth and swift.
There’s more safety tech with this update, which will please family buyers. Both Style and SportLine trim feature a 9.2-inch touchscreen with built-in nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It works with the kind of snappy responses we’ve come to expect from Skoda; an intuitive layout means it’s easy to master on the move, even though there are lots of features. The graphics are great, and they’re replicated on the digital dash.
We also like the fact that Skoda hasn’t been tempted to integrate the climate controls into the touchscreen set-up; having these physical knobs again helps with adjusting the temperature when driving.
This update to Skoda’s family favourite SUV is certainly worthwhile, but it’s kept the car competitive rather than returning it to the top of the class. This SportLine model boasts the kind of tech, comfort and practicality a seven-seat SUV that’s expected and remains a comfortable family car with three rows of flexibility.
2022 Skoda Kodiaq Specifications
|Model:||Skoda Kodiaq SportLine 132TSI|
|Price:||$53,340 before on-roac costs|
|Engine:||2.0-litre 4cyl turbo petrol|
|Transmission:||Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, four-wheel drive|