Road tests

Skoda Kodiaq Sportline review

It looks good, but the Sportline trim is expensive and hampers ride comfort

If you’ve already decided to buy a Skoda Kodiaq SUV, you’ll be wrestling with the choice between, S, SE, SE L, Scout, Sportline and Edition trim levels, with a vRS performance version also on its way. Currently, Sportline sits at the top of the tree, both for cost and included equipment, so while in some ways it’s the ultimate Kodiaq, most customers will find better value lower in the range. A few of its additions also compromise the excellent Kodiaq slightly - more on that later.

Sportline is Skoda’s equivalent of the Audi Q5 S Line, Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace R-Line and Discovery Sport HSE Dynamic Luxury; trim levels that can be fitted with economical engines, but have sporty looks that help set them apart from more basic versions.

The biggest visual change comes thanks to 20-inch Vega Anthracite alloy wheels, deeper front and rear sports bumpers, chrome exhaust trim and Sportline badges above the front wheel arches. Skoda has also painted the front grille, roof rails, door mirror caps and window trims black for a more aggressive look.

Sportline brings a new persona inside too, with sports seats trimmed in sporty Alcantara and finished with silver stitching. Trim inserts are carbon fibre contrasting with Alcantara door panels and a black headlining, while an LED light pack illuminates the interior at night. There are Sportline logos in the door sill protectors, and even a plaque on the dashboard. The Kodiaq has a three-spoke leather steering wheel with silver stitching and sports dials.

Read our full Skoda Kodiaq review here

Unlike the upcoming vRS performance model, one advantage of Sportline is that you can pick almost any engine in the range. Choose diesel and you’ll be offered the 2.0-litre TDI with either 148 or 187bhp. These both come with four-wheel drive as standard, while a seven-speed automatic DSG gearbox is optional for the 148bhp model and standard if you pick the top version.

The petrol engine is a 1.4-litre TSI with the same 148bhp as the diesel, standard four-wheel drive, and a six-speed manual gearbox or optional seven-speed DSG gearbox. The manual petrol has the lowest Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) band for company-car drivers, but only by 1% when compared to the diesel. The petrol engine is our recommendation if you mainly drive in town, but if you plan on often filling the Kodiaq’s seven seats or towing a trailer, the 187bhp diesel engine feels the best equipped to deal with the extra weight.

Carbuyer’s best 4x4s and SUVs

So far so good, but it’s those 20-inch alloy wheels that undo much of what we love about the Kodiaq. With them fitted, the ride becomes too firm and there’s more road noise, without a noticeable increase in grip or agility when you reach a challenging road. It’s a shame because the Kodiaq in SE L trims and below is well-suited to long motorway trips

Unless you really fall for the way the Sportline trim makes the Kodiaq look, you can also save quite a bit of money by going for the SE L trim instead - around £2,500 in fact. Once inside it’s virtually identical - save for the embellishments mentioned above - and shares the same excellent 9.2-inch Columbus infotainment system.

Verdict: 3/5

The Skoda Kodiaq SUV looks fantastic in Sportline trim, but the very wheels that enhance the styling also upset ride quality. Unless you can’t resist its body styling kit, the SE L version represents better value, coming with most of the same features.

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