In-depth reviews

Skoda Kodiaq review – the practical pick

“The Skoda Kodiaq offers seven seats, excellent value for money and a decent driving experience”

Carbuyer Rating

4.5 out of 5

Owners Rating

5.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Smart styling
  • Spacious and practical
  • Decent to drive

Cons

  • Seven seats cost extra
  • Some safety systems not standard
  • Better engines and trims expensive

Verdict – is the Skoda Kodiaq a good car?

Any family looking for a spacious, practical, safe and smartly-styled car will be well served by the Skoda Kodiaq. It delivers on all these fronts and even features some nifty quirks that help it stand out, such as umbrellas in the front door panels and plastic flaps that deploy on the door edge to avoid dings in the car park. The Kodiaq is the epitome of Skoda’s ‘Simply Clever’ ethos, and feels well engineered and capable, making it one of our favourite large family cars.

Skoda Kodiaq models, specs and alternative

Skoda’s SUV line up has broadened greatly over the years, and sitting right at the top as its largest offering is the Skoda Kodiaq. While it doesn’t look particularly remarkable from the outside, the Kodiaq is very practical and can be had with up to seven seats. It’s based on the same underpinnings as its fellow Volkswagen Group stablemates, the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace and SEAT Tarraco.

With the SUV market exploding in the past decade or so, the Skoda Kodiaq has plenty of rivals, including its aforementioned relatives, plus the Peugeot 5008, Citroen C5 Aircross, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, and Land Rover Discovery Sport.

Although the Kia Sorento and Peugeot 5008 come close in comparison, the Skoda Kodiaq’s lower price makes it our pick of the three. All but the entry-level SE Drive model get seven seats as standard, but even when adding them as an option on the SE Drive, it still comes out cheaper. The Skoda Kodiaq is even better value on the used market – so much so that we awarded it the Best Used Large Family Car award for 2024.

The Skoda Kodiaq got a midlife facelift in 2021, with a few design updates to bring a more uniform look in line with the brand’s other SUVs, the Karoq, Kamiq and Enyaq iV. It got redesigned headlights and a new grille, plus revised taillights and a new bumper and spoiler at the rear.

It’s more than just a value proposition, though. The Kodiaq is actually rather involving to drive for its large size, with accurate steering, a decent gearbox and well-judged suspension that’s neither too stiff nor too slack. For keen drivers, it’s a sharper choice than the Peugeot 5008 or Hyundai Santa Fe. We'd avoid the Sportline version, though, as its huge 20-inch wheels spoil the ride. Whichever one you go for you get a loftier driving position than many SUVs, which has you sitting in a pleasingly upright manner and with a good view out.

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Build quality is generally strong and although there are one or two rougher edges in places, the overall impression is of a well-engineered car. Interior space in the first two rows of seats is excellent, and while the rearmost seats are best reserved for children or adults on short trips, they’re an excellent addition nonetheless. Add a vast boot (with the rearmost seats dropped) and the Kodiaq’s family-friendly credentials are clear to see.

There are three engine options in the standard lineup: a 1.5-litre TSI petrol with 148bhp, a 2.0-litre TSI petrol with 187bhp and a 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 197bhp. We’d avoid the 2.0-litre petrol model as it’s slightly thirstier and around £3,000 more than the entry-level 1.5-litre. There’s also a sporty vRS model with the 2.0-litre petrol engine tuned up to 242bhp that we’ve reviewed separately – it’s undoubtedly quick, but at £15,000 more than the entry-level Kodiaq, this niche hot SUV struggles to justify its price.

Now all but the entry-level 1.5-litre come with four-wheel drive, and all models are fitted with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox as standard, following the discontinuation of the six-speed manual gearbox previously available on entry-level models.

There are three standard trim levels at the time of writing, kicking off with SE Drive, which gets 18-inch alloy wheels, an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED running lights, rear parking sensors and camera, a rear armrest and cruise control as standard. Speccing this model with seven seats adds just over £1,000. 

We’d recommend stepping up to SE L Executive trim as it gets seven seats as standard, 19-inch alloys, full-LED exterior lighting, piano black interior trim, heated front seats and a powered tailgate. Leather upholstery adds to its upmarket feel and there's enough tech here to impress most families. Sportline adds a racier look, but we think it might be a step too far in terms of price, and the larger 20-inch alloys start to have a detrimental effect on ride comfort.

Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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