Skoda Kodiaq SUV review
“The Skoda Kodiaq offers seven seats, excellent value for money and a decent driving experience”
- Smart styling
- Spacious and practical
- Decent to drive
- 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 it feels well engineered and capable, making it one of our favourite large family car.
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 2023.
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.
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.
Except for the entry-level 1.5-litre petrol, all of the Kodiaq’s engines are 2.0 litres in size. The 187bhp petrol, which is probably thirstier and more expensive than is strictly necessary, is best avoided.
We’d recommend the 148bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel, whether you cover a higher mileage or plan to load the car up regularly, thanks to its official economy of up to 52.6mpg in SE Drive trim with five seats. Topping the standard range is a 197bhp 2.0-litre diesel, although as with the most powerful petrol engine, this is rather expensive to buy and fuel economy drops to 42.6mpg. A flagship Skoda Kodiaq vRS model was available with an even more powerful diesel engine, but for its 2021 facelift this was replaced with a 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine which can only manage just over 30mpg, limiting its appeal.
Four-wheel drive is optional on the 148bhp model, and standard with the more powerful engines. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is now fitted as standard to every Kodiaq, following the discontinuation of the six-speed manual gearbox available for the 1.5-litre petrol.
There are four standard trim levels at the time of writing, kicking off with SE Drive, which replaces the SE trim and offers some extra kit. This has 18-inch alloy wheels, an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED running lights, rear parking sensors, a rear armrest and cruise control. New features include a different alloy wheel design, folding door mirrors and a rear-view camera. It’s also available with seven seats – albeit as a £1,000 option.
Our pick of the range is the SE L Executive, with 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.
The Sportline model gets a racier styling pack and some motorsport-inspired touches such as a sports steering wheel, Microsuede sports seats, and a different design of 20-inch alloy wheels. It sits below the flagship L&K trim, which gets a panoramic sunroof, chrome grille, front parking sensors, ambient lighting, a heated windscreen, Virtual Cockpit digital instruments and a Canton stereo. They feature some desirable upgrades, but also make the Kodiaq uncomfortably expensive, so we’d recommend sticking with the SE L Executive and some well-chosen options instead.
Skoda has slimmed down the trim level range, discontinuing the elegant Edition and off-road-focused Scout models. The Scout brought a rough-road package, a beefy styling kit and standard four-wheel drive, but it was expensive. You can still order four-wheel drive and the rough-road package on all trim levels if you plan on taking your Kodiaq off the beaten track.
After crash-testing by independent organisation Euro NCAP, the Kodiaq received a five-star rating thanks to the impressive protection it offers adult and child occupants, with extra credit awarded for a standard automatic emergency braking system. This reinforces the big Skoda’s position as a top-value, family-friendly SUV. The Kodiaq has performed well in our Driver Power owner satisfaction surveys, finishing in 14th place out of 75 cars in the most recent edition.