The covers are off! Here's the new Skoda Kodiaq

After several teasers, proper images and details on Skoda’s large SUV have finally been released

  • Bigger with more space for passengers and luggage
  • Sustainable cabin materials and ingenious infotainment solutions
  • New plug-in hybrid powertrain

Skoda has taken the wraps off the new version of the Kodiaq, the Czech firm’s popular large family SUV that comes with up to seven seats.

Visually, the second-generation Kodiaq is the first Skoda to use elements of the firm’s new ‘Modern Solid’ design language, intended to emphasise practicality while also improving aerodynamics. Perhaps the most eye-catching elements of the exterior are optional, however, those being the ‘TOP LED’ matrix headlights - which contain a total of 36 individual light segments - and the horizontal light bar on the front end.

Arguably the biggest news, however, is that the Kodiaq is an even bigger car than before, growing 61mm in length. Skoda claims that this equates to more interior space for passengers, and more boot space as well. In five-seater versions, load capacity has grown by 75 litres to 910 litres, while in seven-seater cars, you get 340 litres of cargo space with all seven chairs in place, an improvement of 70 litres.

Ahead of the full reveal, we got a chance to drive a prototype of the new Skoda Kodiaq, which you can read at the end of this article.

Skoda Kodiaq design

In terms of styling, the second-generation Skoda Kodiaq doesn't represent a massive departure from the outgoing car, although there are subtle changes that bring the new car up-to-date and give it a smoother, cleaner look than before. The front end gets a restyled split headlight design, on par with the brand’s other cars, and the SUV gets an overall wider, more aggressive stance.

The rear of the car gets a more thorough rethink, with the rear-most side windows curving upwards towards the D-pillar and a metal-look panel joining it with the rear window, creating a ‘floating roof’ effect seen on other Volkswagen Group cars such as the Audi Q4 e-tron – Skoda says customers will be able to option this in a ‘Dark Chrome’ finish. The rear lights get a new C-shaped design united by a light bar spanning the width of the tailgate, and a sleek spoiler helps taper off the SUV’s silhouette at the top.

A while back Skoda teased the upcoming SUV’s side profile, featuring a strong LED headlight signature and rear light design that fades into the body. The new Kodiaq looks to be taking an evolutionary approach to its styling, merging existing design cues from the Skoda range with nods to the new ‘Modern Solid’ design language of the brand’s upcoming electric vehicles, including the mid-sized Skoda Elroq and a new even smaller SUV.

Skoda Kodiaq powertrains

A total of five powertrain options will be offered. Petrol options include a 1.5-litre TSI turbo mild-hybrid with 148bhp, and a 2.0-litre TSI with 201bhp. Two 2.0-litre diesels, meanwhile, will offer either 148bhp or 190bhp. All come with a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox, while the more powerful petrol and diesel engines also get four-wheel drive.

The biggest news on the powertrain front, however, is the new plug-in hybrid variant. It teams the 1.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and a 25.7kWh battery to deliver a combined output of 201bhp to the front wheels via a six-speed DSG auto. Skoda claims that the generous battery capacity enables electric-only running of more than 100km (62 miles), which is impressive for the class, while the system allows AC charging at up to 11kW or DC charging at up to 50kW. You lose a bit of boot space to the battery, but at 745 litres, you’re unlikely to struggle.

While the Czech brand has pledged to go fully-electric by 2030, the new Kodiaq will not be offered with a fully-electric powertrain – making it one of the last combustion-engined Skodas likely to be developed. Those wanting an electric seven-seater will instead have to wait for the production version of the Skoda Vision 7S concept car, which will eventually sit alongside the Kodiaq in the brand’s lineup.

Skoda Kodiaq interior

The new Kodiaq’s interior is less conservative in design than before, with a large, chunky dashboard and a more angular design than before. Skoda says the interior will make greater use of sustainable materials than before, with 100% recycled polyester, and eco leather tanned by coffee bean processing residues and wastewater from olive processing.

The gear selector has been relocated to the steering column to improve space on the centre console, allowing for more storage. Skoda is keen to draw attention to its Smart Dials: innovative physical knobs which can be configured to toggle through and adjust various settings with the same button, with small 32mm digital displays on each one which change depending on the function.

Skoda is hoping to strike the correct balance between the versatility of virtual controls and the user-friendly nature of physical knobs with the Smart Dials feature. Interiors produced by parent company Volkswagen have come under criticism more recently for having too much of a focus on difficult-to-use infotainment and climate control interfaces, but it’s part of Skoda’s ‘Simply Clever’ ethos to deliver a user-friendly alternative.

A 13-inch infotainment screen also makes an appearance, as well as a 10-inch virtual cockpit ahead of the driver, ambient interior lighting, a phone box with wireless smartphone charging, plus USB-C ports found in the centre console and also near the rear-view mirror, making it easier to fit and charge a dashcam.

A wide variety of new driver assistance and safety systems have been added, and many of those available in the previous Kodiaq have undergone extensive operational upgrades. Up to nine airbags are available, too.

Precise UK pricing and specifications are yet to be announced, but we expect the new Kodiaq to arrive before the end of this year. Given recent inflation and production cost increases, we’d expect the next-generation Skoda Kodiaq to have a higher starting price than the outgoing model, which starts from just under £35,000. That said, the brand’s focus on providing good value for money means it should still undercut the likes of the Peugeot 5008 and the Land Rover Discovery Sport.

Skoda Kodiaq prototype review – Alastair Crooks

We were recently given the opportunity to drive a late-stage prototype of the upcoming Skoda Kodiaq (still in camouflaged form) to find out how the family SUV is shaping up ahead of its full release expected later this year. 

While a plug-in hybrid model is expected to arrive in spring 2024, we got to drive the front-wheel drive mild-hybrid 1.5-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel versions. There’s also expected to be four-wheel drive variants of these models, although we’ve yet to try them.

Skoda expects the majority of sales for the Skoda Kodiaq will be the 1.5-litre petrol, so it’s the model we’ll be focusing on here. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given they sit on the same platform, we found the latest Skoda Kodiaq to feel very similar to drive as the outgoing model. That’s no bad thing – the engine feels capable and the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is smooth and quick.

Despite the Kodiaq’s size, we were surprised at how composed it felt through corners, although there’s little to no feel through the steering. That said, the steering does at least feel well-weighted.

Our test car sat on 19-inch wheels and offered a satisfactory ride, and with wind and road noise kept well at bay thanks to the Kodiaq’s double-glazed windows, it felt reasonably refined. On rougher roads, however, the ride wasn’t so good, and the suspension setup felt like it could do with softer springs. While the production model will likely get a choice of drive modes, our test car was limited to just ‘Normal’, so it’s likely the final version will allow for greater tweaking of the ride and performance.

Skoda is famed for its practicality, and the upcoming Kodiaq looks set to be slightly longer than before with a larger 910-litre boot compared with the outgoing car’s 835 litres. 

Impressively, even with a third row of seats in place on seven-seater versions, there’s still up to 845 litres of boot space in the new Kodiaq. Knee-room seems impressive even with the middle row seats slid forward, and with them raked all the way back it feels incredibly spacious. Headroom for third-row occupants is now more generous, having increased by 15mm.

There are other practical touches dotted around the cabin, too, such as two litres of storage in the centre console freed up by a smaller gear selector, and an extra rear storage compartment. Other interior features include dual smartphone charging, and a touch screen wiper to clean smudges on the display. 

The Kodiaq is set to get a generous suite of safety tech – we got to try the car’s automatic brake assist function but found it to be quite intrusive. The brand has assured us it’s still under development, however.

Verdict

It looks as though Skoda isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel with the upcoming Kodiaq, but there’s nothing wrong with taking all of the best attributes of the outgoing car and building on them. There are some nice touches around the cabin that prove to further Skoda’s ‘Simply Clever’ ethos and focus on practicality. If we have any major criticisms it would be the car’s ride, which we hope will be optimised for improved comfort by the time the new Kodiaq hits showrooms.

Can’t wait till 2024 for a new car? Check out our list of the top 10 best large family cars...

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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