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In-depth reviews

Skoda Kodiaq review - Engines, drive & performance

“The Skoda Kodiaq’s driving experience isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s refined and comfortable”

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Engines, drive & performance Rating

4.0 out of 5

The Skoda Kodiaq’s engine options haven’t changed massively in comparison to the outgoing model’s, but the 1.5-litre engine is now mild-hybrid assisted. The Kodiaq is still offered with diesel options which use a 2.0-litre engine with two different power options, one of which comes with four-wheel drive. All Skoda Kodiaq models are now automatic 

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What will come as a brand-new addition to the Skoda Kodiaq lineup is the PHEV ‘iV’ model which will arrive later in 2024. Not much is confirmed about it yet, but we do know it will combine the 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine with a motor to produce a total output of 201bhp.

While driving pleasure isn’t really a focus for a car like this, the Skoda Kodiaq performs well. We think it’s very refined, offers a smooth ride and the engines feel capable enough for a car of this size. If you want excitement you might be slightly disappointed, and one of BMW’s SUVs is a better bet.

Whichever wheels you spec – the Kodiaq is offered with 18 to 20-inch wheels – ride quality is good thanks to the soft, high-riding suspension that smooths out potholes. 

Is the Skoda Kodiaq good to drive in town?

The Skoda Kodiaq’s mild-hybrid petrol engine or upcoming PHEV option will be the best option to go for if you plan to use it more around town. With the PHEV’s impressive electric range and punchy electric motor that works particularly well at lower speeds, you can waft along around town silently, and the petrol engine felt well integrated, kicking in seamlessly when needed.

Is the Skoda Kodiaq good to drive on long journeys?

While the Kodiaq’s suspension makes it feel somewhat wallowy on twistier roads, it feels composed at higher speeds, making it a good motorway cruiser. While drivers covering many motorway miles will be better off with one of the diesels, even the mild-hybrid petrol felt impressively refined when cruising along, though the engine can get noisy under heavy acceleration.

Is the Skoda Kodiaq good to drive on B-roads?

The Skoda Kodiaq isn’t designed for B-road blasts, but you do get the option of DCC (Dynamic Chassis Control) which tweaks the suspension settings for different scenarios. There are seven drive modes: Normal, Comfort, Eco, Sport, Offroad, Snow and Individual (the latter two are only available on the four-wheel drive models). You can also tweak the stiffness of the suspension to 15 different levels, and we found setting this to a harder setting helped to limit body roll on fast, twisty roads, but it never feels particularly sporty, and is best suited to casual, relaxed driving.

Petrol models

There’s just one petrol model available for the Skoda Kodiaq, and while its 1.5-litre size might seem too small for such a large SUV, it’s perfectly capable and gets mild-hybrid assistance and feels pretty punchy. Paired with its automatic DSG gearbox it feels very responsive and would suit the majority of buyers.

Model 

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

1.5-litre mild-hybrid petrol engine

148bhp

9.7 seconds

128mph

Diesel models

The majority of the Skoda Kodiaq’s engine lineup is actually diesel, despite many manufacturers abandoning this fuel. Both use a version of its 2.0-litre TDI engine with either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The entry-level two-wheel drive model gets the same 148bhp output as the mild-hybrid petrol, but feels like it has a lot more grunt on the move. It feels smooth and refined.

The four-wheel drive model, despite its 52bhp higher power figure, doesn’t feel much quicker in reality, and we found it to be noisier, too. We’d only recommend going for this model if you really need the four-wheel drive for some moderate off-road driving or heavy-duty towing, but even the two-wheel drive version felt comfortable on the rocky terrain we tested it on.

Model 

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

2.0-litre TDI 

148bhp

9.6 seconds

127mph

2.0-litre TDI 4x4 

190bhp

8 seconds

134mph

Plug-in hybrid models

It’s not available from launch, but a PHEV version of the Skoda Kodiaq will be arriving later on – a first for Skoda’s largest SUV. It makes use of that same 1.5-litre petrol engine, but is paired with an electric motor and battery for 201bhp. We got a chance to drive it and found it to be very punchy, yet smooth. The transition between electric and petrol power was almost seamless, too, making for a refined experience.

Carbuyer notes

“The Skoda Kodiaq offers strong overall refinement, a smooth ride and a range of competent engines, giving the Kodiaq plenty of competence, if not outright excitement, on the road.” Alastair Crooks, Senior News Reporter

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Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.5 TSI e-TEC SE 5dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £36,645

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.5 TSI iV 204 SE 5dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £41,935

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 TDI 193 SE L 4X4 5dr DSG [7 Seat]
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £46,225

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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