Skoda Kodiaq SUV - Interior & comfort
Excellent build quality, ergonomics and a well-judged dashboard design all feature in the Skoda Kodiaq
The Skoda Kodiaq doesn’t have a revolutionary interior design, but it’s aesthetically pleasing and has enough unique features to mark it as different from the Nissan X-Trail and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, for example. Its greatest strong points are the way it’s put together, the materials it’s built from and how comfortable and relaxing it is to travel in and we particularly like the suede-style seats in the Sportline model. For the 2021 facelift, a few small changes included the choice of two or three-spoke steering wheels, updated upholstery and ambient lighting, and new heated and ventilated front seats with a massage function.
We were very impressed by the way very little road noise breaks the tranquillity of the Kodiaq’s passenger compartment, while the engines are also impressively hushed. At high speeds, you can hear the wind as it passes the windscreen and mirrors, but this is something that afflicts most of the car’s SUV rivals.
The Kodiaq’s ride quality also impresses. Even on big 19-inch alloy wheels, we found it able to absorb the bumps of uneven road surfaces, and entry-level cars on smaller wheels prove even more comfortable.
Skoda Kodiaq dashboard
If a car’s headlights contribute to its exterior ‘face’, its air vents do the same for the dashboard. The Kodiaq’s vertical air vents are bold and unconventional in their portrait orientation, curving downwards as they follow a delineation in the dashboard.
Squint hard enough through the memory banks and photos and you’ll see enough geometrically distinctive details in the Kodiaq to remind you of Skodas from many moons ago. It’s nice to see a carmaker carry such heritage through the years, although it must be said the Kodiaq’s build quality is unquestionably strong. The glass-fronted infotainment touchscreen for example, looks genuinely swish, and the materials used throughout the interior are of high quality.
Look closely and it’s possible to find areas of – if not cost-cutting – evidence of Skoda’s status within the Volkswagen Group. While the Audi Q5 features digital readouts for the climate control neatly integrated within the dials themselves, in the Kodiaq (and the Volkswagen Tiguan, for what it’s worth), the displays are separate, less elegant affairs above the dials. From the point of view of functionality, the systems are pretty much identical, but it’s these little design touches that draw many to brands such as Audi. Considering the Q5 range starts at about £15,000 more than the Kodiaq, though, such matters are mere trifles.
The SE trim has now been superseded by SE Drive, which is fitted with features like dual-zone air-conditioning, 18-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, a couple of storage nets for the boot and a pair of umbrellas hidden in the front doors. The change to SE Drive also added sat nav, a rear-view camera, folding door mirrors and onboard wi-fi. It comes with five seats as standard but you can upgrade to seven seats for an additional cost.
SE L was also updated to SE L Executive for 2022, and comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, LED tail lights, a powered tailgate, front parking sensors and heated front seats. The change to Executive brought leather upholstery, a memory driver's seat function and puddle lighting.
The SportLine model sits between the SE L Executive and Laurin & Klement (L&K) in terms of standard equipment and comes with a sports styling pack that includes 20-inch alloy wheels, bigger bumpers and black versions of the grille, roof rails, door mirrors and side window trims. Inside, there’s a leather steering wheel, carbon-effect dashboard and door inserts, plus Alcantara-trimmed sports bucket seats and door panels.
The flagship L&K trim adds luxuries like a digital instrument display, panoramic sunroof, Canton sound system, chrome grille, ambient interior lighting and leather seats, along with convenience items like a bird's eye parking view and heated windscreen. The L&K trim pushes the Kodiaq's price up substantially, however, and we'd argue the SE L feels almost as plush and is better value.
Many will want to specify metallic paint, which is only standard with top trim levels; Skoda tends to charge around £1,000 for this extra. It’s a good idea to go for the heated windscreen for those frosty, misty morning starts too. Another feature that could make the Kodiaq even better to live with is Skoda's Virtual Cockpit - a digital instrument cluster that can show everything from sat-nav maps to what music you're listening to. However, it's a shame this is even optional for the expensive SportLine trim, when rivals like the Peugeot 5008 come with digital instruments as standard.
The ‘Virtual Pedal’ is also worth having from the point of view of convenience; this is Skoda’s name for hands-free boot opening, which is activated by waving your foot under the back bumper.
If you plan on testing the Kodiaq’s off-road credentials, order the optional off-road setting for the Driving Mode Select system. This is available with all 4x4 Kodiaqs and adds useful extras like a hill-descent mechanism. You can also add adjustable suspension – called DCC – to the Kodiaq. This helps make the on-road driving experience even better (it also works in conjunction with Driving Mode Select), but it adds almost £1,000 to the price.
The rough-road package costs £300 and consists of engine and underbody stone guards.