29.6.2019Skoda Kodiaq 1.5 TSI review
Skoda's Kodiaq has proven itself to be a top quality family car. The seven-seat SUV uses a number of clever features with solid engineering to offer a highly competent all-rounder. Skoda isn't resting on its laurels however, and has tweaked the engine line-up to keep the Kodiaq at the top. We've tested the 1.5 TSI engine to see how it gets on.
Review by Chris Lilly
Under the bonnet of this Kodiaq the VW Group's 1.5 TSI petrol engine. It produces 150hp and 250 Nm of torque for a 0-62mph time of 9.9 seconds. It's not the fastest car around then, but performance is enough to make sure you don't feel as though the Skoda is sluggish. The engine is keen to pull away and has plenty of torque low down the rev range, so its characteristics aren't too dissimilar to a diesel unit. Mated to the seven-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission tested, there is rarely any lag in the gearbox kicking down if more shove is required. It's a versatile set-up, and one that allows drivers to make the most of what is a well balanced engine/transmission combo. In real world driving, the powertrain works well. It's got enough about it to pull away hard when required, and settles down nicely at higher speeds to offer a refined drive. The unit isn't the most powerful around, and some drivers will want to opt for a bit more performance in what is a large car, but it performs well enough throughout the variety of situations I put it through.
The Kodiaq is no sports-SUV, and the sooner any potential buyers realise this the better. There's quite a bit of lean when cornering hard, and the relatively high weight means that switching direction quickly sees the suspension earn its crust. It's not going to induce sea-sickness however, and the Kodiaq has plenty of grip on offer. It's steering is pretty good too, with a reasonable amount of feedback to let you know what's going on beneath the wheels. This, and the precise nature of the steering mean you can drive the Kodiaq through a series of corners accurately - or more likely, pilot it around a multi-storey car park. The steering is light, which makes good sense in town driving, and adds a bit of weight at speed. It adds up to a car that is set-up for supple suspension and a comfortable ride. The Skoda is a very comfortable car, and sits beautifully at motorway speeds.
Skoda's Kodiaq design is hardly a looker, but equally it's not going to put buyers off. The front end is the least appealing in my opinion, but further back the design sharpens up and makes what is a large and practical car look pretty decent. It's a good overall design, and one that has a number of subtle features to make it easier on the eye. The design wraps up what is a very practical shape, with seating for seven and enough space to seat them all. Those in the middle three seats will have no complaints over head, leg, or shoulder room. The rear-most row of seats can be used for children comfortably, though not really for much larger passengers. They're a good size compared to rivals, and there's even a good amount of boot space remaining when up. Fold the rear seats away and the boot becomes simply huge. Skoda has effectively incorporated the key elements of a traditional estate, MPV, and SUV into one car.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
The Kodiaq's cabin isn't flash, but it is excellent. The is a huge number of storage spaces dotted about the place, making stashing the myriad bits and pieces of family stuff easy. They're all of a good size too, meaning you're not trying to squash bottles into the door bins or similar. There are lots of neat little touches too, with Skoda's Simply Clever motto shining through. Seats are very good throughout, with all capable of carting occupants over long distances without inducing complaints. The driver can easily find a good if tall driving position, and the wheel is a decent size to make long distance travel easy. The instruments are easy to read, though very much analogue in a market that is increasingly going digital - there's a small screen between the dials for added info. The Kodiaq does get a nice large infotainment system which is quick to respond to commands after having a bit of a think about starting up. Graphics are clear, and although it controls most functions, there are still thankfully some physical buttons for ease of use on the move. Air conditioning systems retain buttons and dials, but other than that, the dashboard is pretty clean and clear of switchgear. It's not a stunning cabin in which to climb into, but everything looks good, works excellently, and feels well built.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Skoda's figures for the 1.5 TSI come in at 36.7 MPG and 139 g/km CO2. Considering I drove the Kodiaq over a variety of routes and driving styles, the final figure on the trip computer was a rather impressive 35.5 MPG. It proved pretty easy to get close to the official figures, and I don't doubt that a little more motorway time would see that real-world statistic increase and exceed the official results. To tax, the Kodiaq 1.5 TSI will cost £210 for the first year - included in the OTR - and then the Standard Rate of £145 thereafter. Only a couple of Kodiaq models will need to pay the £465 Premium Rate.
The 1.5 TSI engine is more efficient than the 1.4 litre unit it replaced. It's main party trick is that it features Active Cylinder Technology. This effectively turns the four cylinder engine into a two cylinder unit when travelling under low load. By shutting down two cylinders, it improves fuel economy, and only takes milliseconds for them to be re-engaged. Skoda also fits a drive mode select system to the Kodiaq, allowing drivers to pick Eco mode. This will improve the efficiency of the air conditioning, plus also tweak the DCT transmission to change up earlier. Auto stop/start is fitted as standard, and there are eco driving displays available for feedback and coaching. According to our calculations, the Skoda Kodiaq tested has a Next Green Car Rating of 47
The Skoda Kodiaq represents great value for money when looking at equipment lists. Entry level SE gets 18-inch alloys, cruise control, rear parking sensors, touchscreen infotainment system, dual-zone climate control, and automatic wipers and headlights. SE L trim tested adds 19-inch alloys, seven seats, powered tailgate, drive mode select, navigation system with WiFi, Alcantara upholstery, heated front seats, and LED headlights. It's probably the best value of the specifications, adding all the core features. Further up the trim levels, buyers will find elements such as a larger infotainment system, heated windscreen, driver assist systems, and additional styling features.
The Skoda Superb is one of the best family cars on the market, and the 1.5 TSI adds to its appeal further. Although many buyers will opt for a diesel unit, there are plenty who are shying away and the petrol option is a good one to pick. Practical, good to drive, easy to live with, and fantastic value for money, the Skoda Kodiaq is a must-see for those looking at practical cars.
Model tested: Skoda Kodiaq 1.5 TSI SE L
Engine / CO2: 150hp petrol / 139 g/km
Trim grades: SE, SE L, Edition, L&K, Sportline, Scout, vRS
On-road price: From £25,770. Price as tested:£31,125
Warranty: Three years / 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 4.0 Stars