Skoda’s new Kodiaq SUV is a real bear thrills

The new Skoda Kodiaq is due in Ireland next February
The new Skoda Kodiaq is due in Ireland next February

Skoda Kodiaq - International unveil

Another contender has entered the family SUV royal rumble, as Skoda this week launched its grizzly Kodiaq into the ring.

The Kodiaq, named after the bear from the Kodiak Archipelago in Alaska, is sure to bloody the nose of Hyundai’s Santa Fe and Kia’s Sorento, while also placing the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Land Rover Discovery Sport, firmly in its sights. 

The 4,700mm long, 1,882mm wide and 1,676mm tall beast is actually a bit of a lightweight thanks to VW Group’s MQB chassis technology, keeping Skoda’s bear at a modest 1,452kgs.

As far as engines are concerned, the Kodiaq will have a 1.4-litre TSI petrol variant and a 2.0-litre TDI diesel, with choice of either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed DSG. 

The motors will range from 125bhp to 190bhp, they will all be turbo charged with direct injection and will feature a stop-start system, brake energy recovery and a thermo-management system.

The 190bhp model will shift the Kodiaq from 0-100kph in 8.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 210kph. 

The SUV will come as either a seven or a five-seater, offering a hefty boot capacity of 720 litres –which can also be upped to 2,065 litres by folding down the rear seats. 

With all the three rows of seating up you still get 270 litres of boot space.

The Kodiaq will contain Skoda’s Connect Touchscreen Infotainment system, which gets Google Earth, WiFi, Apple CarPlay and 360-degree cameras.

There are also plenty of driver assistance systems, like tow assist – which controls steering when reversing slowly – bird’s-eye view parking cameras that give a top-down view of the car on the central screen during low-speed manoeuvres, as well as city emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist. 

There’s also a fully-electronic tailgate which is gesture controlled, induction charging for smartphones and umbrellas in the doors. 

Skoda’s first sortie into the world of full-sized SUVs was marked at a gala event in Berlin on Thursday night.

Industry professionals and journalists were treated to a visual feast as acrobats swooped overhead, hanging from the roof of Berlin’s famous Kraftwerk venue. 

Skoda’s CEO Bernhard Maier took to the stage to introduce the new SUV, saying: “We are facing a transitional period. And it provides us opportunities. Driving will be safer cleaner and more comfortable. 

“Our products will change, we will offer completely new services around the car.

The Skoda Kodiaq spearheads that development. We will be on the top range of our segment with extraordinary value for money.”

Designed by the same man as the Bugatti Veyron, Jozef Kaba, the Kodiaq is a whole new world in terms of Skoda design. 

Meeting the car in person there is an instant realisation that the Kodiaq is a premium product. 

The car’s sharp edges and wide grille would be at home sporting the badge of any overpriced German mark. 

However, the Kodiaq won’t be pricing itself into those shark infested waters, despite being perfectly capable of competing there. 

The Czech bear is very much punching above its weight and the premium feel continues as soon as you sit into it. 

It is instantly apparent that quality materials were used in its production – there are no flimsy cheap plastics or nasty pieces of lazy design. 

While being luxurious and comfortable, the Kodiaq also has a robust rugged feeling to it.

First deliveries of the new Skoda Kodiaq will arrive in Ireland in February 2017.

Prices have yet to be announced, but are expected to start at around €37,000 for the base model, all the way up to almost €60,000 for the top-of-the-range example.