Catching up with the Kodiaq — winner of 2017 Car of the Year
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It’s Car of the Year season again, when New Zealand’s motoring experts unite to decide which vehicles are top in their class and ultimately decide the winner of the 2018 AA Driven New Zealand Car of The Year Award.
We thought we’d reflect on why the Skoda Kodiaq was the 2017 winner, and catch up with them to see what impact winning the top prize has had.
What’s so special about the Kodiaq?
Let’s first look at how this European vehicle is placed in the market. The SUV class the Kodiaq belongs to is a popular category with many options — which makes winning that much sweeter.
The Kodiaq is a generous-sized 7-seater, has a large boot capacity, 9 airbags, clever tech like Smartlink+ phone connectivity, and standard features like parking sensors, Emergency Braking System, and Rest Assistant. What wraps this vehicle in a great package is the value-for-money starting price of $42,990.
But what actually makes a vehicle award material?
Last year the common thread for the winner was family-friendly, 5-star safety, segment popularity, technology advancement at an affordable price point.
The 2017 award judges said the Kodiaq was “more refined than many luxury SUVs, with great design ideas, packaging and price points”.
AA Motoring Services GM Stella Stocks said: “Skoda has presented the world with a great all-round vehicle.
“While it’s clearly been built with the family in mind, the Kodiaq’s configuration, spaciousness and technology ensures the market has an affordable versatile choice that will endure.
“SUVs remain the most popular segment in the Kiwi motoring market and Skoda’s entry into the 7-seater space with the Kodiaq, which also has a 5-star safety rating from Ancap, means we’re well served by the brand.”
Read more: Skoda Kodiaq road test: Czech it out, mate
What difference winning made for Skoda
A Skoda representative said winning the Car of the Year title for Kodiaq enabled them to really land Skoda’s first SUV and use it as a launching pad for the rest of the Skoda SUV family, including the Kodiaq SportLine and the new compact Karoq SUV.
They saw a spike in Kodiaq sales in January, and they attribute a number of these to winning New Zealand Car of the Year in December. The Kodiaq made up 50 per cent of sales in January; the highest-peaking month for Kodiaq sales.
For 2018, the Kodiaq is their top-selling model and makes up 35 per cent of all Skoda sales.
This year, the AA and Driven have joined forces to drive forward the premier AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year, which will pinpoint the country’s Car of the Year and Best in Class, with winners announced at a cocktail event in December.
There’ll be a comprehensive trial for each car of the year finalist both on-road and at Pukekohe Park Raceway.