Driven COTY: Family Chariots - Skoda Kodiaq
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New SUVs continued to arrive at an astonishing pace in 2017.
Some debuted with claims of re-inventing the segment and some went to considerable lengths to avoid looking like an SUV with swoopy coupe-inspired styling — moving far enough from the SUV template that you question why people don’t buy a car or a station wagon.
The Skoda Kodiaq arrived here in May and sidestepped the distractions to deliver on SUV fundamentals – such as genuine five-plus-two seating, generous cargo space, choices of both front-drive and all-wheel-drive models and ground clearance that can be put to use in rough road work.
Design origins within the Volkswagen Group family of MQB modular platform vehicles means the Kodiaq has plenty of choice between modern petrol and diesel engine efficiency and the twin-clutch transmissions to avoid the CVT compromise found in some SUV rivals.
The platform also enables a comprehensive roster of active safety and driver assist technologies and the cabin is modern – a highlight the impressively crisp touchscreen display.
Kodiaq’s styling is handsome without letting form overrule function so the big Skoda neatly defines what a medium-to-large, family-focus SUV should be.
Kodiaq ticks the boxes and the driving experience combines excellent comfort, visibility and sure-footed dynamics. It provides additional delight with its clever door edge protectors, removable torch rear courtesy light and front door umbrella stowage.
The practical and driving appeal is supported by a price ladder value that starts at $39,990 and climbs to just over $58,000.
You can look across SUV choices and find plenty of appealing vehicles. Yet in almost all cases, I reach a conclusion that product X largely fits the bill but I wish it had avoided a CVT – or its diesel engine should perform better or the time has come for some ‘‘down-size’’ direct-injection turbo petrol torque and efficiency.
Others miss out on a seven-seat option. Some are just too expensive.
The Skoda Kodiaq has the key design features and logically structured model range that gets closest to being the ‘‘no buts’’ family SUV option. It ranks among the stars of 2017’s new vehicle introductions.
Read our full Skoda Kodiaq road test.
- Colin Smith
This year Driven decided to reflect our readers' interests in our Car of the Year categories more. For the first time we have:
- Little Beauties (covering light/compact cars, and small SUVS) - winner: Suzuki Ignis
- Family Chariots (medium/large cars, medium/large SUVs) - winner: Skoda Kodiaq
- Only For the Rich (premium cars, luxury SUVs) - winner: BMW - 5 Series
- Lotto Winner's Choice (performance vehicles) - winner: Honda Civic Type R
- Tradies' Delight (utes/vans) – winner: Renault Master range
- Green Power (hybrids and EVs) - winner: Hyundai Ionq
- Motorbike of the Year – winner: BMW G 310 R
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