So, in what feels like a blink of an eye, our time with the Skoda Kodiaq is over.
After three months and more than 4,000 miles of holidays, commutes, day trips and load lugging we’ve said goodbye more convinced than ever that the Kodiaq sets the pace in its class.
It blends good looks, build quality, decent equipment and a strong drivetrain with space, comfort and little touches that make everyday life easier.
Key to its appeal is its practicality. A week’s worth of luggage was fitted in with acres to space and one trip to Ikea saw it swallow all the furniture for a spare bedroom with enough space left for a new kitchen and a tonne of meatballs.
Skoda Kodiaq SE L
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, diesel
Transmission: Seven-speed DSG, four-wheel-drive
Top speed: 119mph
0-62mph: 10.2 seconds
On a more day-to-day basis we’ve regularly travelled with three adults and three children on board and even six-up it’s felt comfortable and spacious. My suspicion that the Kodiaq is the best SUV in its class for actually using as a seven-seater has been confirmed by the kids, who were happier there than in the X-Trial, Outlander or Discovery Sport. The only criticism from them was, like its rivals, there’s no dedicated ventilation for the rearmost seats.
On the road its comfort, refinement and ride still stand out in a crowded field. It’s not the sportiest drive out there but it’s largely smooth riding and composed. It’s quieter than most, even some costing £20,000 more and the engine/gearbox combo take all the stress out of just getting from A to B.
It’s not perfect, though. Under hard acceleration the engine suddenly becomes quite noticeable and with six on board regularly the more powerful version starts to make sense. Also, like all VW Group DSGs, the gearbox can occasionally be jerky at low speeds. Still, these are relatively minor issues and you can’t argue with a solid 45mpg over quarter of a year.
The Kodiaq in SE L trim is fairly well served equipment-wise although there are a couple of glaring omissions – front parking sensors for one – and rivals such as the Peugeot 5008 have more of the latest safety and convenience tech as standard.
Like most long-termers it’s not the all-singing, all-dancing features that make the difference, though. it’s little things that affect your daily life. Things like an auto-hold handbrake that remembers the setting rather than having to be reactivated every time you start the engine; a stop-start system that doesn’t need you to sit with your foot on the brake; a powered tailgate that doesn’t take a week to open and a media system that can be quickly and accurately operated with voice, touch or steering wheel controls.
In terms of competition the nearest X-Trail is almost as good to drive and has more technology but in equivalent 4×4 auto guise it’s more expensive. The Discovery Sport has a great interior but it’s smaller and more expensive, and while the Outlander’s diesel is a strong performer it lags behind in driving feel, refinement and quality. Peugeot’s new 5008 has a prettier interior and more safety tech but it feels more cramped and the ride is a let-down.
In isolation, each of these rivals is a good car and some outperform the Kodiaq in one area or another but as a complete package, especially for large families who don’t want an MPV, the Kodiaq is hard to beat.