Skoda unveiled the new Kodiaq SUV in Berlin


You will be surprised to know that Kodiaq is Skoda Auto’s first 7-seater model. And as far as the name goes, yes, it is named after the Kodiak bear found in Kodiak archipelago in south-west Alaska. Another interesting fact is that the Kodiaq shares its underpinnings with the Superb and the Octavia, meaning that it is built upon Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform and it also gets a new AWD system as well. As far as engines are concerned, the Kodiaq will have a1.4-litre TSI petrol variant and a 2.0-litre TDI diesel variant. There will be an option between a 6-speed manual transmission and a 7-speed DSG. The Kodiaq has been in the making for 4 years and the testing has happened for more than a million kilometres. The looks of the Skoda Kodiaq were leaked earlier in the day too.

Skoda has produced SUVs before like the Yeti but it has never done a seven-seater before. This is the first one in the company’s 120-plus-year history and that’s a big moment for the Czech brand. It’s named after an Alaskan bear, the Kodiak, and fittingly, it looks quite rugged. But Skoda says it’s not an all-out off-roader, but rather a family car that can traverse rough terrain.

No wonder then that it’s based on the Vokswagen Group’s MQB platform that also underpins the Skoda Superb and Octavia in different guises. It is stretched and raised for its duties as a seven-seat SUV, and top-spec versions get the latest version of the VW Group’s transverse-engine AWD system, supplied by Haldex/BorgWarner, though front-wheel-drive is what you get on lower versions.

International markets will get a 1.4-litre TSI petrol motor that makes 125hp, but this is unlikely to come to India. What we will get is a 2.0-litre TDI diesel that produces either 150hp or 190hp (and 340 and 400Nm respectively) which will be allied to either a six-speed manual or a DSG dual-clutch automatic. There’s also the likelihood of the company’s new 2.0-litre TSI petrol, which produces 180hp and 320Nm.

Skoda’s head of design Jozef Kabaň has really nailed it with the Kodiaq’s exterior. It manages to look imposing enough thanks to its aggressive grille and headlamp treatment, large wheel arches and hefty stance, but also somewhat sporty with a gently tapering roof line and optional 20-inch wheels. It borrows a lot of cues from the Skoda Superb, including a thick shoulder line, heavy sculpting on the boot, and intricate, angular LED headlamps and tail-lamps inspired by Czech crystal.

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The manner in which the LED fog lamps sit in angular recesses just below the headlamps is really smart.  It may look imposing at first glance, but look a bit longer and you’ll soon realise that’s all down to clever styling cues; it’s not really that big. With a length of 4,697mm, width of 1,882mm and a wheelbase of 2.7m (the base, 2WD petrol version also weighs just 1,550kg) it’s actually relatively compact, and that’s something Skoda is proud of, because that should make it easier to live with as a family car.

It gets 190mm of ground clearance and can wade through 300mm of water, which again, is not proper off-roader stuff, but will suffice for most. The Kodiaq gets a more upright dash design that will define all future Skoda SUVs. It features a huge slab of trim (it could be wood grain, faux metal or other textures) running through the centre that opens as a second glovebox on the passenger side. The chrome-ringed AC vents are vertically oriented and give it a more macho look, which was the intention. There are lots of shared parts in the cabin, but overall, the look is far removed from what you get in Skoda’s sedans.


Skoda-Kodiaq-InteriorThere is pair of generously sculpted electric front seats, but the real highlight is the second row that splits 60:40, reclines and slides with quite a lot of travel. It also gets ‘sleeping headrests’ which basically have supportive, fold-out ‘wings’ that prevent your head from rolling off the cushion. You get a decent 270-litre boot with all rows in place, and with the third row folded flat, it jumps to 630, and finally 2,065 with all seats down. The seven-seat version only gets a space-saver spare while the five-seater (unlikely for India) gets a full-size one, but it’s still better than none at all.

Skoda will showcase the new Kodiaq at the upcoming Paris Motor Show in October. Thereafter, production will begin by the end of this year, and it will be introduced in Europe only in 2017. At this point, even the spec for India has not been finalised, and given how long model introductions typically take in India, don’t expect to see the Kodiaq in a Skoda showroom in your city before September 2017.

Skoda is the luxury brand, which is the model launched in India soon. It is expected that the price would be 25 to 30 million.

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