India-bound Skoda Kodiaq unveiled

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2017-Skoda Kodiaq _reveled6

Skoda has revealed the new Kodiaq SUV in Berlin. The new Kodiaq SUV will come to India by September-2017. Skoda has done SUVs before, as we’ve seen with the Yeti, but Skoda has never done a 7-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 states 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 VW Group’s MQB platform that also underpins the Skoda Superb and Octavia in different guises. It is stretched and upraised for its responsibilities as a 7-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. The Kodiaq will come with a 2.0-litre diesel engine that will deliver 140hp. This is the same motor that is also seen under the hood of the Volkswagen Tiguan. 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.

2017-Skoda Kodiaq _reveled

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. We mainly like the way the LED fog lamps sit in angular breaks just below the headlamps. After the disappointingly plain and familiar looking interior of the new Superb, we were expecting the same with this platform-shared SUV, but instead, 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 center that opens as a second glove box 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. Those compact dimensions and that tapering roof have meant that the third row is not very spacious by modern standards. You’ll really have to make some compromises with the slide and recline of the middle row to fit anyone back here, and even once you have, it is very tight for adults. The huge wheel arch intrusions seriously limit the width and the seat itself is thin, low-set and with a very small squab. As a result, you sit very ‘knees-up’, there’s no thigh support and your legs will constantly brush against the middle row. Even headroom is seriously tight. So yes, while this is a 7-seater, the last row is best reserved for children, or folded away. The Skoda Kodiaq will come to India in September. As for how much it will cost, Skoda plans to keep it quite violent, in line with its ‘value luxury’ brand philosophy. So expect prices to fit in the Rs.25-30 lakh (ex-showroom) bracket, when the car comes our way.