So after the fun of the summer holidays, it’s back to the daily grind for the family and the Kodiaq.
That’s meant a lot of miles between home and the office plus the weekly treks to various kids’ sports clubs, shopping and weekend trips to family on the opposite side of the country.
We’re now regularly travelling six-up, with three adults and three youngsters in child seats and of all the seven-seat SUVs of its size the Kodiaq seems to be best equipped for regular use in this way.
There’s more space in the rearmost row than its rivals and the sliding 60/40 split middle row adjusts easily to accommodate the different sized passengers. On regular trips with a 6’ 5” driver, two 5’ 8” adults and kids ranging in height from just under three feet to just over four nobody is grumbling about a lack of space. There’s even still room in the boot for a chunky double buggy.
The one thing I am still grumbling about is the driver’s seat. It’s well padded and has good lateral support but the manually adjustable lumbar support just isn’t working for me. It doesn’t actively leave me in pain but on long journeys I start to notice the limit to its adjustment. It’s a shame Skoda don’t offer the excellent electrically adjustable seats from other VW Group cars in the Kodiaq.
Away from the seating, I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out the Kodiaq’s overall equipment levels, particularly in comparison with rivals such as the Nissan X-Trail and Mitsubishi Outlander.
It’s a complete minefield, with each manufacturer better in some places but worse in others. Pound-for-pound, an X-Trail N-Connecta gives you more driver aid tech as standard – 360-degree around-view monitor, front parking sensors, parking assist, a panoramic roof and pedestrian-detecting autonomous braking – but that’s for a 130bhp, two-wheel-drive version. Four-wheel-drive and auto transmission add £3,000, roughly what you’d spend optioning the Kodiaq to a similar level.
It’s all far too complicated but I’m still surprised that our £32k, near-top-of-the-range car doesn’t have front parking sensors as standard.
While you can pick over the spec sheets till you go cross-eyed the Kodiaq plays its trump card in the flesh, where its interior is head and shoulders above the likes of the X-Trail and Outlander.
Ours currently looks like an explosion in a Mini Cheddars factory but overall it’s clean and classy with mostly high-quality materials and great build quality. The striped high-gloss dash finish and glass-fronted media system flow beautifully together and there’s a cohesion to the whole layout that rivals can’t match. On top of that, it’s got two brollies hidden in the doors for rainy days.
On the road, the Kodiaq continues to impress. It’s not what you’d call sporty but its composure and control on B roads is impressive for its size and compared to “sporty” SUVs of a generation ago it is a marked improvement.
Our car doesn’t have the £980 dynamic chassis control that adds adjustable suspension but it does feature a drive mode selector to flick between eco, normal, sport and snow settings. Each brings its own throttle map and adjusts the feel of the electric steering. The added steering weight of ‘sport’ is welcome, as is the clever transmission decoupling when coasting in eco mode, but most of the time it stays in normal, where it’s returning a solid 45mpg over all sorts of roads and driving conditions.
That’s not bad compared with the office 49.6mpg figure. Time will tell if it can keep that up.