While soaking up the admiring glances, Charlie Flindt finds that he, too, is impressed with this new SUV. It’s even a “like” with his partying teens
The styling is stunning and the cabin bright with excellent visibility – Charlie Flindt is impressed with the new SUV on the block, the Skoda Kodiaq. Even his tipsy teenagers approve.
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The new Skoda Kodiaq has been a long time coming. While SUVs have been arriving from Jaguar, Bentley, Maserati, Uncle Tom Cobley and all, the Skoda showrooms have remained free of the must-have vehicle of the age. So why the delay? Did Skoda think that the Octavia Scout and Yeti covered all bases? Did it consider following the herd to be a trifle undignified?
We now know the reason for the long wait: Skoda wanted to make sure it got its SUV absolutely right – and if it meant a lengthy delay, so be it.
The first delight is the styling. Truly, the Force is with the team who wield the magic pens at Skoda; the Kodiaq’s lines and angles are stunning. I’m used to being gawped at while driving the low-slung and exotic but finger-pointing and approving nods are a bit of a surprise while at the wheel of a Skoda. There seems to have been a tiny mix up with the front badge: the grille team and the bonnet team were both under the impression that they had to leave room for the famous winged arrow. The bonnet team won.
The inside is also a revelation. Cabins have been getting darker, pillars thicker and visibility worse and worse. The Kodiaq merrily reverses this trend. You’ll spot it at your very first junction: you can see out easily. And, call me old fashioned, but that’s true safety. Mind you, there’s nothing new about the controls: they have been kept simple and straightforward and that, too, is a good thing.
I was blessed with the chance to carry out the ultimate SUV road test, which was to fetch tipsy teenagers from a party deep in the semi-urban sprawl of what was once charming south Hampshire countryside. The post-midnight sprint down the M27 showed how lively the new generations of small petrol engines can be and how good the Skoda’s soundproofing is over a varied selection of motorway surfaces. A bigger challenge was negotiating the speed bumps in the exclusive gated development but the Kodiaq skipped over them so well that it sort of defeated their purpose.
“Dad, can we take three more home?” As it happened, I could, thanks to the third row of seats. The smallest and most nubile were chosen (sad dads, look away now) and in they got. The trip round Hampshire dropping them all off could have turned horribly messy – especially over those speed bumps – so more praise to the suspension is due. My passengers giggled and squealed and said “like” a lot, as they relived the events, the gossip and the scandal of a lively evening. But more than one commented on how much they liked (using the word correctly, for once) the Kodiaq, so they weren’t that drunk. I smiled quietly to myself and chuckled at my stage in life; a 4×4 road test would, once upon a time, have involved mud and differentials.
Congratulations to Skoda. The Kodiaq is a fantastic addition to its stable. It may have been an unusually long time coming but it was certainly, like, worth the wait. Like.
SKODA KODIAQ SE L
♦ Engine: 1.4 TSi petrol
♦ Power: 150PS
♦ Max speed: 121mph
♦ Performance, 0 to 62: 9.9 sec
♦ Combined fuel economy: 40.9mpg
♦ Insurance group (0-20): 16
♦ Price: £29,110