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    2022 Skoda Kodiaq First Drive Review

    Authors Image

    Sagar Bhanushali

    10,879 Views
    Skoda Kodiaq Right Front Three Quarter

    Why would I buy it?

    • Solid build
    • Practical and capacious cabin
    • Ride and handling balance

    Why would I avoid it?

    • Lack of diesel drivetrain
    • Cramped third row seating

    Verdict

    Right Front Three Quarter

    The folks over at Skoda India have been very busy off late. After introducing two new models last year, the Kushaq and the Octavia, the Czech carmaker is now on its way to launch the much awaited replacement for the Rapid, dubbed Slavia. Now as we wait for the Slavia, Skoda has gone ahead and launched yet another model and it’s the Kodiaq. Fresh for 2022 and with a lot of changes, this family SUV is now a petrol-only model and while some of us here at CarWale are going to miss the frugality and mile munching ability of the erstwhile diesel version, the basic recipe has remained the same. The Kodiaq isn’t as tall or burly as a ladder frame SUV, but then it isn’t as compact or curvaceous as a typical soft-roader either. Skoda has hit that sweet spot in the Kodiaq’s design – it’s broad-shouldered and attracts plenty of stares. Basically it’s a mid-size SUV that genuinely drives like a big sedan, with enough room for five adults and two kids.

    Left Rear Three Quarter

    Besides the shift to a petrol-only drivetrain, the Kodiaq has also had its variants rejigged for 2022. Earlier you had Style, Scout, and L&K trim to choose from but now the rugged looking Scout has been replaced by a rather sharp looking Sportline version.

    Engine and Performance

    Engine Shot

    The Kodiaq now gets the same 2-litre TSI turbocharged engine that we have earlier sampled in the new VW Tiguan and the Octavia. Here it makes 187bhp and 320Nm and is paired to a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission. The power is sent to all four wheels through an electronically controlled AWD system. For the Kodiaq, the focus is on drivability and efficiency keeping in mind the model’s extra weight. Press the steering column mounted starter button and you will hardly notice any noise or vibrations through the cabin – it’s refined right from the word go.

    Left Front Three Quarter

    Now we have sampled this 2-litre TSI engine is so many VW Group cars lately, so naturally we had some expectations with regards to the refinement and performance. We are happy to report that the Kodiaq didn’t disappoint for the most part. Power delivery remains smooth and extremely linear and it’s quite predictable as well. Although there is a bit of turbo lag under 2,000revs and you can really feel it in Eco mode wherein the throttle response is a bit lazy, this engine overall is commendably responsive and quiet. It impresses under most conditions and allows the Kodiaq to mask its weight and get up to speed effortlessly. Thanks to the strong mid-range, this motor never feels strained when you are going for it. Unlike the diesel Kodiaq which offered just about enough punch on the highway, there’s always power in reserve so overtaking is effortless. The 2022 Kodiaq can handle everyday commutes just as well as it can cover interstate runs, well as long as you can digest the relatively low fuel efficiency.

    Left Rear Three Quarter

    The Kodiaq’s strong performance is, in no small part, to the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic which is quick and responsive when you are in a hurry and you need to reel in that gap in traffic. At slow speeds there is less hesitancy in stop/start traffic and the downshifts are better masked, too, compared to earlier versions of the DSG. On part throttle, it upshifts early at the meat of the torque band to make quick progress. This gearbox really allows the Kodiaq to stretch its legs out on the highway, thanks to the tall sixth and seventh ratios. You get as many as six driving modes as part of the new Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) system. Each mode alters the throttle response and gearshifts with dedicated off-road-focused modes to handle mild off-road situations.

    Ride and Handling

    Right Front Three Quarter

    Perhaps the biggest highlight of the 2022 Kodiaq is the fact that it comes with the VW Group’s Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) system which not only alters the engine/gearbox and steering response as per the drive mode, but also the shocks. The shocks, in fact, are gas-liquid filled and are paired to a standalone ECU that constantly monitors road surfaces and alters damping forces on each shock. As a result, the new Kodiaq rides noticeably flatter across changing road conditions especially at medium to high speeds compared to the old car. Even over broken patches and rutted surfaces, the ride remains unfazed and comfortable.

    Left Side View

    In Sport mode, the Kodiaq behaves noticeably different as the steering gets heavier and the throttle response becomes crisper. Through corners it feels stable and predictable – the steering is light and weighs up nicely as you put on some lock, with sufficient feel on centre. Now the Kodiaq isn’t as keen to turn in or change directions like some of the German crossovers but then it doesn’t wallow like a ladder frame SUV either. All told, its body control is more car-like and the noise suppression is good, too.

    Interior Space and Quality

    Dashboard

    The cabin design and layout is the same for the 2022 car except for a couple of changes. Firstly, there’s the new two-spoke steering that all flagship Skodas now come with. Secondly, the materials for the dash and the door pads have been refreshed as part of the update. Otherwise, the cabin design remains unchanged and like in the Superb and the new Octavia, you get a lot of chrome highlights and shiny black surfaces while the generous center console and a large touchscreen infotainment system along with the all-digital instrument cluster are visual draws. What’s unique to the Kodiaq though are the vertical elements such as the four large air vents. The gear lever, too, is different and is nice and chunky to hold. It’s not all perfect though, as despite the flagship nature of the Kodiaq, it isn’t as special as it should be when it comes to common switchgear. The cabin may seem wide at first but the ergonomics are spot-on, with plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment. The control stalks behind the wheel and the climate control switches are within easy reach, as well. The Kodiaq scores high when it comes to storage options, with twin glove boxes, a large storage bin under the front armrest and equally practical door pockets.

    Front Row Seats

    The front seats are nice and big and they let you sink in comfortably. Thanks to their generous size, there’s good thigh support on offer. Rear seat passengers unarguably have the best deal, with excellent legroom and shoulder room. There is enough room for an adult to stretch their feet out and sink into the seat. However, the cushioning is a bit firm and the seatback isn’t as deeply sculpted as the front.

    Second Row Seats

    Surprisingly, the middle bench doesn’t tumble forward which means getting into the third row is bit of a squeeze. As for the space in here, it’s acceptable only for kids, if we are honest. The combination of a high floor and low seat means you end up sitting in a cramped manner with your knees locked in.

    Bootspace

    Even with all the seats up, the Kodiaq’s 270-litre boot is usable. With the third row folded flat, it’s a lot more capacious at 630-litres but it’s when you put the second row down as well, that you realise how big and practical the Kodiaq’s 2,005-litre storage is. What’s more, the loading lip on the boot is at a good height, and the tailgate itself is electrically powered, making the whole deal all the more convenient.

    Features and Equipment

    Infotainment System

    The eight-inch display for the infotainment system might seem small in today’s age but its packing a lot of features. There’s Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Skoda’s SmartLink connectivity with inbuilt navigation and visuals for the 360-degree camera. The system is crisp, clean and is paired to a 12-speaker high-end sound system which sounds great. The Kodiaq also gets nine airbags, ABS, ESP, traction control, panoramic sunroof, electric tailgate, parking sensors all around, ambient lighting and electric front seats.

    Sunroof/Moonroof

    All of that is standard affair in this class, but what’s unique in here are some of the clever features including drowsiness alert, a three-zone climate control and hands free parking. As part of Skoda’s Simply Clever arrangement, you also get an umbrella in the driver side door, a ticket holder and thick floor mats. Unfortunately, Skoda isn’t offering what is perhaps the cleverest feature anymore which used to be those pop-out plastic strips that veer out to protect the door edges when you open them. The 2022 model also misses out on active safety tech like ADAS and at a much more rudimentary level, conventional USB ports.

    Conclusion

    Front View

    Other than the lack of a diesel option and new-age active safety features, there is very little to fault on the 2022 Kodiaq. It’s well put together, comes with a lot of clever features and the usual array of feel-good premium kit. The cabin is spacious and legitimately versatile, too – one can really use the Kodiaq to haul heavy stuff or ferry a large family. Speaking of large, if your priorities are road presence and burly looks then the Kodiaq probably isn’t the car for you. It will get dwarfed by the likes of the MG Gloster and the Toyota Fortuner, but if you are looking for a solid, all round SUV, the Kodiaq makes for a mighty impressive choice, especially at a starting price of Rs 34.99 lakh (ex-showroom).

    Rear View

    The L&K version that you see here is also priced quite reasonably at Rs 37.49 lakh and when you compare it to premium soft roaders like the BMW X1, the Mercedes GLA and the Volvo XC40, it comes across as great value given its superior size and versatility.

    Pictures by Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi

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