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Living with the Skoda Kodiaq L&K TDI

Introduction

This the Skoda Kodiaq. It’s a very large, very practical and in this case, a very brown SUV, on sale in India since 2017. It’s the first of Skoda’s new generation of SUVs that it has planned over the next few years not just for global markets but for India too. We have spent a week with the Kodiaq to give you an idea of what it is like to live with and how it performs in various roles that the car would have to perform in the course of its life.

How practical is it?

European sensibilities.

This term should best describe what these cars offer in terms of practicality. Skoda cars have always been practical and this one is no less. Now given the car’s size and pricing, the basic practical bits are in abundance across all three rows.

There are two 1.0-litre bottle holders in every door and 500ml holders for the third row as well as the arm rest for the second row, dual glove boxes (lower is cooled) and even a front arm rest storage.

The rear windows get curtains while the third and second row fold nearly flat for what could only be described as a small closet’s worth of additional storage space. This is mostly standard across the segment and it is practicality that puts this car on par with its rivals.

However, it is the extra little details that are actually indicative of the kind of thinking that goes on at Skoda when it comes to practicality and useable bits. Take, for example, the little light that comes on when you open the hatch door. It detaches from its recess and becomes a nifty little LED torch.

In this top-of-the-line L&K trim you get (as standard) a Skoda blanket that is packed away in a box and can be hung using the base of the front seat headrests. In addition to these blanket(s) Skoda has fitted side head supports to prevent your head from lolling about when you close your eyes and dream about driving your Skoda Kodiaq.

Now Skoda has felt that because the Kodiaq is quite lengthy, it is necessary to give a way for the first and third row to be able to talk without having to speak like you are screaming at the person. For this, they have installed a microphone above the IRVM that sends the voices of the first to the speakers of the third row. One of the few downsides we found to the Kodiaq is that the space in the third row is quite poor and we also felt that Skoda should have fitted USB charging ports for the second and third row in place of the 12V sockets. 

What’s the fuel efficiency like?

The only engine on offer with the Kodiaq is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel producing 150bhp@3500rpm and 340Nm@1750rpm. Transmission duties are done by a seven-speed automatic with AWD being standard for both the Style and L&K variants.
Using the CarWale testing cycle, we got 11.18kmpl in city conditions and 15.20kmpl in highway conditions. Considering our road conditions and the fact that the Kodiaq weighs around 1.8-tonnes, this is an impressive figure.

What’s on the feature list?

At the time of writing this story, the Skoda Kodiaq was available in two variants- Style 4X4 TDI and L&K 4X4 TDI and they are priced at Rs 40.8 lakhs and Rs 42.54 lakhs (on-road Delhi).

At this price range, the Kodiaq offers a standard dual zone climate control, power driver’s seat, leather upholstery and a 10-inch display for the infotainment system as well as plenty of space all around (two rows at least).

But then it’s the little extra bits that make this car fun to own. We liked the sunroof as well as the digital instrument cluster a.k.a virtual cockpit. It’s a massive piece of glass on the roof and has both a sunroof and moon roof section. 

The digital instrument cluster manages to marry classic Skoda design traits with modern Skoda design. It has multiple screens showing various bits of information in different combinations and it appears to be a full HD display. While the screen may be modern, Skoda has stuck to its signature fonts and colour schemes and designs.   

There is a lot of safety equipment on offer with the Kodiaq in this L&K trim including nine airbags, stability programme, brake prefill as well as auto dimming mirrors. The one assistance feature we really liked was the auto park function. Thanks to a multitude of sensors and cameras, you just need to find a suitable spot and operate the brake, accelerator and gearbox to allow the Kodiaq to park itself. This is a very useful tool for a car the size of the Kodiaq.  

How does it perform on the daily commute?

At 4.69-meters, the Skoda Kodiaq is a large vehicle by any measure. This means that despite its understated looks, the Kodiaq stands out in a crowd.  But surprisingly, it is very easy to drive and once you get in and get going, the car just shrinks around you and feels compact, hiding its real size.

The torque kicks in really early, making it quite easy to move the Kodiaq’s 1.83-tonne weight around at slow speeds. It's best to leave the seven-speed gearbox in auto mode and let it do its own thing as the shifts feel seamless and will literally run in the background without making too much of a sound (figuratively and literally).

Another thing we noticed about the Kodiaq’s ability as a city vehicle is how quiet and refined it actually it can actually be when the rest of the crowd around you is lost in a honking match frenzy. The NVH insulation is very good and even manages to keep out a majority of the clatter from the 2.0-litre diesel engine. The low speed ride quality is a bit on the stiffer side but we can tell that this is a middle-ground that the Skoda has managed to find in terms of vehicle stability and ride quality.

How is it for a weekend with the gang?

We’ve told you repeatedly that the Kodiaq is a huge car and that’s quite obvious even in the pictures. The large dimensions mean that five can travel in great comfort for lengthy distances. However, the third row is a bit of squeeze and is best left to little kids (there’s three point seat belts even in the third row) or for short trips.

As we mentioned earlier, it’s loaded up with features that would make long drives extremely comfortable and additionally, Skoda also offers useful accessories like a cycle rack, portable coffee maker, coat hangers as well as a thermo electric cooled box that is essentially a portable fridge.  

We’ve already told you that the third row folds flat giving you quite bit of more boot space all around. In addition, the seats fold individually so you have multiple configurations of space allotment options. 

On the go, the Kodiaq feels surprisingly stable for a vehicle of this size. You can be doing as much as 120kmph at just a shade under 2000rpm in seventh gear and even a part throttle input at this range will give you sufficient punch to make quick overtakes.  While it’s no Octavia RS around the corners, if you plan well ahead and glide from point to point rather than shoving the car into the turn, you should have a fun experience with the Kodiaq.

What’s the deal with the warranty?

Currently, Skoda is offering the Kodiaq with a four-year service package. It’s in three parts- a four year warranty, four-year Skoda assist package as well as a four-year maintenance package. They can be purchased together or separately and is transferable when the car is sold by the owner. 

Four Year Skoda warranty
4 Years/100,000 Km manufacturer-backed additional warranty 
The promotional offer that is applicable in third and fourth year up to a maximum distance of 100,000 Km, remains with the vehicle even after changing hands.

Four year Skoda assist
Exclusive 24x7 non-stop assistance service for 4 years, unlimited Km
Assistance on-the-go any time of the day or night and anywhere in India

Four year Skoda maintenance package
Four Years/60,000 Km, 4 periodic maintenance services at the interval of 15,000 Km or one year (whichever comes first)

Conclusion

We begin with the negatives which is that the 2.0-litre diesel engine lacks top-end punch and the large size can be cumbersome when hunting for a parking space in dense urban areas. The price range of Rs 40.8 lakhs to Rs 42.5 lakhs (on-road Delhi) makes it significantly more expensive than the competition around it. On the positive side, it’s large but understated, filled with good and, in some cases, very useful features and there is sufficient grunt to have a good driving experience both at high speeds and low speeds.

Photos: Kaustubh Gandhi


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Skoda Kodiaq Price in Popular Cities

CityOn-Road Prices
Mumbai₹ 41.1 Lakhs onwards
Bangalore₹ 42.79 Lakhs onwards
Hyderabad₹ 40.76 Lakhs onwards
Kolkata₹ 37.65 Lakhs onwards
New Delhi₹ 40.18 Lakhs onwards
Chennai₹ 40.99 Lakhs onwards
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