Ten Second Review
Skoda established itself in the mid-sized SUV segment with the first generation version of its Kodiaq, a model that was usefully upgraded in 2021 with a smarter look, both inside and out, and some more efficient engines. Buyers could still have seven seats and four wheel drive. And, whatever spec was chosen, still got class-leading passenger space and a range of distinctly Skoda 'Simply Clever' features. This Skoda can tow up to 2.5-tonnes too - and has one of the largest boots in the class from its period. In other words, you'd have to take this contender seriously as a used buy.
5dr SUV (1.4 TSI, 1.5 TSI, 2.0 TSI, 2.0 TDI)
The Skoda Kodiaq. It seems astonishing to think that prior to the original launch of this car in 2016, the Czech brand had never bought the European market a family-sized SUV. The Kodiaq was that car and proved to be a genuine game changer for the brand. In 2021, it was fully updated, creating the model we're going to look at here.
By 2021, it was one of five SUVs the brand offered but remained hugely significant for Skoda, with over 600,000 sales registered prior to the launch of this facelifted model and production plants in China, India and Russia as well as Skoda's domestic factory in Kvasiny. That allowed this car to sell in around 60 markets across the globe.
Most Kodiaq's were sold in 7-seat form, in which guise this car faced directly up to almost identically engineered models from two other VW Group brands, the SEAT Tarraco and the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace. Potential customers might also be looking at cars from this period like the Peugeot 5008 and the Nissan X-Trail.
Plenty of competition then, hence the need for this mid-term update, which brought us a slightly sharper look, a smarter customer interior, improved safety and connectivity and more efficient engines - everything, in other words, that you'd expect from a facelift. The Kodiaq sold in this form until early 2024, when it was replaced by a second generation model.
Design and Build
Skoda's sharp, clean-cut design language translated very well into the kind of purposeful premium look required of a modern full-sized SUV. The Kodiaq's just 8mm longer than the Czech brand's Octavia family hatch, yet looks far larger, with striking styling supposed to convey an impression of protection and strength. For this revised version, design chief Oliver Stefani sought to add a crisper front-end look and more dynamic tail treatment. But the changes were pretty subtle.
Most of them featured at the front, where there was a more elevated bonnet and a redesigned, more upright Skoda grille. The headlights flanking it, still inspired by traditional Czech crystal glass art, were slimmer in this revised model and got full-LED beams, with the option of intelligent Matrix technology.
Not much changed in profile with this updated MK1 design, apart from the more aerodynamic wheel designs; rims range in size from 18-inches to the 20-inch 'Sagitarius' alloys fitted at the top of the range. The rugged-looking plastic-clad wheel arches really need larger rim sizes to complete the intended SUV look, which is emphasised by roof rails and strong lower sills. It's all very practical, rather than trying to be sporty, which is why the Chinese market got an additional separate Kodiaq GT SUV Coupe model.
At the rear, the roof spoiler was redesigned, complete with its third brake light. Plus the rear window below was narrower and there were slimmer, more sharply designed LED tail lights with crystalline structures that form the Skoda-typical C-shaped light cluster. This vRS model set itself apart with distinct badging and reflector spanning the entire width of the vehicle.
Behind the wheel, the Skoda design team usefully updated the solid and quite classy Kodiaq cabin. The top vRS model featured microsuede-trimmed sports seats and red stitching, but even humbler models took a big step forward in cabin ambiance. Primarily due to additions like classier decorative strips, additional contrasting stitching, a smarter capacity steering wheel and enhanced LED ambient lighting. Plusher models could be ordered with perforated ergonomically supportive leather seats and the enhanced 10-speaker CANTON sound system.
The cabin screen tech also pushes things up-market. True, entry-level trim still came with old fashioned analogue dials and an 8-inch 'Amundsen' centre display no bigger than the screen size of the original model. But above base-spec level, this Kodiaq's cabin felt considerably more up to date with a 10.25-inch 'Virtual cockpit' digital display for the instrument binnacle and a larger 9.2-inch 'Columbus' infotainment monitor for the centre of the dash, which also included 'Laura', Skoda's 'digital assistant' voice control system. Getting comfortable is straightforward, with lots of seat and wheel adjustment making it easy to find the ideal position. Plus there's loads of cabin storage space.
And in the rear? Well the second row bench features all the versatility you'd want from this kind of seven-seat SUV, so the backrest reclines for greater comfort on long journeys and the base slides back and forth by up to 180mm. So, what's it like in the third row? Well there, you're quickly reminded that this is an SUV, not an MPV. Overall though, the space in the very back isn't really any more restricted than it would be in any other mid-sized SUV of this kind - and uncomplaining adults joining you for short journeys will probably be quite glad of it.
What about cargo capacity? With the tailgate raised, a huge aperture is revealed, complete with a usefully low loading sill. Most of the time, owners of seven-seat Kodiaq models are probably going to be using their cars with the rearmost seats folded into the floor, an action easy and simple to complete. In which case there's 630-litres of space on offer with the middle row sensibly positioned. Fold the second row bench and a class leadingly-large 2,005-litre space is revealed (or 2,065-litres in a five seat-only model).
Market and Model
Prices for this updated post-2021-era Kodiaq start from around £20,850 (around £23,250 retail), which is what you'll pay for an early '21-plate base-spec 'SE' model with the 1.5 TSI petrol engine. A '21-plate 1.5 TSI 'SE Drive' 5-seat model values at around £25,100 (around £28,000 retail). If you want a diesel, prices start from around £24,150 (around £26,500 retail), which gets you an early '21-plate 2.0 TDI 150PS 'SE' DSG auto 7-seat model. A later late '23-plate version of the same car values at around £30,000 (around £32,750 retail). If you want the top Kodiaq vRS TSI model, you're looking at around £29,900 (around £32,750 retail) for an early '21-plate car, with values rising to around £32,900 (around £36,750 retail) for one of the last late-'23-plate models. All quoted values are sourced through industry experts cap hpi. <a href="https://hpivaluations.com/">Click here for a free valuation.</a>
Cost of Ownership
Our ownership survey came up with a few things. In some cases, the door handles creak when you grab them. We've also heard of issues with the front assist sensors and the trunk cover which occasionally is stopped from rolling back. Other owners have reported premature wear of wheels, rattling sounds and parts of the upholstery coming apart. Check out all the electrics. In one case the key fob opening only the tailgate halfway. There have also been issues with door guards jamming out and getting knocked off. There have also been some reported issues with the Mirrorlink aspect of the infotainment system, so make sure that the screen pairs properly to your smart phone. Otherwise, it's just the usual things: signs of interior child damage and the interior scratches and the alloy wheels caused through poor parking. Insist on full service history.
There's a product recall we should tell you about. For models made between 2020 and 2022, there was a recall regarding engine design covers that might come loose from their attachment. Make sure that the Kodiaq you're looking at has had this recall issue addressed.
(approx based on a 2021 Kodiaq 2.0 TSI vRS excl. VAT) A pair of front brake pads are around £55; rears are around £20-£67. A pair of front brake discs start at about £57-£88; rears are around £26-£80. A water pump is around £45. Air filters sit in the £10-£31 bracket. Oil filters cost around £9-£17. A wiper blade is around £10-£17. A water pump is around £103. A rear lamp is around £176-£229. A pollen filter is around £8-£27.