“IT doesn’t look like a Skoda.”
I’ve heard those words at least twice while driving this Kodiaq.
Hard to work out if it’s an insult or compliment.
You’d have to be living in a cave playing poker with Lord Lucan and Shergar to not realise Skoda makes great cars these days.
But it’s true Skoda’s design game has been upped only recently.
Since VW ownership, Skodas have become loved for their practicality, good road manners and solid economy.
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But to be spontaneously complimented on their looks, even if it is a back-handed dig at how boring they used to look?
It’s the final piece of the jigsaw.
Here’s a sentence I wouldn’t have written five years ago. Based on looks alone I would have something like the Skoda Enyaq over the VW and Audi equivalents.
And I’d take a Kodiaq over a VW Tiguan.
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The version I’ve been driving looks especially slick.
Sportline models wear some extra make-up – black grille, discreet boot spoiler, 20in wheels.
Overall it still looks sensible, but it’s definitely attractive. A bit like that woman on Countdown who knows all about words.
Beyond the pretty face, there’s still everything we’ve come to love Skoda for.
There’s an extra row of seats in the back on most models, which are big enough to be bearable for adults on short hops and plenty roomy enough for kids.
The rest of the cabin is airy and comfortable too. You could survive as a family of six or seven with a Kodiaq alone, no need to go down the MPV route if you don’t want.
The scratchier, hard-wearing plastics are where they should be – in the line of fire from kids – but elsewhere the materials are soft and squishy enough to make you feel like you’re in something more premium.
The infotainment system causes no grumbles – it’s responsive to inputs and has a sensible number of menus to get your head around. I had a choice of test driving the 1.5-litre two-wheel-drive version or the 2-litre all-wheel-drive model.
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Seeing as petrol costs more per litre than Chanel No5 these days, I went for the former.
I would recommend it.
Volkswagen’s 1.5 TSI unit feels plenty peppy enough, even in a bigger car like this.
The slick DSG gearbox helps too. It’s a solid partnership.
Out on the road the Kodiaq behaves sweetly.
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It’s a comfortable ride, without being too wallowy in corners, and the cabin stays peaceful even at higher speeds.
Is a Kodiaq the ideal family car? It’s certainly up there, especially now it’s got a face everyone can love.
KEY FACTS: SKODA KODIAQ SPORTLINE
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo petrol
0-62mph: 9.8 secs
Top speed: 126mph
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