SKODA Kariaq 4x4 TDI Road Test

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SCOUT MASTER


A short while ago I looked at the petrol powered Skoda Kodiaq 4x4. Inherently, nothing at all wrong with the car apart from just one thing the fuel consumption. No matter how it was driven, at no time did it achieve anything more than 30 mpg which begged the question, why would anyone buy a petrol powered vehicle such as this? Granted the usual political lies about diesels are still doing the rounds whilst there will always be a core of customers determined to ‘do their part’ for the environment.


But when the diesel Kodiaq returns at least 17mpg if not more than the petrol and has a significantly lower C02 level, green credentials start to mean significantly less especially where your wallet is concerned. Just add all those additional seventeen miles per gallon together over the course of twelve months motoring and it’s a substantial amount of saved fuel and your urge to save the planet might start to waver if only slightly.


The Kodiaq as tested is the range topping Scout which like all Kodiaq sits on the new VW medium to large MQB platform. Featuring Skoda’s now familiar sharper lines and swept back LED lighting that separate the forward facing radar system, the clamshell bonnet, high cut arches, neat tucks and folds along each side define the smoothly rising waistline. Four large doors that incorporate cantilever door protectors, the rear doors noticeably extended for passengers six and seven access whilst the deep tailgate allows ease of access to the cargo area.


Sat on MacPherson front suspension and multi-link at the rear with a torsion stabilizer on the both, the 19” Scout specific crater alloys and 235/50 rubber giving the Kodiaq a positive stance. But whilst it carries all the SUV hallmarks the Kodiaq isn’t aggressive, even with the additional Scout protection Skoda has fortuitously resisted the urge to take the Kodiaq urban commando.


Continuing the Scout upgrades the cabin’s quality and design is one of comfort and ease of understanding. Soft touch textured surfaces, large slightly retro looking yet clear instrumentation, a centrally mounted 8” infotainment/satnav/car data gesture and touch control screen, a plentiful array of storage spaces with a CD player located within the well sized glovebox. A leather sports multi-function steering wheel allows the driver to access and control most things whilst additional switches such as mode control and ‘off road’ deployment are controlled on a small bank located on the central console.


Heavily bolstered in the front, the fully adjustable leather and alcantara heated seating is sizable and comfortable, the rear seat passengers equally well accommodated five occupants able to travel with generous leg, head and shoulder room. Folding flat into the boot floor, the two additional seats for passengers six and seven are more than adequate although best suited to children or shorter journeys for adults.


If this Scout has an addition that I trust is optional it’s the wood effect inserts on the doors and dashboard. Basically, it isn’t of the best quality whilst it looks horrendously out of place since it neither compliments nor adds to the looks or feel of the interior. Trim aside, with all seven seats in place, the Kodiaq will still comfortably hold 270 litres of cargo, 650 litres as a five seater and 2,065 with the 40:20:40 rear seats folded. And dependant on engine size there’s an additional 2,000kg towing maximum.


Motive power comes in the case of the Scout seen here comes from the latest VW sourced 4-cylinder diesel. Developing 150hp and a useful 340Nm of torque, the car hits 62mph in a respectable 9.8 seconds and onwards to a 119mph top speed, all of which is applied via the recently upgraded 7-speed DSG automatic transmission. But it’s the fuel consumption that sets the diesel significantly apart from its petrol equivalent. Returning a useful average of 46.6 mpg a figure that climbs to 50mpg during motorway use, at least 500 miles if not more can easily be expected from each 60 litre refill of the fuel tank.


The driver can also select from three settings being ‘Eco’ that backs everything off to its minimum, ‘Normal’ that most drivers will find the optimum setting and ‘Sport’ that weights up the steering, peps up the engine response and holds each gear slightly longer. And should you require it, there’s also the full sequential gears option, ideal for when towing or traveling off road along with hill decent and stability control, the three performance settings and gear shift options combining to give the Kodiaq excellent versatility whilst giving the driver rapid option choices dependant on the immediate conditions. Alternatively, activate the adaptive cruise control and just sit back and steer.


The overall feeling of the Kodiaq is one of impressive smoothness. The steering weight can be set to the individual’s personal preference by selecting the ‘Personal’ option located within the main touchscreen making the 11.6 meter turning circle easy to dial on and off. The gear changes are imperceptible, the engine’s response to throttle inputs as immediate as any driver could ask for. Ride quality ensures that all but the deepest potholes are passed over without their effect making their way into the cabin, the chassis dynamics keeping the Kodiaq pliant and occupant friendly.


Body roll has been kept to a minimum whilst the overall Kodiaq experience is one of refinement and ease of use no matter what the owner might ask of it. For those who’d prefer, two-wheel drive versions of the Kodiaq are available but like many vehicles of this type, if all you require is drive to the front wheels, Skoda’s Superb and Octavia estates would in all likelihood work out to be the better options. Basically, if the Kodiaq appeals and ticks all the boxes, the 2-litre 4x4 diesel is without question the model to go for.


And at £36,910 for the Scout spec as seen here, the OTR price certainly isn’t out of it especially when you consider exactly what you’re getting in respect of kit, performance and obvious economy advantages irrespective of the fact diesel cost more than petrol per litre.


Like the rest of the Skoda range, if lease or contract hire packages appeal, go directly to your Skoda dealer. In comparison to most of the independent lease companies, Skoda will in most instances be able to better the initial deposit, monthly fees and mileage allowances. All I’d suggest is that unless you’ve got a sense of humour, delete the faux wood trim.


By; Mark Stone