Car reviews - Skoda - Kodiaq - 140 TDI AWD
Superb packaging efficiency, excellent infotainment, great steering and handling, terrific ride quality with optional adaptive suspension
Room for improvement
Seats could be plusher, missing third-row air-vents, diesel too expensive and slower than cheaper petrol, lethargic auto
Can diesel deliver in the Skoda Kodiaq 140TDI 4x4 or does petrol remain the pick?
31 Aug 2018
SKODA has been in Australia for a decade now, but in two short years a duo of fresh nameplates have been tipped to become its best-selling models. Last year’s Kodiaq large SUV is the first, and this year’s Karoq small-cum-mid-size SUV will be the second.
The arrival of this diesel Kodiaq 140TDI 4x4 earlier this year, meanwhile, has doubled the range by complementing the petrol Kodiaq 132TSI 4x4 launched in June, 2017.
We say ‘should’ because Skoda Australia has already flagged that it will not be able to get enough of either Kodiaq – or Karoq – to satisfy even moderate local demand.
In 2.0-litre turbo-petrol form the Skoda Kodiaq has proven impressive enough to be worth the wait to a buyer who needs seven seats – but is this pricier 2.0-litre turbo-diesel worth both the wait, and the extra charge?
Price and equipment
The arrival of the 140TDI 4x4 coincides with a Model Year 2018 (MY18) update for the Kodiaq, which across the range adds a larger 9.2-inch touchscreen (up from 8.0 inches) with digital radio and satellite navigation, plus a Sleep Pack consisting of a removable back-seat blanket and airline-style side-fold rear headrests.
Although the 132TSI costs $42,990 plus on-road costs, the diesel adds a seemingly hefty $6000 surcharge. It does add power and torque, while reducing fuel usage, but adds no extra kit.
Standard features include 19-inch alloy wheels, automatic on/off wipers and adaptive LED headlights, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, keyless auto-entry with push-button start, an electric tailgate, leather/Alcantara seat trim, plus adaptive cruise and dual-zone climate controls.
It is a decent list for under $45K rather than over it, especially given further options.
With $9300 in package options, a $59,290 140TDI 4x4 is better equipped than a much larger Mazda CX-9 but absolutely lineball with a flagship Kia Sorento, both of which are class leading.
The Skoda sides with the Kia in terms of size, even being 103mm shorter from nose to tail at 4697mm. Urban dwellers who park in tight streets and/or have small kids would naturally bypass the five metre-long Mazda in an instant, even if it is roomier inside. The upside here is – as with Sorento – more equipment in lieu of less room.
Even so, the Kodiaq is brilliantly packaged for its size and it has classic brand virtues such as umbrellas in the front doors, and deployable rubber strips as each door is opened to avoid car dings.
Furthermore, with seven seats up there is still 270 litres of luggage space left, which is about equivalent to a Skoda Fabia light hatch. In five-seat mode it swells to a superb 630L.
Engine and transmission
It makes for an interesting face off given that the same-sized 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder configuration is used between petrol and diesel Kodiaqs.
The major drawcard of this pricier 140TDI 4x4 is combined-cycle fuel consumption of 5.9 litres per 100 kilometres, a significant 1.7L/100km reduction over the 132TSI 4x4.
In theory, that is.
A Sorento diesel only feeds in another 7kW and 41Nm, and is a substantial 312kg heavier, but its auto partner is superb and it makes all the difference.
Ride and handling
The highlight of any Kodiaq is its steering, ride and handling blend, which is sharp, soothing and indulgent respectively.
The caveat is that the standard suspension has not been tested. The optional adaptive setup, meanwhile, delivers a bit too much wobble in Comfort, but is balanced in Normal and very disciplined in Sport.
Whether enjoying its nimble – by comparison to other seven seaters – dimensions when parking, slithering through backstreets, or tackling a rough country road, the Skoda behaves at least as well as a benchmark, but five-seat-only Mazda CX-5.
It handles, too. There is an even split between decent grip from the Pirelli Scorpion Verde tyres, clever smarts from the electronic stability control (ESC), and chassis balance very reminiscent of a Skoda Octavia, all of which makes even the grumbly diesel a delight to steer.
Safety and servicing
Nine airbags (including dual-front, front-side, rear-side, curtain and driver’s knee), ABS, electronic stability control (ESC), front and rear parking sensors with reversing camera, and autonomous emergency braking (AEB) feature in the Skoda Kodiaq.
The Skoda Kodiaq achieved five stars, scoring 35.3 out of 38 points, when tested by Euro NCAP in 2017.
Skoda’s three-year/45,000km servicing plan consists of three check-ups for a $1375 total, while its five-year/75,000km plan includes five visits for $2850 all told.
Firstly, the Skoda Kodiaq is a brilliant blend of five-seat medium SUV and seven-seat large SUV. It would even be fine to forget the second part of the equation, and it would still challenge several of the former segment rivals.
However, secondly, the overpriced diesel is not nearly the pick of the two engines available. The petrol is both sweeter, faster, more effortless and better value, if not ultimately as economical.
If diesel must do, then a Kia Sorento is it, while if space really is a family’s final frontier then sacrifice equipment and parking prowess for a Mazda CX-9.
The Skoda Kodiaq still makes a fabulous inbetweener and cosy halfway house.
Kia Sorento GT-Line from $58,990 plus on-road costs
Lush and lofty cabin quality, plus a much stronger diesel, but also larger and heavier.
Mazda CX-9 Azami from $64,790 plus on-road costs
Expensive as an equipment match, but huge exterior matched by super-spacious and plush cabin.
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