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Car reviews - Skoda - Kodiaq - 140 TDI AWD

Our Opinion

We like
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.

A $4900 Luxury Package adds leather, electrically adjustable and heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, tri-zone climate control, plus 360-degree camera, lane-keep assistance, and blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert safety technology.

A $2500 Tech Package then loads in adaptive suspension, 10-speaker Canton audio, auto reverse-park assistance and a memory key. Meanwhile, a panoramic sunroof adds another $1900.




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.

The front seats are positioned lower than the average SUV, so it feels snug and car-like. The sliding and reclining centre bench is quite flat and short, but there is headroom and legroom to spare. And it means the third row drops in with stretching space similar to a Kia or even Mazda – although again the seat itself is firmer than it could be.


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.

Respectively, a Sorento claims 142L/605L, and on the downside only the Kia provides third-row air vents, it has softer seats and loftier trim standards.

The Skoda’s touchscreen is a fine centrepiece and ergonomically everything is as it should be, but ultimately its shiny and sometimes scratchy plastics look and feel more like a $40K model than a sub-$60K contender.


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.

Respectively, 132kW of power becomes 140kW, while 320Nm of torque swells to 400Nm.

Kerb weight moves from 1677kg to 1730kg, however, and claimed 0-100km/h performance goes the wrong way, too – from 8.2 to 8.6 seconds.


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.

But spending $6000 more up front just to save in the long run cannot be the only benefit, and that extra torque should help make this Skoda feel more relaxed when loaded with kids and gear.


In theory, that is.

The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic – dubbed DSG – is a disappointment, dropping into tall gears too early, but then failing to react to slight inclines without speed falling or the driver needing to add throttle.

Combined with soft response through that pedal, a grumbly noise at low revs, and a slowness to extend the tachometer needle, and the diesel feels strained next to the smooth, sweet spinning (if harder drinking) petrol.


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.

Meanwhile the 140TDI 4x4 delivered 8.3L/100km on test, where a 132TSI 4x4 has previously delivered 9.6L/100km. It is too close.


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.

The Mazda CX-9 by comparison, is fine to drive, but bulky, while a Sorento is only within striking distance of this model.


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.

The Kodiaq also comes with a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty like all new Skoda models.




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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