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Škoda Kodiaq First Drive

One of Ireland’s most loved SUV’s, the Škoda Kodiaq, has just had second generation updates and we travelled to Spain for a first test drive. To us, it still feels recent, but believe it or not, Škoda launched the first generation Kodiaq in 2016 and a whopping 866,100 have been delivered to customers in 60 markets worldwide since. The Irish market has been particularly lucrative for the brand with 11,332 sold since its arrival to us back in 2017 and most recently in 2023, it was Ireland’s top selling 7-seater! Now for 2024 we have a Kodiaq sporting even larger proportions with striking design cues no doubt inspired by the stunning Enyaq. Take the nose for example, a stylish new front grille featuring a horizontal light strip sits proudly between the latest LED matrix beam headlights. In fact, there doesn’t really appear to be a bad angle of the new Kodiaq with a sharp profile that’s complimented further by 20-inch aerodynamically optimised alloy wheels. The modern rear end features new LED lights and what looks like a light bar going from side to side. On closer inspection it is in fact, not lit, and just a visual design trick to accentuate the width giving better road presence. Buyers will have a choice from nine colours, seven of which have metallic finishes, including the new Bronx Gold, which was to become our choice in test vehicle.



Features

After receiving the keys to our test car I was quick to open the door only to reveal a totally new cockpit that blends the best of both Enyaq and the new Superb into a delightful package. Noticeable immediately is the now free-standing 13-inch screen along with a secondary dials screen directly in the drivers eye line. Our test vehicle also had the optional head-up display projecting vitals such as speed onto the windscreen. The centre console has been decluttered to make more arm and storage space and in doing so, Škoda have repositioned the automatic gear selector onto the steering column. What if you want a manual we hear you ask? Well the new Kodiak will only be available in DSG automatic because thats predominately what sold most, around the world.


Another cool feature is the three rotary controls positioned below the infotainment screen allowing you to quickly access various vehicle and infotainment functions all within easy reach and without having to scroll through endless menus! Below this, sits a ventilated phone holder, which can wirelessly charge two smartphones at the same time. The seats are super comfortable also with massive leg and headroom for all occupants. By adopting the Design Selections already known from the Enyaq family, you get a lovely blend of coordinated colours and high quality materials. Our vehicle was wearing cognac leather with matching stitching and classy dark chrome finishing on the plastic trim surrounds.



Power

So getting down to the business end, whats under the bonnet and tell me Škoda didn’t do away with their trusty diesel offerings? Of course they didn’t! Irish buyers will have a choice of a diesel powered 150hp or 204hp 2.0 TDI engine that can also run on HVO. If this isn’t for you there is a very impressive Kodiaq iV fitted with a petrol plug-in hybrid that can travel more than 100 kilometres on electric power and produce 204hp combined. On top of this, there is a 1.5 TSI with 150 hp featuring mild-hybrid technology for the first time or you could have the flagship petrol 2.0 TSI with 204hp. The high horsepower petrol and diesel offerings also feature all wheel drive.



Costs

Pricing for the Irish market kicks off with the Selection range from €54,380 rising to €61,870. If you fancy additional spec such as the wonderful leather suite interior and privacy glass then you will have to step up to the Selection Plus range with pricing starting at €60,995 and rising to €67,270. We were informed a Sportline version is also on the horizon later this year. All 27 of the Irish Škoda dealer network are no doubt, on standby ready to offer test drives and take you through the various options in detail.



Safety

Like the new Superb and Octavia the Kodiaq features a vast array of safety systems including nano radar sensors. Positioned in the right and left corners of the front apron and rear bumper, they aid the assistance systems scan for the unexpected to keep you and your occupants safe. Turn Assist, Collision Avoidance Assist, Crossroad Assist and Exit Warning are constantly acting as secondary eyes on every journey.



Summary

The outgoing Kodiaq was arguably one of our favourite vehicles to test drive since its arrival to Ireland. The second generation was always going to have big shoes to fill but such is the progress of Škoda as a brand, we were never in doubt the new Kodiaq was going to be anything other than fantastic to drive. Our 2.0 TDI felt potent from the off in Barcelona as we travelled north towards Girona. The smooth DSG gearbox seamlessly takes gears allowing you to waft along in complete comfort. The on board entertainment is good, easy to use, but the navigation is a little hit and miss letting us down on numerous occasions. Is this a major issue? Not really, because you can use your preferred navigation through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and no doubt in time, Škoda will send an update to rectify the navigation gremlins.


On arrival to Girona we took on countryside loop only this time behind the wheel of the Plug-In Hybrid “Kodiak iV” which will hit Irish shores in quarter three this year. With a 25 kWh Lithium-ion battery we were surprised how little it brought in the petrol engine. Admittedly the test route provided was rather flat but only on an increase in elevation or Sport mode activation, did it deem necessary to fire up the combustion engine. If buyers have access to a home charger and have a daily commute of less than 100 kilometres, this could make for a very frugal machine to live with! Overall our time with both vehicles was limited but enough to get a taste for what will no doubt be another incredibly popular offering for Škoda here in Ireland. With vast cabin space, five or seven seat options along with an array of engine choices, it will surely go on to reclaim many of the awards its predecessor was so rightly honoured with in years past. Soon we will have one on home soil to see how it performs over the duration of a week. Watch this space!



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