The 2023 ŠKODA Kodiaq SUV in White

Family Travels in a Škoda Kodiaq

With parents visiting from the UK adding to our family of four, I was in need of a 7-seater vehicle. We’d still need two cars for our trip across the South Island (7 seats is all good but you can’t add six people’s luggage needs to that unless you add a roof box or a trailer) but for daytrips from our home in Rangiora, the Škoda Kodiaq turned out to be perfect.

Not only that, but on my return the Škoda Sales Manager swapped me out of the ‘Style’ 4×4 petrol model into a ‘Sportline’ 4×4 diesel model, which really helped nail the emotional aspect of making this a dream car for me right now.

First impressions.

I won’t lie, I didn’t like the look of this current version of the Kodiaq when it came out. To be fair, it takes a while for me to get used to the look of any new model once I’ve become attached to the previous. BUT having driven to the coast and back, I can confidently say I’m now a big fan of its look. The white model was a good looking car with crowd-pleasing looks, but the charcoal grey really sealed the deal for me and I think the style is perfect. Just enough to look muscular without appearing at all obnoxious.

Next… child car seats.

You and your partner, two kids, and your parents/in-laws is a common configuration for long weekend travels, but fitting six people into a 7-seater car isn’t as simple as it may sound when you consider that two of those people (the kids, not the in-laws) are in child seats. If you leave the child seats strapped into the middle row, the rear row is basically inaccessible.

So instead you’ll need to put two child car seats in the rear, two-seater, row. This can be easier said than done, and I can very much vouch for that having tried in earlier 7-seaters! One problem – if you can even fit the child seats into this area to being with – is that the headrests are often not removeable from this row for some reason, and you can’t position them high enough to stop the child seats from leaning too far forward.

However, the new Kodiaq performed perfectly here. Both are ‘3-in-1’ car seat and our ‘bigger kid’ large booster seat fit into this space easily, and my 8 year old still had enough leg room with my parents sitting comfortably in the middle row. The only downside was lack of rear anchor points and ISOFIX in the third row (although the middle row has this), but I felt comfortable enough with the 3-point seatbelts of the third row.

Practical features.

Practical features is something that I very much associate with the ŠKODA brand. Their ‘Simply Clever’ slogan embodies this with a range of features designed to take their cars from something that’s nice to test drive to something you can really appreciate owning. ŠKODAs are vehicles that you’ll keep finding handy little ‘Easter egg’ style clever features throughout your ownership.

These include things like umbrellas in the doors, bag hooks and moveable dividers in the cargo area, pen holders in the glovebox, and more. I won’t go too much more into these other than to say the central storage box (where you rest your elbow) of the Kodiaq is the best I’ve experienced. While other cars do have awesome, deep central storage boxes, the Kodiaq’s is hugely practical. It’s long and shallow which means you can fit a lot in without having to dig through your stuff to get to the bottom. The elbow rest also has two positions, so you can slide it back to provide quick access to items at the front, or you can slide it fully forwards to hide items from view and make the interior feel less cluttered. The icing on the cake is this handy single removable… tray thing. In one position you have a flat tray, but flip it over and you have two cup holders, a keyfob holder, and coin holders. Or remove it completely for a larger central box. It seems ridiculous to dedicate such a large paragraph to this unit, but it’s just so handy. Especially if you’re into your photography – I found it really easy to place my camera with telephoto lens in the storage box, sliding the arm rest over it to deter thieves, or to leave the tray insert in position and place my camera on the try for quick access.

For those looking to really make riding in their cars something special, the Sportline includes a family pack with pull-up rear window shades integrated into the doors as well as arms that fold down from the headrests to add extra comfort for rear passengers.

Sportline Diesel vs. Regular Petrol

As of writing, the Kodiaq range opens at a highly respectable $51,990 plus on-road costs for the ‘Ambition’ 1.4l petrol, 110 kW, 2WD model. The white model I drove to the coast was a four-wheel drive ‘Style’ variant with a 132 kW 2.0l petrol engine at $66,990. On returning to Christchurch, I swapped into the ‘Sportline’ 2.0l diesel 4×4 model with a $78,990 price tag. That’s a big gap from the entry-level price but when you look at its engine, drive, and equipment list the difference is easily explained.

Interior features of the Sportline model include a black headliner – i.e. a black ceiling instead of an off-white one – which, along with other darker interior features, helps give the interior space a sportier look, as well as a Sportline version of the digital dash with a font that can only be described as… sportier.

Perhaps the most notable interior difference is the sports seats which hold you comfortably in place without feeling too restrictive. I’m also a fan of the fabric upholstery over the leather alternative; I’ve always found it to be more comfortable and suspect that it would be longer lasting.

Other models to compare to?

To see where the Škoda Kodiaq sits in the 7-seater SUV market, it’s worth looking at options like:

  • Toyota Highlander ($66k to $78k driveaway for their Hybrid models)
  • Kia Sorento ($60k to $91k plus on-roads with diesel, petrol, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid models)
  • Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace ($52k to to $74 plus on-road costs for their petrol models)

So it’s interesting to see that the $78k Škoda Kodiaq Sportline Diesel is priced higher than its cousin at Volkswagen, the $74k Allspace R-Line Petrol.

Speak to the team at Miles Škoda to check out this car for yourself.

For those looking to really make riding in their cars something special, the Sportline includes a family pack with pull-up rear window shades integrated into the doors as well as arms that fold down from the headrests to add extra comfort for rear passengers.

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