Sensible But Sporty: Skoda Kodiaq Sportline First Drive

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So you’re after a seven seat SUV that’s sensible, practical, but also has a sporty edge to it? Well then, the new Skoda Kodiaq Sportline could well be for you. Introduced last year, it’s currently the most expensive model in the line up offering sporty styling as well as an abundance of goodies. Is it worth having though? I had a quick spin in it at the Millbrook Proving Ground to find out.

Pleasant Surprise

The outside helps to give you an idea that this is a sportier Kodiaq, but step inside and this message is shouted loud and clear with the inclusion of sports seats. These are trimmed in leather and alcantara, offering a good level of comfort and support, although I would have liked a bit more bolstering on the sides. The rest of the interior is pretty much standard Skoda, meaning that it’s well laid out, and easy to use.

Skoda Kodiaq Sportline First Drive

What engines are available?

You can either have a 1.4 litre turbocharged petrol which offers 148bhp, or a 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol which offers 178bhp. There is also a 2.0 litre turbocharged diesel which can be had in either 148bhp or 187bhp guises. Dependant on the engine, you’ll receive either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed DSG – all models boast four wheel drive capability.

What kit does it have?

Priced from £33,135 – the most expensive Kodiaq currently available – it had better a good amount of kit. Thankfully it does, as it’s able to boast features including 20″ alloys, sporty styling, 9.2″ touchscreen, navigation, smartphone connectivity, keyless entry, dual zone climate control, LED lights, rear parking sensors plus much more. It’s a nice spec, but it’s not the cheapest, so you may want to consider a trim level such as the SE Technology, which still offers a good amount of kit, and is priced below £30,000.

Skoda Kodiaq Sportline First Drive

Sporty, but still “Simply Clever”

There are clever features such as small bag holders in the doorbins within the front doors, which is handy for collecting rubbish, plus the front doors also hold umbrellas. There is also a removable LED torch located in the boot in case of emergencies. It’s these little touches that really help to back the Czech firm’s “Simply Clever” tagline. You can also fit seven people in the car, making the car well suited for family life.

What’s it like to drive?

The engine on test here is the 1.4 litre turbo, which is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox with power, of course, going to all four wheels. Predictably, it’s not the fastest out of the bunch with a 0-62 time just below 10 seconds and a top speed of 121mph. If you’re really concerned about having the most performance, then the 2.0 litre petrol will be the one to go for as that has an improved 0-62 time of 8.0 seconds and a top speed of 127mph.

The performance may not be anything special on paper, but on the tarmac is provides a decent amount of grunt, which is impressive given the size of the car. It’s not fast of course, but I believe it will be enough to keep most buyers happy. One aspect I did really like about the Sportline was the 6-speed manual, which provided a slick, snappy gearchange – one that I wasn’t expecting if truth be told.

Skoda Kodiaq Sportline First Drive

The steering offers a decent weight, and it’s direct enough for a car of this size. It’s not too bad in the corners either; yes there is some typical SUV body roll, but it’s not as bad as I was expecting. There’s a good amount of grip, although it ought to, thanks to the four wheel drive system. The ride is pretty good too – yes, it’s got a firm edge to it, but it’s not crashy. The ride will be busier than other Kodiaq models with smaller alloys though, so if you looking for higher ride comfort you may want to look a different trim level.

Another area that will be worth considering is VED. Thanks to the 156g/km of CO2 emitted by the 1.4 litre turbocharged petrol engine, you’ll be expected to pay a rather eye-watering £515 for the first year of VED. If that is simply too much to swallow, then you can have a look at the 2.0 litre turbocharged diesel offering 148bhp. When mated to a manual gearbox, that emits 144g/km, which doesn’t sound like a huge difference, but for the first year of VED you’ll pay a much improved £205.

In terms of fuel economy, it will come as no surprise that the aforementioned diesel is also more frugal, as it offers 51.4mpg on a combined run compared to the 1.4 litre petrol’s 40.9mpg. 38.2mpg is offered by the 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol, and 49.6mpg is offered by the more powerful 2.0 litre turbocharged diesel.

Skoda Kodiaq Sportline First Drive

Has it got enough space?

The Kodiaq is a large SUV, so you’d expect it to offer a decent amount of space inside. Thankfully the Kodiaq fulfills expectations, and then some. With all seven seats up you’ll have 270 litres, which doesn’t sound overly impressive, but you don’t need the rear two seats up you’ll be able to enjoy 630 litres of space. If you need even more than that, you can fold down the middle row of seats as well and then you’ll have around 2,000 litres to play with – impressive stuff indeed.

Skoda Kodiaq Sportline First Drive

Space for passengers is also very good, although the rear seats won’t be quite as spacious as those in front of them. In the front you’ll have lots of room at your disposal, and the same can also be said to the middle row. Even behind a driver’s seat that had been altered for me I had plenty of legroom as well as a healthy amount of headroom.

Final Thoughts

I quite liked the Skoda Kodiaq Sportline; it offers sporty looks, a good amount of kit and a reasonable amount of performance. Having said that, it doesn’t offer the biggest bang for you buck in the Kodiaq line up, and I’m not sure how many people will be willing to cough up the extra money for this model. The high VED price of the 1.4 litre petrol may well put people off as well, but thankfully there are other engine choices as well.

The Sportline is a nice model to offer in Skoda’s Kodiaq range, but unless you’re really desperate for one, I would urge to look at other models in the range as they should still satisfy your needs, and they will also greater satisfaction to your wallet as well.

Skoda Kodiaq Sportline First Drive

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