Home / Reviews / First Drive / 2023 Škoda Kodiaq – Refreshed and Relevant

 

The Škoda Kodiaq may not be a car that one would associate with a high-speed track and an off-road course but we are glad we got to drive it on both at Natrax.

Story: Joshua Varghese
Photography: Sanjay Raikar and Škoda India

The most premium Škoda on sale in India has been given a few updates and we went to Natrax in Indore to see what is new. Of course, since we went all the way there, would have been a shame if the car was not let loose on their remarkable test tracks. Here are our thoughts after a brief experience.

The most significant change on the exterior of the car is its aerodynamics. Škoda have modified the rear spoiler with finlets and they claim it allows the car to slice through the air better. We drove only the top-of-the-line Laurin and Klement (L&K) model and the aesthetic updates are minimal on that one. Chrome garnishes on the grille and windows, special 18-inch wheels and roof rails painted silver are a few elements that set it apart from the other variants on offer but other than the improved aero there are almost no changes when compared to the earlier L&K.

The cabin continues to be a three-row, seven-seater layout as before with the first couple of rows offering the best in terms of comfort and space. While the front seats have the advantage of being electrically-adjustable and also boast of a heating/cooling function, the second row seats make up for it with a thoughtful split headrest that extends down to form a neck pillow-like structure, quite useful for a quick nap. Placed right above the wheel arches, the third row offers just enough room for small children. All the seats are wrapped in beige perforated leather upholstery and they are plush and comfortable. With all rows up, the boot space is a meagre 270 litres but it can be expanded to a voluminous 2,005 litres by collapsing the second and third rows.

Changes to the dashboard are minimal and the touchscreen unit features the latest in the world of smartphone connectivity but it must be noted that it is supported by an immersive Canton sound system (12 speakers and a sub-woofer). Škoda have also given this car a lot of attention to detail and my favourites include the headlight washer and driver’s glovebox. I reckon everyone’s favourite feature will definitely be the automatic door protectors. A sleek silicon sheath creeps out onto the sill when a door is opened and folds away neatly when it is closed. Quite useful in tight parking spots.

Under the bonnet, the 2.0-litre, in-line, four-cylinder, turbo-petrol engine has been updated to comply with the latest emission regulations and Škoda claim it is slightly more efficient in this latest iteration, Thankfully, that has not come at the expense of power and torque because it develops 190 hp and 320 Nm even now. All of that is effectively regulated using a seven-speed DSG. Furthermore, the Kodiaq is all-wheel-drive where power is sent to the rear wheels automatically whenever it is needed. Otherwise, it functions as a front-wheel-drive car.

To experience the potential of the ‘Off-road’ button on the dashboard, Škoda had set up an off-road course. Although one may not associate it with off-roading, the Kodiaq proved that it can power through the tough stuff, if required. I would not call it an off-roader but I am also reasonably convinced that it can traverse a road that has not been paved or maintained, maybe even a mild trail.

On the high-speed track, the Kodiaq was in its element. In Sport mode, it revved through each gear rapidly and gathered speed quickly for such a large car. Even when entering the banked curve of the track flat-out, the Kodiaq kept its composure and I could have changed lanes confidently if I wanted to. Planted as it was, there was some buffeting at times due to cross-winds but hardly enough to worry about. The speed kept climbing throughout, topping out at an indicated 218 km/h.

No changes have been made to the suspension and braking set-up. Since we drove it only on a curated off-road track and the smooth high-speed track, there is not much I can say about the ride quality over poor roads. From my experience, the suspension was set up rather well and allowed the car to hold the road well, even at high speed.

For a car that is so easy to drive fast, safety is essential and Škoda’s commitment to the same has been exemplary. The Kodiaq’s safety equipment includes nine airbags and a long list of driving aids which I am sure have contributed towards its five-star rating in Euro NCAP.

For the Laurin and Klement model, one has to shell out Rs 41.39 lakh (ex-showroom), making this the most premium Škoda car on sale in India. That being said, it does have what it takes to live up to that standard.

Also Read: MG Comet EV First Drive Review

 

About the author: Joshua Varghese

 

Would gape at fast cars. Still does but now has a chance to drive some of them. Hates driving in traffic but makes up for with a spot of off-roading or the occasional track outing. Insta: @motoknight

 

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