Modularer Querbaukasten (MQB) is a many-splendored factor. Volkswagen Group’s MQB structure has introduced us many automobiles of many sizes, however the brand new Škoda Kodiaq stands as one of many outliers, the largest up to now to be spun from this internet of shared componentry this facet of the lengthy Škoda Very good flagship and the forthcoming Volkswagen Atlas and the primary to have three rows of seating. It received’t be coming to the States—our lobbying on behalf of the Škoda model in America clearly nonetheless has a methods to go—but it surely does give us a sneak preview of the extended-wheelbase model of the VW Tiguan, which is able to share the Kodiaq’s seven-seat platform when it arrives subsequent spring. We’d beforehand pushed solely VW’s five-seat European model of the brand new Tiguan.

Škoda Auto traces its historical past to 1895, when its founders, Messrs. Laurin and Klement (who weren’t, as we initially suspected, Czech Muppets), obtained collectively to provide bicycles, which quickly led to bikes and, by 1905, automobiles. The corporate’s location on the unsuitable facet of the Iron Curtain noticed it producing a variety of charismatic (if incessantly asthmatic) rear-engined sedans and coupes throughout its Communist period. Volkswagen purchased a controlling stake after the Curtain fell, though Škoda nonetheless does far more of its personal engineering than does Spanish sister model SEAT, which is extra depending on Wolfsburg for its automobile improvement. But, other than the compact Yeti crossover, the Kodiaq is the corporate’s first correct SUV.

Designed Like Minimize Glass

The design definitely is distinctive. Škoda’s present styling language is impressed partially by the intricate lower glass that the Czech Republic is well-known for, though the Kodiaq’s angular traces and generally sudden contours additionally could possibly be attributed to an obsession with origami. Visually it hides its mass effectively; at 184.9 inches in general size, it’s 8.3 inches longer than a Europe-spec Tiguan (however 4.1 inches shorter than the present, five-seat Touareg, which sits on the larger MLB structure). That makes it a bit shorter general than a Kia Sorento however on a barely longer wheelbase.

The cabin is spacious and effectively designed, though a few of the supplies really feel surprisingly low cost—our check automobile featured the least convincing plastic wooden we’ve seen in a while. A lot of the switchgear is shared with different VW Group merchandise, however the range-topping navigation system includes a haptic display screen for its 8.0-inch show and operated with a slickness we’ve not seen on any Volkswagen system up to now. Optionally available tools features a battery of driver aids together with a Tow Help system that helps with reversing a trailer at decrease speeds—choose the angle you need between the automobile and no matter you’re pulling utilizing the mirror-adjustment switches, and the system will mechanically steer the tow automobile to take care of it.

There’s loads of house within the first and second rows, with the (elective) third-row seats coming out of the load flooring when required. There’s extra room for anybody relegated again there than is often the case for such part-time pews, though the excessive window line permits solely a restricted view for shorter occupants. Such an association lacks the attraction of the raised “theater seating” present in crossovers such because the Mazda CX-9. The flexibility to slip either side of the second row individually eases entry to the again—though it’s nonetheless a scramble—and makes it potential to carve out sufficient house to accommodate smaller (or much less vocal) adults with out grievance. If Volkswagen delivers comparable house within the seven-seat Tiguan, patrons will probably be effectively happy.

Acquainted Powertrain Parts

The Kodiaq’s European goal market signifies that solely four-cylinder engines can be found, with three gasoline and two diesel powerplants accessible from launch, starting from a base 123-hp turbocharged 1.4-liter by means of to a cleaned-up 188-hp model of the two.0-liter turbo-diesel that obtained Volkswagen into a lot bother. The essential Kodiaq comes with front-wheel drive and a handbook gearbox, justified by what will probably be ultra-competitive pricing in most European markets, however plusher variations have all-wheel drive by means of the acquainted clutch pack developed at Haldex and now produced by BorgWarner. The automated choices in Europe are six- or seven-speed dual-clutch items that VW calls DSG; we’re anticipating a standard torque-converter computerized providing eight ratios when the seven-seat Tiguan involves America.

We drove the range-topping gasoline and diesel variants. The two.0-liter TSI is VW’s acquainted EA888 four-cylinder engine in its middling 177-hp state of tune and delivers respectable efficiency with an enthusiastic soundtrack. (A extra highly effective model is more likely to observe within the Škoda, most likely sporting RS badging and providing as a lot as 280 horsepower.) Labored laborious, the Kodiaq does a good aural impression of a two-ton Golf GTI. The 188-hp turbo-diesel makes extra torque however sounds coarse and, regardless of its 11-hp benefit over its gasoline counterpart, doesn’t really feel noticeably faster. However it appears we’re in no hazard of seeing the TDI in America any time quickly.

The Kodiaq’s measurement (and seat depend) make it a heavy beast. We determine that the seven-seater with the 1.4-liter and front-wheel drive weighs about 3500 kilos and the all-wheel-drive hi-po diesel ideas the scales close to 4000 kilos. That mass turns into evident when attempting to make sooner progress. The Kodiaq handles tidily sufficient however is totally missing any go-faster vibes, with a heavy-feeling nostril and what might effectively be essentially the most sensation-free implementation but of MQB’s electrically assisted energy steering. The automobiles we examined had adaptive dampers and metal springs, which delivered wonderful experience high quality in Consolation mode and remained impressively pliant even when switched to firmer settings. Refinement is sweet, with solely slight wind whisper from the tops of the entrance doorways breaking the serenity at cruising speeds.

The Kodiaq is a kind of automobiles that has been engineered to fulfill somewhat than to excite. As such it’s a wonderful reflection of the model values which have turned Škoda into so successful with value-seeking customers within the components of the world fortunate sufficient to be allowed to purchase its automobiles. It’s unhappy that we’re not amongst them, though our Mexico-built VWs are approaching the worth proposition that Škoda represents in Europe. If Volkswagen can supply the identical seven-seat package deal with a sharper driving expertise within the new Tiguan, and worth it as aggressively as Škoda has the Kodiaq, it could possibly be a winner.


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