Road Test: Refreshed Kodiaq has good SUV genes

Large and in charge: The Skoda Kodiaq rides well on challenging terrain. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

AS a large, capable and spacious seven-seat AWD SUV that revels in our challenging terrain and driving conditions, the impressive Skoda Kodiaq nails it.

With the same platform, powertrains and running gear as the current Volkswagen Tiguan, it has good SUV genes.

As one of Skoda’s best sellers, it recently underwent an obligatory mid-model life update.

The refresh features more assertive styling and improved aerodynamics that reduce both wind noise and fuel consumption.

Large and in charge . . . The Skoda Kodiaq rides well on challenging terrain. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The Kodiaq offers a model for most from the $48,990 price-leading 2WD Ambition to three AWD models, starting with the $63,990 Style powered by a 132kW turbo petrol served up for this road test. This engine is also available in higher spec Sportline trim for another $5000, while optioning a lusty 147kW turbo bumps the price up to $74,990. The flagship is the $79,990 RS that is now feistier with a 2.0-litre 180kW turbo petrol engine.

The 2022 Kodiaq has an elevated bonnet and more upright front grille.

Step inside the new Kodiaq and it is hard not to be impressed by the modern visual touches, such as new decorative strips and additional contrasting stitching on the dashboard and door panels, while the LED ambient lighting is very classy.

The 132kW 2.0-litre turbo motor is a solid enough allrounder that does most things efficiently, without excelling in any particular areas.

Throttle response is brisk enough from standing starts without ever threatening to trigger an adrenaline rush.

Smoothness and refinement are better than many of its SUV peers.

The test vehicle’s engine rather unexpectedly brought some genuine strength and purpose to the performance table when it was under load over undulating terrain.

Here it made light work of what can be a heavy-duty assignment for some SUVs powered by a 2.0-litre engine.

The Volkswagen-designed seven-speed automatic is a good one with a cohesive and well-organised plan for changing gears in place.

However, it is agile enough to adapt to unexpected changes in the driving environment.

This is one super-spacious SUV that maximises passenger and cargo space.

Both the driver and passengers have plenty of room.

The infotainment system fitted to the Style and higherspec Sportline and RS measures 9.2 inches.

Smartphones can be paired via Wireless Smart Link technology, Android Auto or Apple Car Play, while wireless smartphone charging is offered across the range.

In addition to numerous safety assistance systems already available, the updated Kodiaq has an enhanced version of Crew Protect Assist.

Additional radar sensors at the rear respond to vehicles that pose a collision risk.

Progressive steering is optional on the Style and brings the promise of better handling and greater agility through corners, whether they are tight turners or long sweepers.

Ride and road handling is first class.

The spring and damper rate settings are sufficiently compliant to soak up assaults on vehicle occupant comfort by bumps and potholes, largely keeping the cabin free of intrusive suspension noise.

Controlled and competent, the handling does not fully replicate the next level grip and stability of its classy donor vehicle, the Volkswagen Tiguan.

The steering is more direct and communicative than the previous model, but still rather frustratingly occasionally slips into vague mode.