A fresh slant on SUV motoring holds the promise of creating new opportunities for Skoda across all parts of the corporate sector next year.
Stand-out styling and seven-seat practicality are expected to generate interest in the Kodiaq, the Czech firm’s first foray in the burgeoning market
for high capacity, go-anywhere transport – but strong packaging and aggressive pricing are set to be the factors to win favour with cost-conscious business buyers, believes head of fleet Henry Williams.
Marketing details won’t be released until October, but prices likely to start from £23,500 should help the new model boast unrivalled value, thanks to a pre-marketing process developed for the latest Superb range.
“We have spent the best part of two years working with Cap, Glass’s and leasing companies to make sure we achieve the right balance of cost and specification to meet corporate requirements as well as attracting the best residuals and the lowest repair bills,” Williams told Fleet News as the wraps came off the new flagship model in Berlin. “This process has resulted in double registration volumes and very robust residuals for the Superb, so now we’re putting all the benefits of our work behind launching an emotional, lifestyle product into a sales area that has been booming for the last few years and is still accelerating. This car has a different appeal and our plan is to offer the best value in the segment with a high quality product that is bigger, better equipped and comes with lower pricing. We’re confident it will be a big success.”
Due in the showrooms by the end of quarter one, the Kodiaq uses a stretched version of the platform underpinning parent company Volkswagen’s Tiguan compact SUV. It is only 40mm longer than the Skoda Octavia, but the difference is enough to create an unusually long load deck and the biggest boot capacity in its class.
Skoda UK is hoping to sell 10,000 units in the first 12 months of availability and will be opening order books in autumn.
Five engines – two diesel and three petrol – will supply power at launch and the entry-level 1.4 TSI produces 123bhp with 47mpg economy. Another version delivers 147bhp, and a 2.0 TSI with active cylinder technology delivers 190bhp. Diesel 2.0-litre motors offer 147bhp and 56mpg or 187bhp (mpg figure not available). Six-speed manual and six and seven-speed DSG transmissions are available with two or all-wheel drive.
Comprehensive online packages are available in a choice of systems for navigation, information and entertainment on touchscreen displays. A 6.5-inch screen is standard and a high-definition 8-inch display is optional. The top-range infotainment system adds a 64GB flash memory and DVD drive, and inductive smartphone charging is available. Standard equipment includes Skoda’s Care Connect feature, which alerts an emergency call centre when a restraint system is deployed and will also transmit data to garages prior to servicing.
Options include driving mode selection and adaptive chassis control. A driver’s door-mounted umbrella and plastic strips to protect door edges from damage from walls or parked vehicles are among new ‘simply clever’ features.
With a clamshell bonnet tapering down to a wide grille, the Kodiaq uses narrow and raked headlamps to help create a distinctive appearance that reflects efforts to achieve a more upmarket stance for the brand. Featuring slightly angular wheelarches that accentuate the short overhangs, the design maintains the familiar C-shape rear lamp cluster treatment and is attractive from all angles.
Driver assistance equipment available on the Kodiaq will include surround-view cameras, emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane assist, blind spot detect, rear traffic alert and traffic jam assist, which maintains speed and applies brakes in slow-moving traffic. New to the brand is a feature that takes control of steering when the vehicle is reversing with a trailer in tow.
With a long wheelbase and short overhangs, this car has an interior that is particularly large for a compact-class model, stretching to 1,793mm to provide generous room for five adults and space for two children on the third row seat.
As a seven-seater, the car has a 680-litre boot. A five-seat version with 720-litres bootspace may also be made available as a no-cost option, but both offer a voluminous 2,065 litres with the seats folded. The 60-40 split middle rear seat can be moved 18cm lengthways and has adjustable backrests for extra versatility.