Large SUV crucial to Skoda’s global ambitions.
Refined spaciousness has become the new quirky for Skoda as it unveils its crucial new Skoda Kodiaq large SUV, underpinned by a worldwide rebranding intended to expand the Czech marque’s global presence.
At a media breakfast in Sydney yesterday, Skoda Australia’s Managing Director, Michael Irmer, confirmed the brand’s SUV focus in the coming years, beginning with the Kodiaq’s Aussie launch in July 2017, followed by an all-new, much-larger Skoda Yeti SUV scheduled for a 2018 arrival locally.
Irmer also confirmed that the completion date for “rebuilding our network in its entirety” would be the end of 2017 for all of its 34 Australian outlets, though the six-strong Sydney dealer network would be revamped in time for the Kodiaq’s mid-2017 debut.
Given the overwhelming trend for Australian Skoda buyers to load their vehicles with equipment from the options list, the Kodiaq strategy will be “a highly specified vehicle, not a low entry price-point” said Irmer.
“It’s very likely that we’ll only bring seven seats [a five-seat version will be available in Europe], and only the top engines”. For Kodiaq, that means a new, high-torque 132kW/320Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four (2.0TSI) from the get-go, and later, once production is in full swing, the same 140kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four (2.0TDI) also seen in Skoda Superb, Volkswagen Tiguan and Volkswagen Passat. Both Kodiaq TSI and TDI variants will exclusively feature seven-speed dual-clutch gearboxes and all-wheel drive.
The manual ’boxes, front-wheel drive, and less-powerful 1.4-litre turbo-petrol engines available in Europe won’t be coming here.
While the Kodiaq is closely related to the new Volkswagen Tiguan SUV, and shares its MQB platform architecture, it adheres to time-honoured Skoda tradition in being larger than its VW relative. Unlike the five-seat (for now) Tiguan, the Kodiaq will be available with seven seats off the bat.
Measuring 4697mm in length, 1882mm wide, and riding on a leggy 2791mm wheelbase (over 100mm longer than the new Tiguan’s), the Kodiaq sits firmly in the large SUV category, competing head-on, in terms of size, with the seven-seat Kia Sorento.
But thanks to a middle-row seat that adjusts fore-aft, the Kodiaq offers between 560 and 765 litres of boot space (with the rear row folded flat), and a sizeable 2005 litres with both rows dropped. In comparison, the Sorento manages 605 litres and 1662 litres.
However, Skoda claims the all-wheel-drive Kodiaq will be significantly lighter than its chief SUV competition. The 2.0TSI DSG weighs just 1669kg while the 2.0TDI nudges 1723kg. A Kia Sorento Platinum AWD diesel weighs 2036kg.
As a result, the Kodiaq is both quick and efficient for its type. Skoda claims 0-100km/h in 8.0sec and a combined fuel number of 7.3L/100km for the seven-seat 2.0TSI petrol, or 8.8sec and 5.7L/100km for the equivalent diesel. Both have braked towing capacities of 2000kg and standard ground clearance of 188mm.
An off-road mode is optional on 4x4 variants in Europe, as well as Dynamic Chassis Control (adaptive dampers), while Kodiaq also offers a class-leading level of available connectivity, driver-assist and infotainment technology.
You can expect most, if not all, of that kit to make its way here either as standard equipment, or optionally available in multiple equipment packs.
Skoda Australia is also toying with the idea of a special ‘Launch Edition’ Kodiaq, which, according to Irmer, would “enable us to facilitate pre-sales prior to [its July] launch” and “gauge interest in the vehicle”.
As is the trend with launch editions, if a Kodiaq example happens, expect it to feature an ample level of equipment and the largest alloy-wheel size in the catalogue.
Further down the track, there’s a strong chance that Kodiaq will score the flagship Tiguan’s 162kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four (as per Golf GTI).
There are also rumours Skoda is developing a Kodiaq Coupe, with the bittersweet news that it could be a China-only model.
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