DAVE MOORE: Skud looks like a 2017 Car of the Year contender
The seven-seat Kodiak could also become the model that well and truly puts the Skoda brand into serious mainstream contention in the New Zealand market says DAVE MOORE.
Also, before the year’s out, the Kodiak will probably front with Sport and Scout versions, while the already well-liked Yeti will be replaced with a larger VW Tiguan-sized five-seater called the Karoq, while a smaller B-segment sized model will be seen, giving the Czech built brand a three-pronged attack on the world’s and New Zealand’s largest growing automotive sector that of the SUV.
Just as its Fabia, Octavia and Superb sub-brands are world class and world-beaters with eminently-affordable stickers, the Kodiak is also remarkably well-priced with just turbocharged four-cylinder power units in its line - up and it’s worth noting that last year’s Car of the Year the Mazda CX-7 also used this philosophy.
The new Skoda Kodiak, seven-seater starts at $39,990 and goes through three engine types - 110kW petrol, 132kW diesel and 140kW petrol, and even its highest specification at $58k runs under the starting price of just about everyone else’s choice in this segment.
The 110kW petrol comes with or without AWD, while the 132kW and 140kW cars have AWD as standard. Even the entry point ’Ambition’ model gets part leather and a load of equipment, while the others come in ‘Ambition +’ and ‘Style’ with full leather and differences in equipment levels and comforts.
Every model is uncannily quiet, even on coarse New Zealand chip surfaces, while its handling and ride quality even on the 19-inch rims worn by most of our test cars is almost Jaguaresque in its blend of cornering prowess and cosseting calm.
For all that, I drove the entry-point 110kW front-drive car all morning and was convinced I was in the 140kW one, such was the refinement, punch and relaxed nature. I did drive the 140kw unit in the afternoon and while it was quicker, the 110kW version never leaves you thinking ‘What if?’ I was stunned. In fact, I’m thinking of working out a strategy whereby I can persuade my wife that we need one “It’s all for the dog, love!”
Mark my words - the Kodiak presents a formidable package in a crowded segment and it’s right at the front of the queue in my mind for this year’s Car of the Year, with an extra gong for its amazing price point.