Preview: India-bound Skoda Kodiaq to play a key role in brand revival?
With the new Octavia and the Superb, Skoda has raised the benchmark in the premium sedan space in India. Even though Skoda is positioned below Volkswagen, its line-up sits at par with the German brand, even competing directly in some cases.
The company recently announced its plans of bringing its new range of vehicles to India. The most important of which is the all-new Skoda Kodiaq SUV. Skoda is expected to showcase the production version of the Kodiaq at the Paris Motor Show in October this year. The premium SUV from Skoda gets its name from the Kodiak brown bear that are found in southwest Alaska. The three common attributes between the Kodiaq SUV and the bear are size, strength and presence, states the company.
After the Yeti, this is the second time that Skoda will launch a product in the SUV space in India. The Yeti couldn't do well in the country as it was priced considerably higher and was not available with an automatic.
However, with the Kodiaq, we believe Skoda would price it aggressively to compete with the Hyundai Santa Fe and the upcoming India-bound Volkswagen Tiguan.
Skoda debuted the VisionS concept at the 2016 Geneva Auto Show, which also is the inspiration behind the Kodiaq SUV. In fact, the VisionS is the new design language that modern Skoda cars will have in the future. Skoda has been testing the Kodiaq for quite some time now, and the test mule was also spotted at the 2016 Tour de France. The camouflaged test mules reveal the sharp and the aggressive lines on the Kodiaq SUV.
From the concept and the test vehicles, it is clear that the Skoda Kodiaq will not have an aggressive design language. Instead, the brand will continue to offer an understated yet sophisticated design. The sleek light design with projectors and L-shaped DRLs, similar to the one on the Superb, will make the Kodiaq more classy than its rivals. The long waist line paired with the sloping roof makes the Kodiaq resemble the Audi Q7, when seen from certain angles. The rear will sport LED brakelights as a standard feature, however LED lamps are optional.
The Skoda Kodiaq, based on the VisionS', measures 4700m in length, 1910mm in width and 1680m in height. It will have a wheelbase of 2970mm.
Interior, features and options
The details on the cabin layout and options on the Skoda Kodiaq are very limited, for now. However, going by the one in the VisionS concept, the Kodiaq will have one of the best cabins in the segment and will come laden with a host modern features. In terms of space, the Kodiaq is expected to offer generous headroom and legroom for passengers seated on all rows.
The adjustable second row will be offered with a reclining backrest to make room for the third row of occupants. Particularly in the five-seat variant, the Kodiaq will offer an impressive boot space of 2,065-litres.
Skoda tested the Kodiaq at the 2016 Tour de France too
The Kodiaq will get a clean dashboard design with a modern steering wheel, instrument clustre and trim options like the Superb. The 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system will come with the latest options like Android Auto and Google Play. The system will also have an access to Google Earth.
In addition, the system will also come with a Phonebox feature for wireless charging of smartphone as well as improving its signal strength. The models with columbus system will come with an optional LTE module for internet surfing. Skoda will also offer mobile apps in the Kodiaq to surf different online applications, navigations as well as provide breakdown and emergency assistance. The eCall emergency button in the Kodiaq will be standard for all new cars in Europe from 2018.
In terms of safety, we also expect Skoda to equip the Kodiaq with radar-based safety options that include autonomous emergency braking, blind spot warning and adaptive cruise control.
The Kodiaq is an important model as it is the first three-row SUV from Skoda based on VW's MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten in German or Modular Transverse Matrix) platform. Skoda will be launching the new Kodiaq SUV with a choice of five engine options, two TDIs and three TSIs. The most powerful of the low will be the 2.0-litre TSI that makes an impressive 180PS of power. Skoda claims that with a newly developed combustion process, this motor will be as efficient as smaller capacity engines. Expect Skoda India to use the same powertrain options in the Kodiaq as in the Superb. Presently, there is lot of uncertainty on the future of diesel vehicles above 2,000cc especially with the ban imposed by NGT in Delhi-NCR. However, by the time the production version of the Skoda Kodiaq arrives in India, which is sometime in end 2017, there we expect a clearer picture.
The petrol variants will be powered by a turbocharged 1.8-litre motor whereas the diesel versions will make use of a 2-litre unit that puts out 177PS/350Nm in the Superb. The choice of transmission that will be offered with these motors include the six-speed manual gearbox and the DSG transmission sending power to all four wheels.
Skoda will also offer different driving modes in the Kodiaq to alter the steering, throttle, transmission and suspension characteristics. It will also have a dedicated off-road mode wherein engine management, ABS and ESC and the suspension automatically adjust to off-road conditions.
In addition to the conventional engine options, Skoda might also bring in a plug-in hybrid version of the Kodiaq. Drawing power from the Golf GTE's 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol-electric motor setup.
In India, the Skoda Kodiaq will compete with the Ford Endeavour ( starts Rs 24.93 lakh ex-Delhi for the 2.2-litre 4x2 manual ), new Toyota Fortuner ( to be launched soon) and the Honda CR-V (Rs 21.9 lakh ex-Delhi for the 2-litre manual)
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