What is that?
Some facelifts are an unspoken admission that there was something wrong with the original car. The Skoda Kodiaq is quite the opposite. It sold well from the start and continues to do so; the changes aim to make it slightly better here and there.
It received the usual visual nip and pullback. You’ll mostly recognize the facelift model from the slightly thinner headlights: they’re still LEDs now, and the SE L trims and above get matrix LEDs. Inside there is a new steering wheel, gray stitching and revised “ergonomic seats”. As before, all trims except the entry-level SE give you seven seats as standard.
The engine lineup remains largely the same, with one exception: there is now only one diesel unit: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 148 hp or 197 hp, which is still paired with a dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
On the gasoline side, you’ll have the choice between a 1.5-liter turbo with 148 hp and a 2.0-liter turbo with 187 hp (tested here), both with four cylinders. The 1.5 TSI is the only Kodiaq you can get with a manual gearbox. At the top of the line is the vRS, which traded in its diesel engine for the 2.0 TSI in the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
What does it look like?
You’re likely to buy the Kodiaq for reasons of convenience, cost, or aesthetics – it’s not a driver’s car. However, in its own way, it is quite satisfying to drive – fast or slow. These new seats have a lot of adjustment and are smooth but very supportive, while the control weights feel good, with steering that gives even a hint of feedback and brakes that are easy to modulate and inspire confidence – something that so many modern cars are wrong.
He backs that up with very careful handling and response for what it is. The flip side is that, on the 20-inch wheels of the Sportline trim, the drive can get a bit bumpy for a family SUV. In general, this combination of the 2.0 TSI engine and the Sportline trim is not the best for the Kodiaq.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the engine: it delivers a lot of punch for overtaking, despite sounding a bit rough when pushed, and its actual MPG – mid-30 in mixed use, high 30 in cruising. – is respectable. However, the effortless torque of a diesel would suit the Kodiaq better, as would the more understated styling and slightly smaller wheels of one of the other trim levels.