Skoda has just launched its biggest and most awaited product yet. We are, of course, talking about their very first full-sized, 7-seater SUV, the Kodiaq. We have seen the vehicle first in its concept form at the Geneva Motor Show and then more recently driven it in production. In this article, we pit it against three other vehicles that it will have to fend off: the Ford Endeavour, Toyota Fortuner and the Hyundai Tucson.
The Skoda Kodiaq undoubtedly comes equipped to the hilt with all the bells and whistles that you expect from a luxury vehicle such as this, and then some. It starts with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system which supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink alongside usual features like navigation. Elsewhere you have front powered seats with memory, 12-speaker Canton Sound System, ambient lighting system, a huge electric panoramic sunroof, rear camera with the parking assist, 9 airbags, 3-zone climate control and more!
The Tucson, Endeavour and Fortuner are all very well equipped SUVs but cannot match the Kodiaq heer. However all three vehicles come kitted out with features such as large touchscreen infotainment systems, automatic climate control systems (the Fortuner and Endeavour have dedicated secondary ACs for those seated in the middle and last rows), voice commands, multiple airbags located throughout the cabin, different driving modes that the driver can toggle between, electronic stability control (ESC), hill start assist and downhill descent control, projector headlight clusters, and parking sensors with an integrated rear view camera, amongst others.
The Skoda Kodiaq has a length of 4,697mm and a width of 1,882mm. It has a wheelbase of just under 2,700mm, translating to a roomy interior. The 188mm ground clearance of the vehicle enables it to traverse across most road irregularities; and it can wade through water 1 foot (300mm) deep. The Endeavour from Ford has a length of 4892mm, width of 1860mm and a height of 1837mm. It has a wheelbase of 2850mm (which is the reason for its superbly roomy interior) and more importantly, a high ground clearance of 225mm.
The Tucson is 4475mm long, 1850mm wide, 1660mm tall and has a wheelbase of 2670mm. The Fortuner always had its road presence going for it; not a surprise considering the fact that it measures 4795mm in length, 1855mm in width, 1835mm in height, and it has a wheelbase of 2745mm.
The kodaiq comes with only a 2.0 litre, 4 cylinder, turbocharged diesel engine with 148 bhp and 340Nm . A 7-speed twin clutch, DSG automatic gearbox is standard. Skoda could also bring in their 2.0 litre, 4 cylinder, turbocharged TSI petrol engine that puts out 180 hp at a later stage. The first engine option of the Ford Endeavour is a 2.2 litre, turbocharged diesel engine that produces 158 bhp. The 6 speed manual version of this variant can be ordered as a front wheel drive or a 4WD model while the 6 speed automatic version comes as a front wheel drive model only. The larger 3.2 litre, turbocharged diesel motor generates 197 bhp and it comes with a 6 speed automatic gearbox only. Also, this variant is available only with 4WD.
The Hyundai Tucson is also available in both petrol and diesel guises. The petrol version is driven by a 2.0 litre, 4 cylinder, 153 bhp motor while the diesel version gets a 2.0 litre, 4 cylinder, turbocharged engine that makes 182 bhp. Both versions can be ordered with either a 6 speed manual or a 6 speed automatic gearbox. The new Toyota Fortuner is on sale in both petrol and diesel options with the petrol engine being a 2.7 litre, 164 bhp unit while the diesel motor is a 2.8 litre, turbocharged unit that produces 174 bhp. Both versions can be ordered with a 6 speed automatic or a 5 speed manual (petrol) or 6 speed manual (diesel). In terms of efficiency the Tucson is the most efficient by a slim margin over the Kodiaq while the Fortuner and Endeavour are behind.
The Kodiaq is launched with only trim level at it is priced at rs 34.5 lakh which makes it the most expensive in this test. The Fortuner starts at rs 25.5 lakh and goes all the way to rs 31.3 lakh. The Tucson is the cheapest at Rs 18.5 lakh starting to rs 24.5 lakh. The Endeavour is Rs 24.7 lakh to Rs 30.8 lakh. Thus the Kodiaq is the most expensive by a big margin and no doubt its pricing is steep. The Tucson seems a bargain in comparison and the diesel auto offers good performance plus features are there as well. Both the Endeavour and Fortuner will not have their sales affected by the Kodiaq. Both the Endy and Fortuner are hardcore off-roaders and their mammoth presence means the Kodiaq cannot compete. However the Kodiaq has the best cabin, the most features and feels car like to drive yet has 4x4 and 7 seats. Skoda has given it everything and while it is expensive, it will have takers as it is aiming to tap the segment between the hardcore SUVs like Fortuner to soft-roaders like the Tucson. Thus our verdict the Fortuner and Endeavour will continue to rule and the Tucson will also not have its sales affected instead the Kodiaq will expand the segment being a luxury SUV.