2022 Skoda Kodiaq TSI review: Is it worth the money?
The Skoda Kodiaq is back! This is Skoda’s flagship and they don’t hold back when it comes to luxury. Updated for 2022, it now gets slightly tweaked styling, updated features on the inside and slightly updated interiors. There are a few big changes though — the engine is all-new and there are tweaks to the chassis as well. The TSI engine replaces the TDI engine that the Kodiaq comes with, while the suspension has been upgraded with dynamic dampers. What does this mean for the enthusiast? We're about to find out in this review, but before we get to the driving, let’s get what’s new for 2022 out of the way first.
2022 Skoda Kodiaq TSI exterior styling
A typical facelift, this. Not too much has changed on the styling front. When looked at from the outside, the Kodiaq has a slightly more imposing face. There’s a new grille with stronger lines and is more in-your-face, the headlamps have a slightly different design while the bumpers are new as well. Not much has changed from the side, but this angle really gives you sense of the Kodiaq’s size. And from the rear, the nip and tuck business continues with sleeker taillamps and a new bumper. There are also dynamic taillamps — very Audi-esque and the Skoda lettering on the boot.
2022 Skoda Kodiaq interiors and features
The Kodiaq is all about that luxury and that doesn’t change one bit. The L&K variant we're driving is kitted out to the roof-rails — virtual cockpit, touchscreen infotainment; dual zone climate control, panoramic sunroof, connected car features, a 360-degree camera, memory seats with heating and ventilation — the works. The big change for 2022 is the addition of wireless phone connectivity — you don't need cables to hook up Android Auto or Apple CarPlay and there’s a wireless charger as well. What stands out about the Kodiaq are the materials and quality of the cabin. It feels really well put together — good materials, tactile buttons, smart-looking inlays — very well done. It feels expensive and has an interior that feels worthy of its price tag. If I had to criticise it though, I’d say the 8-inch infotainment screen feels rather small — my Kushaq long termer has a bigger screen.
Hop in to the second row and you’ve got plenty of space. Good knee-room, good head room. I absolutely love the power nap package — that flips down the sides of your headrests and doesn't allow your head to roll around when asleep. Skoda's engineers dealing with the important stuff. I like it. The third row isn't as welcoming. I’m 5’10” and I found it to be a squeeze. I could be more comfortable if I moved the second row all the way forward but that means second row leg room is compromised. And that’s essentially what you’re going to have to do if you plan on filling up all three rows – compromise somewhere.
2022 Skoda Kodiaq TSI engine and performance
It’s a familiar engine, this. Since the shift to the petrol-only strategy, VW and Skoda have been plonking this engine in to all of their more expensive offerings. The Octavia, Superb, Tiguan, Tiguan Allspace all got the same mill and now the Kodiaq joins this lot. Not that I’m complaining because it’s actually a really good motor. It makes strong outputs — 187bhp and 320Nm, enough to hustle it from 0-100kmph in a claimed 7.9 seconds. And it sits really well with the Kodiaq’s character.
Don’t get me wrong, the TDIs were good. They had solid grunt low down and did a good job with getting the Kodiaq to move. However, they lacked the top end grunt and they always felt just about adequate in terms of performance and nothing more. They were also fairly audible, more so on the outside than inside. The TSI changes that — offering proper performance and great refinement. And in a car which prioritises luxury, those changes are very welcome.
The first thing you notice about the new engine when you fire it up is how quiet it is. At idle, you can’t hear it, and neither can you if you’re driving it gently. Smooth and refined, it is everything a good petrol engine promises to be. And when you give it the beans, it really likes to rev. It has got a wide power band and accelerates strongly all the way up to the 6000rpm redline. It isn't earth shattering performance but it gives you a firm shove in the back as it picks up pace. And it doesn’t matter what speed you're at — whether you're at 20 or 120kmph — stand on the accelerator and it does move. The 7-speed DSG plays no small part in that feeling of steady acceleration. Quick, snappy shifts combined with a ’box that actually knows what you want to do means the driving experience is rather polished. Add to that the fact that you get paddles behind the steering to take manual control and you've actually got a very sound drivetrain.
I haven’t even got to the AWD bit yet! The Kodiaq comes with AWD as standard across all three variants — the usual front-biased setup that sends torque to the rear when there's slip detected. Skoda claims that the off-road mode makes it capable of taking on harsh off-road terrain, but let's be real. Anyone doing serious off-roading would pick a Toyota Fortuner over this. Or the Thar! The Kodiaq is going to spend most of its time on road, and the AWD system is more to ensure grip in slippery (ready snowy) conditions that you will find in Manali right now, than anything else.
2022 Skoda Kodiaq ride and handling
Underneath that well fitted suit on the Kodiaq is a monocoque chassis — very different from the body-on-frames that other 7-seaters at this price point like the Fortuner and Gloster get. And what it loses out on sheer robustness, it makes up for in dynamics. The Kodiaq handles surprisingly well for how large a car it is. Not that handling is a priority for someone buying a massive near 5 meter long car, but there are plenty who want a large, practical car that doesn’t feel like a boat with half a rudder. And on that front, the Kodiaq does more than deliver.
There’s directness and predictability when you give an input through the steering, and the Kodiaq responds in a manner that belies its size. The nose turns in faster than you'd expect and that gives it the impression of being light on its feet. There is understeer if you push too hard, the tyres giving up under the sheer weight of the thing, but that understeer sets in far later than you’d expect when you’re seated that high up. The AWD does certainly help when gunning it out of corners, ensuring there's no lighting up the fronts before the TC plays nanny.
Ride is well judged too. It runs 18s but deals with our roads with composure. Comfort is what you want the dynamic dampers set to on our roads — it feels more cushy and plush. Through larger potholes it feels more supple while it irons out smaller undulations more effectively. I remember the Gloster’s ride being very impressive as well, but I'd have to drive the two back to back to see which one was better. What the Kodiaq does definitely do better is limit vertical movement and stay absolutely planted no matter what speed it is at.
Select Sport mode and the Kodiaq does change its attitude slightly. It rattles you more in the cabin — the dampers firming up and sending more information of the road up through the seat. But it also feels a little sharper. The steering weighs up, the drivetrain gets more perky and throw it around a bend and the Kodiaq feels a little smaller around you. It rolls a bit less and it feels like you can thread it through corners more effectively. It's a neat bit of kit and it makes a noticeable change to the way Kodiaq drives — a far cry from gimmicky drive modes that you barely notice a change in.
2022 Skoda Kodiaq Price and Verdict
Skoda isn’t holding back with the Kodiaq, having launched it in three variants — Style (Rs 35 lakh), Sportline (Rs 36 lakh) and this one here, the L&K (Rs 37.5 lakh). The Style and Sportline miss out on some equipment like 360-degree camera, the dynamic dampers, heated and cooled seats and TPMS but also come in at a slightly more affordable price point. Meanwhile the Sportline gets faux carbon inlays, Alcantara upholstery, blacked-out chrome on the exterior (which we love) and a 3-spoke steering wheel while retaining the virtual cockpit that the Style doesn't get.
The big question is whether the Kodiaq justifies its pricing? Well, the new L&K is more than a lakh of rupees more expensive than the older one, despite this being a petrol, and continuing to be locally assembled. But then again, cars have gotten more expensive what with costs of everything (not just semiconductors, even freight and logistics) going up over the past year. And I’d be remiss if I missed out on mentioning that just as we put this issue to press came a release of the entire Kodiaq allocation for the first four months being sold out (don’t ask what was the allocation to begin with).
When you consider that the Kodiaq is priced squarely against higher variants of the Gloster and Fortuner, the price is then justified. It offers a differentiated experience — shirking the mud-plugging and instead delivering a superior on-road experience. Good dynamics, luxurious interiors, massive space and practicality, it does it all. More than that it will tempt buyers away from the small SUVs from the German luxury brands, swayed by the Kodiaq’s significantly more generous space, ride, equipment and comfort. Reverse badge snobbery is fast becoming a thing!