New 2017 Skoda Kodiaq SUV brightens up Paris Motor Show

This is the new Skoda Kodiaq SUV, unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show

The all-new Skoda Kodiaq has finally been shown off in the metal at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. It's the first large SUV Skoda's ever made, and should prove a strong rival to the likes of the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento and Land Rover Discovery Sport when it goes on sale later in 2016. We're expecting a starting price of around £23,000, which should make it an attractive proposition for anybody shopping in this section of the market.

The new five- or seven-seat SUV is making its public debut in Paris, and you can read all about the new SUV here, including pictures, video, engine and transmission details and more. There'll also be a livestream of the reveal event at the Paris Motor show from 5:45am GMT. We also have a Q&A from Skoda boss Bernhard Maier, and we'll have a full review of the Kodiaq by the end of 2016.

Skoda Kodiaq SUV: details

The new Kodiaq is a large SUV that will be offered with five or seven seats. The Kodiaq is promising to trump rivals on list price and loadspace. The Kodiaq will also tap into the VW Group’s well-known engine line-up with 5 units available from launch. Auto Express has also learned that a 240bhp performance diesel version is on the cards along with Sportline, Scout and Laurin & Klement variants. A high performance Kodiaq vRS model is said to be "under discussion".

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The new model is 4,700mm long, 1,882mm wide and 1,676mm tall; those figures are a few millimetres shorter, wider and taller than the Santa Fe but significantly, Skoda’s offering has a wheelbase that’s 91mm longer than its Korean rival’s, at 2,791mm. Indeed, the Kodiaq sits on the largest version of the VW Group’s MQB chassis technology to be used in a European-market car; only the forthcoming VW Tiguan XL will get as long a wheelbase.

The overall stance of the Kodiaq is stronger and more angular than we’ve seen before in the Yeti - although its wide grille and crisp headlights (influenced, as is the norm these days, by Czech crystal) are in keeping with the look of the latest Skoda Superb. The Yeti itself is due for replacement within the next 18 months; expect it to look like a scaled-down Kodiaq more than an obvious successor to the existing model.

Despite the size of the vehicle, Skoda has made effective use of the MQB chassis construction to keep down the Kodiaq’s weight. The firm says that it weighs 1,452kg without a driver in front-wheel-drive petrol form, and that switching to four-wheel drive adds round 80kg to that total. Seven-seat versions will weight a little more than that again, of course.

Skoda Kodiaq SUV: engines and transmissions

The Skoda Kodiaq will be available at launch with a choice of two diesel engines and three petrols. The diesels are Skoda’s familiar 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit in two states of tune - 148bhp/340Nm and 187bhp/400Nm. The petrols are a 1.4-litre with 123bhp and 200Nm, a more powerful 1.4 that brings cylinder deactivation technology and offers 148bhp and 250Nm, and a 2.0 with 177bhp and 320Nm.

The range-topping diesel and petrol engines are available only with four-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox. The more modest diesel and 1.4-litre units are DSG-only in front-wheel-drive trim, but can have that transmission or a six-speed manual when equipped with four-wheel drive.

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The 148bhp 1.4 petrol gets either a six-speed DSG or a six-speed manual in four-wheel-drive versions, or just the DSG with front-drive. The only Kodiaq that’s available with the combination of front-wheel drive and a manual gearbox is the entry-level petrol, therefore; it doesn’t get any DSG option.

Skoda has yet to release complete technical specifications on the Kodiaq, but it has revealed that the cleanest model will be the lower-powered diesel. This is likely to be in front-drive DSG trim; it emits just 131g/km of CO2 in this form, and 142g/km with four-wheel drive and a manual gearbox.

The more powerful diesel can reach 62mph from rest in 8.6 seconds; it emits 153g/km of CO2. The high-powered petrol, meanwhile, is the fastest of all in acceleration - with a 0-62mph time of 7.8 seconds - but its CO2 emissions of 171g/km mean it’s likely to be a niche choice in the UK.

Skoda has acknowledged that the seven-speed DSG transmission is rated at up to 600Nm; it’s likely that the VW Group’s twin-turbodiesel will appear in a high-performance version of the car, probably later in 2017.

The Kodiaq will get Driving Mode Select on its options list; it allows the driver to select different modes which alter the engine response, gearbox software, power steering and air-conditioning depending on the terrain and surfaces being traversed. Four-wheel-drive editions get an extra mode - Snow, which alters the behaviour of the anti-lock brakes and the transmission’s clutch to improve stability on slippery roads. Adaptive suspension will be an option - as will an off-road mode that includes hill descent control.

Skoda Kodiaq SUV: interior and boot space

Inside, the Kodiaq gives us Skoda’s sharpest-looking cabin yet. It’s clearly recognisable as a close relative of the Superb’s, but gets a more dynamic fascia design that includes two distinct areas ahead of the driver and passenger, narrowing down to a central display in the middle of the dash. The touch-screen is a 6.5in item as standard, but Skoda’s Bolero set-up, based around an 8.0-inch display, is available as an option. There’s also a phone box that incorporates inductive wireless charging for smartphones.

Skoda has a reputation for producing cars with large loadspaces for their class, and the Kodiaq looks set to continue the trend. In five-seat form, and using the second row’s ability to move forwards and backwards by up to 18cm (standard across the range), the car’s boot capacity can be as much as a hefty 720 litres - almost 140 litres up on the Santa Fe’s.

The gap between the two cars grow further when the seats lowered; the Kodiaq breaks through the 2,000-litre mark, at 2,065 litres, compared with the Hyundai’s 1,680 litres. Skoda has not released any technical information on seven-seat versions but it’s believed that the extra pair of seats will fold down flat into the boot floor to offer the same load bay as the five-seater.