David MottonSee other Blog articles filed in ‘Tow cars’ written by David Motton
From launch, the Kodiaq will be available with five different engines. There are three petrol options with power and torque outputs of 123bhp/148lb ft, 148bhp/184lb ft and 178bhp/236lb ft.
As you'd expect, the two diesels have more mid-range pull than the petrols and should make better tow cars. Both are 2.0-litre units with either 148bhp/251lb ft or 187bhp/295lb ft.
There will be a choice of two- or four-wheel-drive on some versions, with six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmissions.
Škoda hasn't officially released the full technical details of the Kodiaq yet, but after some polite but determined arm-twisting we've been sent the kerbweights and legal towing limits of the whole range. If you want all that detail, take a deep breath and read on. If you have a more casual interest in the new Škoda you may want to skip the next few paragraphs...
The front-wheel drive 123bhp 1.4 TSI car has a kerbweight of 1527kg including the driver, rising to 1615kg for the 4x4 version. The legal towing limit climbs from 1600kg to 2000kg if you choose the 4x4. Both come with a manual transmission.
The 148bhp 1.4 TSI has a kerbweight of 1551kg, rising to 1625kg with four-wheel drive. Again, the 4x4 has a higher legal towing limit, climbing from 1800kg to 2000kg. All versions with this engine have DSG transmissions.
Choose the most powerful 178bhp petrol, and you also get a DSG to change gears for you. The kerbweight is 1707kg, with a 2200kg towing limit.
These figures all apply to five-seat cars. Seven-seat versions have slightly higher kerbweights, but oddly the legal towing limit of the most powerful petrol drops from 2200kg to 2000kg when equipped with seven seats.
Although the most powerful petrol in particular looks to have potential as a tow car, the diesels are more likely to appeal to caravanners. The 148bhp 2.0 TDI has a kerbweight of 1677kg as a two-wheel-drive DSG, rising to 1714kg with four-wheel drive and a manual gearbox. Either way, the legal towing limit is 2000kg. The 148bhp with 4x4 and DSG has a 1752kg kerbweight and a 2500kg legal towing limit.
The top-of-the-range 178bhp 2.0 TDI comes with four-wheel-drive and DSG, and has a 1761kg kerbweight, rising to 1798kg with seven seats. The legal towing limit is 2500kg for the five-seater, and 2000kg for the seven-seater.
It's worth noting that noseweight limits also vary throughout the range, from as low as 66kg on the least powerful petrol-powered seven-seater to 100kg on the most powerful petrol and diesel cars with five seats.
Even the heaviest Kodiaq is around 200kg or so lighter than the Santa Fe and Sorento, with an 85% match figure of 1528kg. That still makes plenty of mid-sized caravans as suitable matches, even for newcomers to towing. But someone with a heavy twin-axle tourer to pull may prefer a bit more heft.
The flipside to being lighter than some of the competition is impressive economy and emissions. The less powerful of the two diesels can achieve 56.5mpg on the combined cycle and emits 131g/km of carbon dioxide. The 178bhp diesel returns 49.5mpg on the combined cycle and emits 150g/km of CO2, and can accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds, according to Škoda's figures.
Space and practicality should also help make up for relatively modest kerbweights. Five- and seven-seat versions of the Škoda Kodiaq will be made. The second row of seats slides back and forth over 18cm of travel. The 2791mm wheelbase is just 11mm more than the Sorento's, so legroom should be similar to the big Kia's.
Boot space is class-leading. With five seats upright, the Kodiaq has a capacity of 720 litres. That should be enough for most families to pack for a fortnight-long caravan holiday without needing a roofbox. With the middle seats also folded, there's 2065 litres.
There are plenty of practical touches as well as sheer space. The optional towball is electrically retractable, something that's commonplace on prestige 4x4s but not yet universal among mainstream SUVs. Cars with towing gear also benefit from Trailer Assist, a Volkswagen Group system first seen on the VW Passat. This helps the driver reverse when towing a caravan or trailer by steering for them at low speeds.
Other high-tech systems include an autonomous emergency braking system which can apply the brakes if the driver fails to do so at up to 21mph.
Exact specifications have yet to be confirmed, and prices won't be announced until later this month ahead of customer cars arriving next spring. However, if the Kodiaq's rumoured pricing is correct then value could be the Škoda's trump card. Entry-level cars are expected to be priced from £22,500, rising to a little over £26,000, according to our colleagues on What Car?. If that's correct, then the most expensive Kodiaq will undercut the cheapest Hyundai Sante Fe and Kia Sorento. At those prices the all-new Škoda Kodiaq could really shake-up the SUV market.