The acceleration is plenty but it takes a moment or two for you to actually get the feel of it. I think its mostly down to the slow(but smooth) gearbox
BHPian Fun_to_drive recently shared this with other enthusiasts.
The smooth road to a Lava Blue LnK- Kodiaq.
The need to buy a new car:
There wasn’t any actually. I was a happy owner of a Ford Aspire diesel (bought in 2016) and a Ford Ecosport petrol AT (bought in 2019). Both are fun to drive cars in their own way, and Ecosport is relatively young too with only 32000 kms on the odo. So, no real reasons to even check out any cars in the market. But then suddenly the XUV700 launched and all hell breaks loose. Their marketing campaigns got me hooked as to how a 7-seater SUV, can be tech loaded and fun to drive at the same time. So, my heart took over my head and I ‘wanted’ a car.
The shortlisting criteria:
Has to be a 5/7 seater petrol 4×4 SUV with good handling and ride quality. It should have power in excess of 170bhp and ideally a 2L engine. Also a good quality sound system is a must. I’ve spent a lot of money just to upgrade the sound system of my previous cars as well. I started with a budget for an XUV700 but went cross shopping later on.
Mahindra XUV700: This is the car which started it all, the most disruptive car to have come out in the past 5 years. It had everything – tech, features, power and space. I went through every Youtube video which was out there, read the entire Team BHP thread, took multiple test drives and had almost booked the car (Diesel 4×4).
Reasons for not going with XUV700: I got so obsessed with the car that I over-researched it. As I dug deeper, I found users having issues from day one with its electronics , suspension and what not. Those could be more prevalent in the initial batch. In my test drives I found the diesel engine to be too noisy, vibrations on steering, and the steering to be too light and vague. Also the middle row didn’t slide, so the space between 2nd and 3rd row could not be adjusted. With 3 rows up, there was no space for luggage in the boot. The practical purpose of buying a 7 seater is that at least 6 people can travel for a weekend with some luggage onboard, which I could not envisage with XUV. The music system didn’t impress me much either. The car became a bit too massy with time with so many people going for it. It didn’t exceed expectation in any one particular area, but a great value for money car nonetheless.
Volkswagen Tiguan: I loved the idea of owning a German car and kept researching about Tiguan online as the launch date came near. But I was disappointed with the launch as many of the global features were removed like better alloys, Harman Kardon sound system and those interiors looked a bit dull to me. The test drive was great but still didn’t feel like worth the money for the above-mentioned reasons.
Mercedes GLA: I liked the interiors , the M-Badge and it had a great feel about it. But the petrol had an underpowered engine and didn’t have a 4×4. Its not a proper 5 seater and music system felt underwhelming.
Skoda Kodiaq: This is a car which always attracted me with its looks in Lava Blue color , looks handsome inside out , ticked all the boxes but felt a little overpriced at 45 lakhs for a Skoda. So I did all the possible research online , reached out to owners to take their personal feedback and was finally so convinced that I made two bookings with different dealers in a hope to get the car early. All of this without even taking a test drive, but I trusted the opinions of people on this forum and the other owners whom I reached out to. A few of them had owned a Q5 and a Mercedes in the past and spoke highly of the Kodiaq, so I went with it. I also did a PDI of someone else’s car in the stockyard and loved the feel of it.
BMW X1 2023: I was closely following this car since its unveiling , and absolutely loved the interiors and that integrated screen. This was actually my first choice and I was willing to pay a little extra for it as well. I called up BMW and they said there’s no clarity in which quarter of 2023 the car will be launched, but one thing’s for sure it will be north of 60 lakh rupees as it’s a generation change in X1. During my car research, I also took paid car consultancy services from two famous Youtubers, and one of them had extensively driven the Kodiaq for 40 days and said good things about it. Interestingly , while he was on a trip to Europe, he also drove the new X1 and found it to be a little underwhelming in terms of pure driving pleasure. So his vote, potential pricing of X1 and the long wait for it actually made my decision to go for the Kodiaq a little easier.
Audi Q5: While I was waiting for Kodiaq, I made a visit to Audi showroom for the Q3 launch which I felt was overpriced for what it offered. I also happened to check out the Q5 and absolutely loved the car from outside. Except the protruding screen, I loved the brown interiors and it had an awesome B&O 17 speaker sound system also. I thought to myself that I am already shelling out 46 lakhs for the Kodiaq and I may never buy a car in this range again. If I can pay a little extra and negotiate the deal for a Q5 Technology for around 60-62 lakhs, then I can own a logo, get a better engine, more power and the best sound system. During negotiations the last I went was till 65.5 lakhs and the showroom quoted me 66.5, and it was a no deal. When I returned home, I felt a little relived as I was overstretching my budget a lot considering I started with 29 lakhs to buy an XUV700. But in hindsight, I know for sure I would have closed the Q5 deal at 65.5 if they agreed to it and would have adjusted. But it was a no deal and I was left with my two bookings of Kodiaq with no sight of delivery.
Three days after visiting Audi’s showroom, I was returning from a work trip to Bangalore and I got a call from the Skoda sales rep saying “there is one Lava blue in the stock which was supposed to go to Bihar’s dealership , but we can offer the same to you if you can make a down payment in the next 1 hour”. I was getting the car and color I wanted, so I transferred 20 lakhs using Bangalore Airport’s wifi immediately, the balance in next 2 days and the car was allocated to me. A day after making the full payment fo rthe Kodiaq, I got a call from Audi’s showroom that they are willing to offer me the Q5 at the price I wanted . I just smiled at the chain of events and felt content with my choice and the fact that I could use the 20 lakh rupee difference between Q5 and Kodiaq to fuel up and maintain my Kodiaq over its lifetime of running in “sports mode”.
The delivery experience:
The sales rep at Brite Skoda was a gem of a guy, who ensured that the things went smoothly on the day of the delivery. However, most Skoda dealerships are not aware about the features or any changes to their premium cars. The alloy wheels in the newer batch of LnK were changed to trinity silver but nobody had a clue. Even during delivery they filled up the car with 10 litres of ‘normal’ petrol instead of XP95.
My family didn’t have much clue about the car, and they were against me buying a car as expensive as this. But boy they were blown away by the sheer looks, quality and presence of the car.
Getting the looks and color protected through PPF:
After plenty of photographs, we got the car home but only for 2 hours, as I had made up my mind to protect the showroom color and look with a PPF right from day 1. I went for ‘premium shield self healing PPF’ which costed me 1.9 lakhs and the car was returned 3 days later.
Experience so far:
Till date, I have done about 1300 kms in both city and highway and have been loving every second of it. There is a constant smile on my face as long as I am in the driving seat. Below are my observations so far:
- Wireless charging: This is a useless feature as it doesn’t even charge the phone 2%, and makes it extremely hot to a point that the phone may get damaged.
- Ventilated seats: I hardly notice the feeling , its too slow and not cool enough to get noticed.
- TPMS: Haven’t got it to work yet. I was looking for a feature that can let me know the individual pressure in each tyre, but it doesn’t work.
- The placement of ‘Mode’ button is horrible. You would need to take your completely off the road to fiddle around the driving modes.
- Absence of connected car features like the ability to start the car and cool the cabin with an app.
- Skoda’s commitment to premium cars- With Skoda shelving its sedans in India , it will mainly be reduced to a mass market player focusing on the cars like the Kushaq and Slavia. The same seems to reflect in their focus, service and spare availability for their premium cars. Most of their sales people have no clue about the features and capabilities of the Kodiaq, i am dreading if I have to experience the same with their service technicians as well. Cars like the Kodiaq will require specialists who understand the engineering in and out.
- The looks: The looks of the car are so drool worthy, that I cannot resist myself from staring at it whenever its even remotely close to my sight . In Lava Blue, it looks so handsome from all angles and is a head turner.
- Maneuverability: The car in spite of being a 7 seater, handles like a small SUV, is easy to cut across traffic , and masks its size quite well. Even in traffic I have never felt uncomfortable driving this car. This aspect has blown me over as to how easy the car is to drive.
- Ride quality: The suspension although a little firm, is stable and the car feels planted at all speeds. The ride is smooth and comfortable.
- Music system: Easily one of the best I’ve heard in any car. The sound is so rich and immersive that I feel like sitting in a moving concert all the time.
- Performance: The car is very quick to respond when you floor the pedal, couple that with easy maneuverability, and it’s a pleasure to drive both in the city and the highways.
- Space management in 3 rows: Lets address the elephant in the room, the car has very practical space in all 3 rows and still enough space to carry atleast 2 cabin suitcases for a weekend trip. This was missing in most 7 seaters that I evaluated including XUV and Tata safari . The fact that the middle row can slide, you can find a right balance by sliding the first and middle rows to make space in the 3rd row and everyone can be reasonably comfortable. I am 5’9 and I can sit in the last row easily for 2-3 hours in one go. So kids (who are part of most journeys), people shorter than 5’10 should be okay to sit there for those occasional family outings.
- Mileage: I had very low expectations hearing the experiences on this forum , but was pleasantly surprised. I did a highway trip from Delhi to Dehradun on which I got around 13.2 (checked by tank full method, MID showed 15) . In city I easily get around 8-11kmpl (on MID) depending on the conditions. Its not great but I am happy with it.
- Features: The car is loaded with tech and features and few of my favorite ones are boot gesture control, Wireless Android Auto, Auto start stop and auto hold, which make the drive convenient in the city.
- Excellent build quality with zero rattles.
Things that could have been better:
- The acceleration is plenty but it takes a moment or two for you to actually get the feel of it. I think its mostly down to the slow(but smooth) gearbox already highlighted by adi_petrolhead in his earlier posts. There’s enough power available when you floor the pedal, but how I wish if it was available on just a ‘tap’. It’s a not an issue and most people wouldn’t even notice it, but a wishlist.
- Tan/Brown interiors. Beige is good but I wish we had more options.
- DCC: Honestly in terms of ride quality the difference is very little to be noticed with changing modes. I expected a cushier ride quality in comfort mode where the car would just glide over bad roads. It comes close but not quite there, you still feel the road. But something which is not bothersome.
To sum it up:
I am extremely happy with the car and always on a lookout for an opportunity to drive it. I have stopped taking calls while driving because the music is so good and stopped taking cabs because the driving pleasure is so amazing. To summarize, the Kodiaq is a good looking , fun to drive, feature loaded car that you can drive with a blazer ON from Monday to Friday to work. It gives the feel of a large SUV like a Q5 or X3 with better interior quality and finesse . At the same time its a practical 7 seater for those occasional weekend trips with luggage on as well.
Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.
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