I’ve worked at Car Throttle for a little over six years now, and during that time I’ve driven a few cars on video shoots (or because Alex was too lazy to do it himself). But at the end of 2017, things changed because Skoda handed me the keys to my first long-term test car, which is the Kodiaq you can see here.
But the best part? When Alex was organising the loan, Skoda said that the car would be brand new and built to our very own specifications. Nothing on the options list was out of the question, we were told…
And so, after deciding on a 1.4-litre TSI engine, a DSG gearbox and four-wheel drive (this would provide us with a smooth, go-anywhere SUV), we pored over the options list, and ticked a few things that have come in really useful.
These include the panoramic sunroof (£1150) which opens up, looks great and is very useful because it means we can attach suction mounts to it on the inside, adaptive cruise control (£300) which was especially nice on our recent trip to Scotland, and heated front and rear seats (£200), which saved us from freezing to death once we’d arrived there. On top of these things, we also added an electric folding towbar for £850 (Alex’s MX-5 will undoubtedly need rescuing again sometime soon), plus a rear-view camera (£375), rough road package (£295) and folding tables on the rear of the front seats for £125. Admittedly, we haven’t used those yet…
All in, we’ve bumped the price of the car up from £32,585 to £37,295, which I think isn’t too bad considering we’ve got a car that literally does everything we need and a lot more than a ‘normal’ owner would ever ask of it.
So anyway, that’s an introduction to ‘my’ new car, and after two months of looking after it (we have it for a minimum of six months), I’ve been very pleased. We’ve already used the Kodiaq on a huge amount of shoots, and it’s been great on long motorway runs and superb in the city.
There are two video shoots in particular that would have been a real struggle without the SUV. The first was our Christmas video where we rigged 10 cars with lights and drove them through central London to spread Christmas cheer. With four guys on cameras, multiple locations and around 200kg of equipment to haul, the Kodiaq swallowed everything thanks to its massive boot and multiple storage options. The car is also easy to hop in and out of which, especially when you’re carrying a camera and a tripod, makes life easy.
The second shoot where the Kodiaq really shone was the aforementioned Scotland trip - all 1200 miles of it over only three days - featuring a Ferrari GTC4Lusso.
Our first major destination on this epic shoot was Glenshee ski resort which, no exaggeration, featured the most challenging weather I’ve ever seen, let alone had to film in. We were told the winds would reach 100mph as a full-on blizzard hit us. The roads were therefore icy and pretty treacherous, but with the Kodiaq in ‘snow mode’ (this softens the throttle response) it handled the worst that Scotland could throw at us very well.
And again, when filming a difficult video like this, the Kodiaq’s massive boot (this is the five-seater, but there is also a seven-seat version available) made swapping out equipment fast and easy because we didn’t have to throw stuff out of the way while being whipped by Scotland from behind.
That evening, we left the world’s worst weather behind us and travelled south a few hours back into England to the Lake District. The weather at our Ullswater location the next morning was tropical in comparison, and allowed us to begin shooting our tracking shots from out of the rear of the Kodiaq with the electric bootlid open. (You’ll see all the footage we shot from the Kodiaq in our ‘Living With A Ferrari GTC4Lusso’ film we’ll be bringing you next week).
As much as I like the Kodiaq, however, there are some issues with the car that I’m not so keen on. I’ll start with the stop-start system, because at times it’s infuriating. Firstly, if you’re at the lights and don’t have the brake pressed right to the floor until it’s practically coming off you’re going to lurch forward. There have been so many occasions when I’ve come to a halt at the lights to suddenly jolt forward as the car wants to set off again. Secondly, when slowing down on occasion, the car hits around the 2mph mark when the stop-start mode kicks in and you lose power steering. It’s quite unnerving sometimes, especially when you’re pulling up to a pavement and and steering control is gone. The solution is to disable stop-start, but I always forget…
Another more major gripe is the weak 12-volt socket. We’ve plugged various adapters and chargers into multiple cars and have always been fine, but every time we plug something into the Kodiaq’s, the fuse blows. This has happened on two Kodiaqs (we used one as a crew car for our first Ferrari trip last year), and even after changing the fuse, the new one blows instantly, meaning no chance of charging a laptop, camera battery or second phone.
Finally, the strength (or lack thereof) of the electric tail gate means that tracking out of the back can be challenging. Now sure, this won’t affect 99.99 per cent of buyers (because who drives with the boot open), but when you reach around 40mph and hit a small bump, the boot lid drops further and further down until it impairs our camera. And so, I’m always the one who has to pull over, get out and reset it. Again, this is a complaint that only a tracking car will face.
Despite these small-ish annoyances (except for the 12V, obviously) none of these things make me dislike the Kodiaq. It remains a dependable, frugal and very easy-to-drive SUV, and is an integral part of the CT filming crew.
In fact, because it’s such an important part of the team, I should probably give it a name…any ideas?