Skoda is expanding its SUV line-up with the introduction of its Kodiaq vehicle next year. The OEM and the engineers working on the development programme have placed emphasis on the vehicle’s infotainment, assistance systems and connectivity, but traditionally areas such as minimizing weight and maximising efficiency were also key targets.
It’s well known that the SUV market is growing enormously, and until the Kodiaq is released Skoda only has the compact Yeti in its line-up to meet the demand. The Kodiaq, at 4,697mm long and with a wheelbase of over 2,790mm, will help the firm compete in a larger segment.
Weight varies from 1,550kg to 1,660kg – helped by greater use of high-strength steels – so minimising carbon emissions using more advanced engine technologies is key to its competitiveness.
The vehicle’s 1.4 litre 110kW/250Nm gasoline unit uses cylinder deactivation to improve performance, so when conditions are suitable two cylinders can be turned off to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency. On average it could help reduce fuel consumption by 0.5 litres/100km.
The most powerful gasoline engine, a 2-litre unit, should provide greater levels of dynamic performance with an output of 132kW/320Nm.
Aerodynamics have also proved an important area of the Kodiaq’s development programme, and the vehicle’s drag co-efficient of 0.331 should also help engineers to maximise official performance figures when the SUV is homologated.
The Kodiaq’s infotainment and connectivity systems originate from Volkswagen Group’s second-generation modular infotainment matrix. That means that the vehicle integrates the SmartLink platform, allowing occupants to connect their smartphone using Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, MirrorLinkTM and SmartGate.
Throughout this week you can read from engineers at the heart of the Kodiaq’s development programme, covering areas including advanced driver assistance systems, infotainment and powertrain development.
The first person in the series is Frantisek Drabek, head of technical project development on the Kodiaq programme:
“Apart from some small details the car is finished. It has successfully completed millions of test kilometres done in the development and millions more in the quality assurance.
“In the recent years Skoda has gradually expanded the brands model range, there are six today, the SUV campaign is now starting. The SUV is the market segment that is experiencing enormous growth, two million in Europe and 12.7 million globally. With the Yeti we’re already well positioned in the compact segment, the vehicle consistently achieves high volumes, around 10% of Skoda’s total.
“There is now a seventh model range with the Kodiaq, and the objective is to address new market segments and customer groups. Expanding on international markets such as China for example. China is particularly SUV-orientated, and it’s popular because of the combination of emotionality and functionality.
“With a length of 4.70m the Kodiaq is only 4cm longer than Octavia, at the same time it has the largest boot capacity within the class. With the rear seats folded down its over 2,000 litres, and as an optional extra the third row of seats are unique in this segment.
“We have opened a new chapter of connectivity. We offer numerous online services, for example Google Earth, Google Streetview and the car finder. Smartphones can be paired using the storage compartment, phones can be charged wirelessly while driving, at the same time wireless connection to the vehicle’s external aerial improves the signal.
“The Kodiaq demonstrates where the brand stands today and will be launched at the beginning of 2017. Kodiaq is the start of our SUV campaign, further models are already in the progress or are being planned.”
Tomorrow: Project leader for the Skoda Kodiaq programme, Jiri Dytrych explains the SUV's key powertrain and chassis technologies