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Škoda releases long-awaited Kodiaq [w/ poll]

After what seems like years of speculation, spyshots, teasers and leaks, Škoda finally released its take on the 7-seat family crossover: the Kodiaq. But for once all the buildup may actually be justified, as the Kodiaq is not just another Škoda model – it is the harbinger of a bevy of new crossovers from the Czech carmaker, and has the potential to become one of its best-sellers. That, and it’s probably the ultimate answer to the question “why should Škoda enter the US market?”.

It actually looks quite good

Previewed by the Vision S concept last year, the Kodiaq is a good-looking car, in a conservative sort of way. The styling survived the transition from concept to production surprisingly well, with the biggest loss being the deep crease in the doors and the bluff, Range Rover Evoque-esque grille that had to make way for a more integrated, aerodynamically-friendly setup. It’s a car that hides its length surprisingly well for a non-premium model, many of which often end up looking too tall and narrow. What’s more, the interior utilizes a new design language for the brand – again, still conservative, but no longer does it look like it was purposefully uglified by the VAG overlords at VW to maintain brand positioning.

Enough about the styling – is the car any good?

Nothing is certain as yet, but the early signs are good. The Kodiaq is built on the same modular MQB platform as the acclaimed Octavia and Superb models, not to mention many VW, Seat and Audi cars. This means it will get the latest VAG engines, safety and entertainment systems, as well as a sophisticated suspension, modern 4×4 system and relatively low weight. What’s more, in true Škoda fashion it offers a lot of space for the money – it is around 20cm longer than the VW Tiguan and 30cm longer than the Seat Ateca, and is the only one of the three to offer a third row of seats.

How it fits in the market

As a result of its added size and passenger capacity, the Kodiaq occupies a bit of a goldilocks space in the crossover spectrum – larger than the usual model from the midsized crossover segment, and thus offering a genuine 7-seat capacity (unlike the Nissan X-Trail/Rogue), but not as large or expensive as large crossovers. In fact, the Kodiaq’s positioning is similar to the 3rd-generation Kia Sorento, the current market leader in the Large SUV segment. Add to that competitive prices, promised to undercut all competitors including the aforementioned Sorento, and Škoda has a real hit on its hands. How big? Let us know what you think in the comments section and poll below: