ŠKODA KODIAQ 2018 132 tsi sportline

Skoda Kodiaq 132TSI Sportline long-termer: introduction

Living life with a seven-seat Skoda has been simply excellent, so far.

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Welcome the sportiest SUV in the Skoda stable, the 2018 Kodiaq 132TSI Sportline, to the CarAdvice garage for the next three months.

We'll delve a bit deeper into life with the Sportline over the next few instalments, but this introduction is all about the basics, set-up and features. Buckle up, there are lots of features.

In petrol guise, the Sportline will set you back $46,990 before on-road costs, or $50,290 drive-away. Power comes from a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder engine making 132kW and 320Nm, put to all four wheels (well, when the car detects slip) through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Will our DSG woes continue, or has Skoda done what its parent company couldn't and nailed the double-clutch calibration around town? Stay tuned to find out, but initial signs are certainly less jerky than expected.

Our tester is fully loaded, which means it has the Tech Pack ($2600) and Luxury Pack ($3400). Combined, they add a 10-speaker sound system, automatic parking assistant, blind-spot assist, surround-view camera and tri-zone climate control, bumping the price to a not-inconsiderable $52,990 before on-roads.

As the range-topper, our Kodiaq really has everything. It rides on 20-inch alloy wheels, and gets black body add-ons to contrast with its Velvet Red paint. Inside, there are Alcantara and leather sport seats with contrast stitching, aluminium pedals and wheel-mounted paddle-shifters.

The heated seats have already come in handy. Melbourne has been freezing in recent weeks, and they're quick to hit peak bun-roasting temperature. Even the rear seats are heated, not that I have any children to put there. Friends will have to suffice, although whether they deserve a heated caboose remains to be seen.

Being a Skoda, there are myriad 'simply clever' touches scattered around the interior. I'm yet to discover them all, but already the pop-out door protectors and in-door rubbish bin have come in handy. Stay tuned for more on all those little features and add-ons, as we'll be putting them to the test over the coming months.

Volkswagen Group's excellent 9.2-inch touchscreen infotainment takes pride of place in the centre console. It has gesture control (gimmicky), smartphone mirroring (good) and no volume dial (bad), along with inbuilt navigation.

There's also a raft of personalisation options, right down to the colour of the LED lights running along the dash and door trims. I like navy blue, James Wong is set on red. He's wrong, naturally.

The headlights, wipers, dimming rear-view mirror and folding mirrors are all automatic, although you'll need to manually turn on the heated side mirrors.

Autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist (very aggressive, feeling TBC) are all standard, as is rear-cross traffic alert. Thankfully, none of the active safety features have been required during our time with the car.

Finally, the Kodiaq is a seven-seater. With the third row folded, you have 630 litres of space behind the seats, or 270L with the third row in place. Fold them all flat and there's a whopping 2055L to play with – aka the largest space in its class.

As I write this, plans are forming for a four-up trip to the snow with skis, boards and all the other rubbish required to make a bougie winter holiday happen, so that cargo space will be given a stern test. Speaking of stern tests, a seven-seat road trip is also in the diary. We'll be drawing straws to see who ends up in the cheap seats down back...

Life with the Kodiaq is already shaping up as fun. Anything you want to know about the car? Let us know in the comments.

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