Before you get your hopes up, the Skoda Kodiaq GT is only on sale in China and the Czech car maker does not plan to introduce the model elsewhere. One of the main reasons cited is the lack of production volume at its European plants, but with a growing number of SUV models now spinning off coupe-like derivatives, should Skoda be reconsidering this? We went to China to find out.
In the Metal:
Since the first BMW X6 came along, a growing number of manufacturers have produced coupe versions of their SUVs, but the Skoda Kodiaq GT's roofline isn't as dramatic as some. Viewed from certain angles, you'd hardly notice that its roofline tapers down that much in comparison to the European-spec Kodiaq. Only when you view the GT from behind do you see the subtle changes. The wheelbase remains the same, although overall, the Kodiaq GT is 63mm shorter due to the different rear design, while its total height is 10mm lower. The Skoda features a single (real) exhaust either side of the rear bumper.
You do notice the change in the roofline when sitting in the rear, although most will still find that there is sufficient headroom. Boot space also takes a hit, decreasing to 463 litres (in comparison to the five-seat model's 720 litres). As part of the GT designation, there are sport seats in the front that are similar to those in the Kodiaq RS. In front of the driver is a configurable 10.25-inch digital instrument display and this version also gets an eight-inch touchscreen display. The infotainment system allows for smartphone integration, including the local market Baidu Carlife.
What is apparent, when you take a closer look, is that the build quality isn't as good as the Skodas we see in Europe. Some of the shut lines aren't uniform and trim pieces along the window line, for example, don't line up very well. Those issues aside, the Kodiaq GT is a handsome thing and the 19-inch wheels fill the arches well, though we could see envisage it wearing 20-inch wheels.
Buyers in China can choose between a 1.4-litre entry-spec engine or two variants of a 2.0-litre TSI petrol unit. The last is what we're driving here, and it's a variant of the EA888 engine that features in many Volkswagen Group models including the Golf R. In this instance it is set up for a less stressed output of 220hp with 350Nm of torque (the 380 designation does not refer to either engine performance or size). Acceleration is brisk and the dual-clutch automatic is every bit as refined as you would expect from such a unit. As you toggle through different driving modes, these do alter the character of the car - but not such a degree that you'd want to switch between them regularly. The Sport mode adds a dollop of resistance to the steering and it holds onto each gear ratio for longer - although the Kodiaq GT doesn't get steering wheel paddles, which stifles the desire to push it on.
The passive setup of the suspension could do with being slightly firmer and better damped, even if only to highlight the sportier nature of the Kodiaq GT. Still, it's comfortable enough to satisfy family demands and the Skoda cruises along comfortably at high speeds. Even after the drive in this regular model, we can't help but imagine what it would be like with that engine turned up to 300-plus horsepower and some chassis tweaks from the RS department.
What you get for your Money:
As we've mentioned, you can only buy the Kodiaq GT in China; and currently, Skoda doesn't have plans to introduce the model into Europe due to a lack of production capacity. Similar to rival Chinese-market models, buyers can choose from three specifications - in addition to front- or four-wheel-drive transmissions. Although the latter is only available with this range-topping engine.
While the Skoda Kodiaq GT has sportier styling, the actual driving experience isn't that different from a regular Kodiaq. Perhaps applying RS treatment to it could result in a more appealing car. Given European tastes and the current demand for SUVs of any kind, such a model could do well were it to be introduced, especially with a plug-in hybrid petrol powertrain.
Your move, Skoda.