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Kingdom of Bahrain
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One of the things this rotational reporter finds himself missing most from Canada is the cycling. Not to say that there are no cyclists here, but there is something socially welcoming in Canada about the velocipede, with bicycle lanes, lots of bicycle chop shops and best of all, a community around it. And there is something distinguished about the bicycle from its simplicity to its ride-and-go nature and its versatility.
That’s what I experienced with the Škoda Kodiaq when we took it out for a test drive last week. And with Škoda’s 124-year history that started with a bicycle enthusiast making his passion a profession, this stunning simplicity and versatility has become part of its brand.
Right off the bat, the exterior of the 4x4 SUV is stunning. With adaptive LED front lights, 19-inch alloy wheels and leather upholstery, the seven-seater Škoda Kodiaq Style full model is a sight to behold.
As I got in, my phone seamlessly connected with the virtual massive 9.2-inch touchscreen cockpit, Android Auto and Death Cab for Cutie’s Soul Meets Body set the mood for the day, gently emanating from the Canton speakers as I got on the highway.
The smoothness and pure delight of the drive was the second thing that was immediately apparent, as I adjusted the climatronic air conditioning and the panoramic sunroof slid back, bathing me in some much-needed Vitamin D. The blind spot monitors and Eco-mode made Bahraini traffic more-or-less bearable
Once the road cleared, I blitzed along and experimented with the optional manual DSG shifting flappy paddles, coursing through the Kodiaq’s seven gears as the 2 litre turbo-charged engine purred. I picked up our photographer, who had no issues storing his voluminous equipment in the 270-litre (expandable to 2005 litres with the seats down) trunk and we were off to the Sakhir desert to put the car through its off-road test.
Finding ourselves on the Sakhir sands, the intelligent 4x4 system turned on automatically (with an additional ‘Snow’ mode for rougher conditions) and the Columbus off-road navigation system helped us chart our course across the rocky dunes.
Here I must note that some may find the stiff suspension, 187mm of ground clearance, 19.1-degree approach and16.2-degree departure angles as well as the 30km/h limit to the intelligent off-road assistant somewhat limiting, but it’s perfect for Bahrain’s relatively mild off-road conditions.
There were moments where I was inclined to doubt the tire holding capabilities of the Kodiaq but the 180HP of power and 320Nm of torque held true and the sensors helped us avoid large rocks as our photographer snapped numerous shots of the Kodiaq.
As evening hastened towards us, we headed back to the city and I enjoyed feeling like a Formula 1 driver with the shifting paddles and the sporty steering as we surfed the highway. I ruminated on the drive and the Kodiaq which had surpassed my expectations as the automatic front lights illuminated our drive back to civilisation.
As I dropped off the Kodiaq in the evening, parking easily with the rear-view camera and front and rear sensors, a part of me knew I would miss the car especially during the desert camping season, but alas, such is the nature of speed-dating, I mean, test-driving as a reporter.
A smooth drive, decent off-road abilities, fantastic 7.4l/100km combined fuel consumption and ample space makes it the perfect vehicle for a family desert camping trip, with a hefty helping of road comfort and entertainment features.
The Škoda Kodiaq is now available at Behbehani Brothers’ Škoda showroom in a variety of trims and styles ranging from BD11,000 to BD15,100. Call 17459333 to book your test drive today.