With a week’s worth of one on one time up my sleeve, I decided to add an extra dimension to my review of Skoda’s new SUV the Kodiaq by including a family weekend away in Vegas, Rotovegas that is. Including review vehicles in my day to day work and family routines is one thing but (as I found out) making it part of a weekend away is a totally different beast altogether.
First of all, there were some more familiar, routine things to attend to, in the guise of kids Saturday football. However, as we were going to head off directly after the game, this normally mundane trip took on a whole new drama; as my son was adamant about travelling (game and beyond) in the third row – which I should have guessed. So the well stacked and packed items that the wife had so carefully over-thought about (I’ll get to that in a moment) had to be rethunk. As it turned out, the Kodiaq had my back – with its mixture of combination seating arrangements (and multiple ‘hidden’ storage spaces) we ended up with more room than before and could’ve packed extra – shhhh don’t tell the wife.
Now, about that luggage. You see, my significant other is becoming legendary in over-packing circles. Even trips to the store involve items so varied and at quantities so substantial that it would make the most ardent Scout cower with fear and would merit a ‘be prepared’ badge of gargantuan proportions. So needless to say; despite there only being three of us going for an overnight stay in an alleged westernised city, ‘we’ packed for a much larger family and for what would appear to be, a much much longer time – maybe there was something she hadn’t told me? Mind you with the amount of gadgets and accessories the Kodiaq already had on board, the kitchen sink was about the only thing we didn’t double up on!
The trip to Vegas was actually uneventful, which in driving terms is magic – albeit the weather hosed it down and the wife informed me (repeatedly) that we should have probably chosen a different weekend to go. The 2L Kodiaq, on the other hand, didn’t moan at all. With the Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keep Assist on, the 132kW; 7 seat SUV ignored any commotion and simply carried on (oh to be an SUV).
Toilet breaks are all part of road trips, especially with little ones on board, regardless of how many times you recommend ‘trying’ as you wait for the coffee’s and hot chocolates at the service station, invariably it’s several k’s down the road (and at places that are too dangerous to stop on) that the actual ‘need’ appears – but this time from the wife! Again it was Kodiaq to the rescue, a quick tap around the navigation menu and the nearest town was highlighted – relief all round (well when we got there of course), leather-trimmed seats are not waterproof I believe. The last few k’s involved putting the cabin voice system’s volume to full and trying out different tones for eye spy, French is a good accent to go with!
We opted for the Holiday Inn, it seemed in keeping with the ‘Merica road trip weekend vibe. It is quite the modern hotel (although in a smelly part of town) and boasts a big and hot swimming pool, which we hopped into right after checking in. Basking in thermal pool goodness I was pleasantly surprised at how relaxed I felt – it wasn’t a testing drive down, in fact, much to the contrary. The Kodiaq handled both the conditions and the roads with ease, it felt car like to drive and yet had oodles of space, nice.
Suitably boiled we headed out to see the sights, well namely the lake – just as the rain increased, it was time to crack open the Kodiaq’s brollies that were hiding in the door compartments. The gardens that surround the Museum are most excellent and a place that I’d never seen before. The art and sculptures that are dotted around the foliage are really creative and make for awesome family pics. With our fill of culture we jumped back into the SUV and went puddle splashing – the Kodiaq was 4 wheel drive so would’ve been rude not to.
With the first embrace of darkness upon us, we shot over to the thermal lakes by the hospital. The cold and wet conditions made more of a steam spectacle but unfortunately not great photos, so it was a case of grabbing a fast food feast and back to the Holiday Inn to R&R – The Skoda navigated us quickly to both.
Next morning and the sun was up before us, which meant just one thing. Admittedly, with the previous day’s weather being ‘variable’ and giving the reins to my six-year-old son to drive was going to be a gamble BUT no trip to Vegas would be complete without a trip to the top of the Gondola and a race back down via the luge.
Not wishing to have our cases ‘exposed’ I had to negotiate seating arrangements with my son (I won’t tell you what he wanted), drop the third-row seats own and break out the retractable cover (housed under the rear floor). The result is 630 litres of usable and hideable space – perfect. We spent 3 hours whizzing down and chair lifting back up – I so love the luge!
I kid you not when I tell you that when we were jumping back into the Skoda at the bottom of the hill, I was approached by a gentleman interested in my thoughts of the Kodiaq. After a quick walk-around which included the magnetic torch and pop-out door protectors (which will take time to not grab a hold of), I do believe he will be knocking on the dealer’s door for a test drive real soon – you’re welcome Skoda Rotorua!
There was just chance for a few lakeside shots in the sun (I unnecessarily hit the ‘off road’ switch and headed on to the grass verge), then another walk around Kuirau Park, before hitting the road to head home.
Again I utilised the Skoda’s driving aids and with a mixture of rain, sunstrike, roadworks, roundabouts, followed by light then heavy traffic I half expected the cruise system to fail or at least falter, but I can honestly say that I can count on 2 hands a number of times I had to interact with the foot pedals the whole way back and that my friend is impressive.
Arriving back to home life reality, I felt refreshed and relaxed. The semi-autonomy of having all the driving aids functioning well meant that my required concentration level was less intense, still there of course but less acute. Therefore my driving fatigue was at an all time low for such a long weekend of behind the wheel action. To sum it all up, the family weekend away to Skodarua with the Kodiaq was the ideal way to relax and let off steam.
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