In three decades of musing about cars this is the first time I have ever felt inclined to use the word stately to describe travelling in a Skoda.

Yes the Czech car maker’s aptly-named large hatchback, the Superb, is a class act, but the marque’s first seven-seater sports utility vehicle just raised the bar a few notches.

Elegant styling and an air of robust practicality cloak a smart, well-designed interior packed with large, supportive seats, the latest driving technology and a range of clever features.

But put all the gadgetry to one side, for the Kodiaq’s crowning glory is its ability to effortlessly whisk up to seven people on seriously long journeys in a quiet, relaxed cabin.

I covered almost 500 miles in my time with the top-of-the-range Edition model and felt I had barely got it to stretch its legs.

Power on the test car came from a 2.0-litre, 150 horsepower turbodiesel engine, capable of delivering more than 50mpg, which combined with a large fuel tank allows the Kodiaq to realistically cover more than 600 miles between visits to a filling station.

If ever a family car was built for international travel, this is it.

While the Kodiaq is just 40mm longer than the Octavia, it offers spectacular space inside which can be mixed and matched to suit whatever role the car has to play.

The middle seat row, that can be folded 60:40, has individually adjustable backrests and can slide lengthways by 180mm. The third row of seats also folds neatly into the floor space to create a huge flat load area behind the front seats – enough for 14 large refuse sacks (don’t ask).

There are plenty of neat little features designed to make life on board even easier. These include a new door-edge protection which deploys automatically thanks to preloaded springs when opening the car door and prevent the metal edge of the door from coming into contact with a garage wall, or an adjacent vehicle, helping to prevent bumps and scratches to your own car, as well as other vehicles. When shutting the door, the trim folds itself back in.

Higher tech features include both live journey information and real-time navigation and the

widest range of driver assistance systems ever offered by Skoda. These include systems such as trailer assist and area view. The latter uses wide-angle surround-view cameras located around the car to create a virtual, top-down view and 180-degree images to the front and rear.

Other systems integrated into the Kodiaq include front assist – including city emergency brake (standard on all models), adaptive cruise control, lane assist, blind spot detect and rear traffic alert. A camera recognises traffic signs and displays them in the dashboard and the car also constantly monitors the driver for signs of tiredness and alerts you if it feels you are drowsy.

Priced from about £22,000, there is a choice of five engines, two and four-wheel-drive options and a choice of four trim levels.

All models in the range are equipped with LED daytime running lights, alloy wheels, leather multifunction steering wheel and air-conditioning. DAB digital radio, touchscreen infotainment systems and SmartLink connection for smartphones are also standard across the line-up.

As an option the front seats can be heated, ventilated and adjusted electronically.

Another option is a drive mode selector that allows you to adjust the operation of the engine, power steering, air conditioning and other systems in normal, eco, sport and individual modes. All-wheel-drive versions also offer a special snow mode for slippery road conditions.

The Kodiaq is also the first Skoda to feature trailer assist, which can take over steering a trailer when reversing slowly. To operate, you simply select reverse, press the park assist button and use the mirror adjustment button to enter the direction that the trailer should follow. The vehicle then steers automatically.

Skoda’s car-making heritage, which stretches back more than a century, started with the production of large, luxurious vehicles, so the Kodiaq, that is spearheading a new wave of models, is going back to the future in style.

Auto facts

Model: Skoda Kodiaq Edition 2.0 TDI 4x4

Price: £33,080

Insurance group: 18E (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 51.4mpg

Top speed: 121mph

Length: 469.7cm/185in

Width: 188.2cm/74in

Luggage capacity: 22 cu ft (five seats in place)

Fuel tank capacity: 13.2 gallons/60 litres

CO2 emissions: 144g/km

Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles