Continuing Skoda’s SUV range that start with a K and end with a Q, this is the Karoq. Yes, yes we preferred the Yeti name too, but apparently they don’t like it in China and they’re kind of a big market.
Isn’t the Karoq just a little Kodiaq?
Replacing the Yeti, the Karoq’s got some pretty large boots to fill as it was a very, very popular car, and with good reason. It was clever, drove well and looked just rugged enough without losing its inherent appeal. The Karoq is sharper, more angular, much like a scaled down version of the incredible Kodiaq. It’s got a big, black Skoda ‘tache and split-level headlights at the front, and softly-squared wheel arches and a sharp shoulder-line crease down the sides, again, much like the Karoq. You can see where this is going.
Inside the Karoq, they’ve been very clever to keep Skoda’s place in the VAG family. What this equates to is quality without stepping on VW’s products, not quite as much in the way of luxury as, say an Audi, and not the flair you’d expect inside a Seat. If that sounds like the Karoq’s interior is just a bit worse in every department than its sister cars, that’s not the case. It’s just pure Skoda; it’s functional without being flowery but it’s spacious and easy on the eye.
Who’s a clever little car, then……
What Skoda seem to have adopted as their USP is intelligence inside. By this I mean easy to alter seating and picnic tables for rear passengers. And then there’s the clever little touches that Skoda are becoming renowned for like an umbrella under the passenger seat, a removable LED torch in the boot, an ice scraper that harks back to Skoda’s Czech heritage, and my personal favourite; actual little litter bins with little bin-liners in the door bins, although that comes as part of the £120 ‘Family pack’.
Watch this space, but for now at least there’s a diesel Karoq. In fact there’s two – a 1.6l, 114bhp and a 2.0l 148bhp. There’s a choice of two petrols as well – a 1.0l and a 1.5l, again with 114bhp and 148bhp respectively. What’s far more impressive, though, is the fact that you can have your Karoq with 4WD. Yep, you read it right, your small SUV can be a proper 4×4. If you’re keen on a bit of off-roading, you’ve got to have the larger diesel engine, though, and the way manufacturers are turning their backs on heavy oil may either see a petrol, 4×4 Karoq, or the range becoming 2WD only.
The Karoq comes in four trim levels; SE, SE Technology, SE L & Edition. Prices start from £20,875 for the 114bhp SE model with a manual gearbox, going all the way up to £31,690 for the 4×4, 2.0l Edition Karoq. All Karoqs can be ordered with the VW group’s DSG ‘box – it adds around £1,300 to the cost but could well be worth it.
Which Karoq to choose
This is the 1.5l, petrol TSI engined Karoq, mated to the six-speed manual gearbox in SE L trim. It costs £24,515 OTR so sits roughly in the middle of the range, and comes with 18” alloys, alcantara upholstery, 8” touchscreen infotainment, auto lights, heated front seats and rear-view camera. You do get a lot of standard kit for the money but I’d have to recommend the £120 Family Pack which adds a power-operated child safety lock, heat-insulated side window glass, a boot-liner and that all-important door bin…………..bin.
Obviously, the diesel Karoqs are the most economical, some of them achieve over 60mpg combined. The seemingly inevitable demise of diesel has pushed VAG into improving their petrol offerings and this 1.5l petrol is one of their most recent. All of the petrol engines on offer return over 50mpg, and even this more powerful version manages 51.4mpg. It’s a very clever engine, shutting half of itself down and running on 2 cylinders when the driver’s foot is lifted off the throttle.
The good news is, it’s no slouch, either. This Karoq gets from 0-62mph in 8.4s, with the DSG version managing 8.6s. It’s based on the same MQB platform as so many VAG products, most pertinently the Ateca and the T-Roc. It’s been set up more for comfort than fun, though, so it’s not quite as engaging as Seat’s Ateca, although it doesn’t exactly wallow around bends either. The upside of this is that it’s a far more relaxing ride, especially when full up with people.
Should I buy a Skoda Karoq?
There’s just so many small SUVs on the market at the moment, many of them spawned from the Volkswagen group. Skoda have had much success with the Kodiaq, though, and have carved themselves a little niche. The Karoq’s similar looks to its big brother are no accident and if you want a slightly more mature little SUV, the Karoq could be for you.
By Ben Harrington
Skoda Karoq SE L 1.5 TSI Specifications:
Engine – 1.5l 4-cyl petrol, Layout –Front engine, FWD, Transmission – 6-speed manual, Power – 148bhp, Acceleration –0-62mph – 8.4s, Maximum Speed –126mph, Maximum Torque – 250Nm, Economy – 51.4 mpg combined, Emissions – 125g/km CO2, Price – £24,515 OTR, £25,645 as tested
The Skoda Karoq is available now. For full details go to; www.skoda.co.uk