New Karoq has a tough act to follow – but it’s more than up to the job.
The Karoq’s predecessor, the widely-admired Yeti, brought a host of new customers to the Skoda brand. So, what will they be seeing when they come to trade up to Karoq? An all-new model with sleek lines outside plus tons of usable, versatile space inside. Skoda’s no-nonsense reputation means this is an SUV that avoids gimmicks in favour of classic lines, impressive build quality and a choice of front-drive or all-wheel drive.
If Yeti was as square as a piece of Czech Cubist art, its successor the Karoq softens the style with a smoother, more aerodynamic profile. You can argue over whether it stands out quite as much but most owners will be pleased to drive something that looks so clean, crisp and contemporary. It’s longer and wider than the Yeti too, with a longer wheelbase. Legroom and loadspace both benefit; boot capacity is 521 litres which becomes a class-topping 1630 litres with the rear seats down.
The signature Skoda grille, arrow badge and a pair of smoothly-integrated headlights with LED daylight running lights gives the face of Karoq premium appeal. Inside, surfaces are made of quality materials, there’s plenty of space and the dash layout is both logical and uncluttered. A class act.
At launch Karoq will come with a choice of 1.0-litre three-cylinder and 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engines, or if you prefer the diesel pump at your filling station you can select between 1.6 and 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesels. Power outputs range from 115bhp to 187bhp; the most powerful Karoq also gets a seven-speed DSG auto that can power it from 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds. Passengers will be glad to note that the chassis is set up more for comfort than class-leading Nürburgring times, with an easy, supple ride – especially with the optional adaptive dampers.
The Karoq gets a 9.2in colour touchscreen infotainment system with gesture control. An optional digital instrument layout gives you a choice of four layouts, from Classic to Reduced, letting you choose how much information you need at any time. The clever Varioflex rear seating is configured as three individual seats, which can be folded separately. The middle seat can even be removed with the remaining two sliding inwards for more shoulder and elbow room.
A Skoda is supposed to be the sensible branch of the VW Group family and yet the Karoq doesn’t feel like a bread and butter choice. Its combination of restrained, unfussy design, class-leading interior space and useful technology will have wide appeal. An SUV for the long run (and for stepping our feeling fresh and alert at the journey’s end).