Skoda Karoq UK Launch Review
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
The compact SUV sector is growing so rapidly that it is hard to keep pace with all the new cars coming to the market. I have a long list of models reviewed in 2017 and looking at my diary, this year looks as though it will continue in the same vein.
Skoda recently discontinued the much-loved and distinctive Yeti and on test here is its replacement – the Karoq.
Styling is far more conservative but when parked alongside the much larger Kodiaq model, the family resemblance is striking.
The emphasis here is practicality and value for money, two defining features of the Skoda brand.
The Karoq is available with three core trim grades from launch. All models are well equipped so expect to find smart alloy wheels, dual-zone climate controlled air conditioning and cruise control fitted even on the base SE variant, with prices starting at £20,875.
SE L versions add smart Alcantara upholstery, heated front seats and an 8-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, amongst other things.
The range tops out with ‘Edition’ models which get a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, an electric driver’s seat and larger 9.2-inch touchscreen.
With the lucrative fleet market very much in mind, an SE Technology version is available. Based on the SE, this model comes with satellite navigation, adaptive cruise control and front and rear parking sensors.
More decisions must be made with regards to engine choice – there are two petrol motors (115PS 1.0-litre and 150PS 1.5-litre) and two diesels (115PS 1.6-litre TDi and 150PS 2.0-litre TDi).
Unless your intended mileage is high, petrol is the choice and both engines impress. The three cylinder 1.0-litre unit boasts a rather lovely off-beat thrum and feels perkier than the on paper figures would suggest (0-62mph in 10.6 seconds). It revs eagerly and combined with a slick six-speed gearbox, brisk progress is easy to make.
Those who regularly carry a full complement of passengers may fair better with the 1.5-litre engine. It accomplishes the sprint to 62mph in just 8.6 seconds and is undoubtedly quicker in the real world. Add £1,350 for all that extra power.
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Lovers of diesel will be impressed with the 1.6-litre engine’s promised economy (65.7mpg), but the £2,000 premium will take a long time to claw back, so do the sums carefully.
If you want your Karoq with four-wheel drive, then you will find the 2.0-litre diesel engine under the bonnet. Frugal and quick, this may be the model of choice for the rural motorist (from £25,505).
An automatic 7-speed DSG gearbox is available with all engines and trims (a pleasant change) and your wallet will be lightened to the tune of £1,300. It shifts smoothly and is a delight to use. Only a little hesitation when low speed manoeuvring spoils the day.
Safety sells and the new Karoq is not found wanting in this department.
Safety experts Euro NCAP have already awarded the occupant protection of adult passengers an excellent 93%, along with a five star rating.
Standard safety systems include Front Assist with City Emergency Brake, electronic tyre pressure monitoring, seven airbags and ESC.
The Karoq boasts a light and airy interior with plenty of space for four large adults to sit comfortably. SE L models and above boast a Varioflex seating system which allows owners to adapt the layout and configuration of the rear seats to meet their needs.
SE models can hold up to 521 of luggage in the boot area, extendable to 1,630 with the rear seats folded flat. Figures for the Varioflex model are 479-588 litres with the seats up and 1,810 litres with the rear seats removed.
Skoda goes the extra mile with thoughtful interior touches. Expect to find an umbrella under the passenger seats, a removable LED torch in the boot and the now familiar ice scraper in the fuel filler cap. Small details but they make for pleasurable ownership and happy customers.
The UK Media Launch was based in Lincoln and an extensive test route was organised for us. Perhaps not the most challenging, I can confirm that the Karoq delivers a comfortable ride for both driver and passengers. Handing is safe and secure without ever being especially involving but I doubt would-be buyers will be overly bothered.
I would choose a base model 1.0-litre SE to which I would add satellite navigation (£400) and metallic paint (£575). A reasonable £21,850 on your driveway.
Of course most private buyers now use a Personal Contract Plan and a range of affordable deals are immediately available from around £200 per month, with customer deposit and Skoda’s contribution (APR 6.3%).
Your friendly local dealer will be pleased to provide full details.
Prices start at £20,875
2 petrol and 2 diesel engines
4x4 available with 2.0-litre diesel only
6-speed manual with optional 7-speed DSG (+£1,300)
3 core trim levels; SE SE L and Edition
Fleet-focussed SE Technology version
High equipment level across the range
5* Euro NCAP Safety Rating
Skoda Karoq UK Launch Review, 21st January 2018, 20:17 PM