When it comes to compact and bigger SUV’s, Skoda has some formidable cards up its sleeve. Its SUV’s all look pleasing and well proportioned, and are strong contenders in their respective segments. For the successor of the Yeti, Skoda opted for more mainstream styling, to win the hearts of ever more followers. It also offers even more room. Our test car came with the trusty two litre diesel engine, cleverly coupled to the 7-speed 4×4 DSG transmission. Clearly showing us again how smooth, powerful and thrifty modern powertrains have become…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Indeed, this Karoq looks well proportioned from any angle, and bears strong family resemblance to the larger Kodiaq. One finds timelessly accented lines, with a very pleasing front end styling which establishes the brand character very well. Inside, we find quality materials which are soft to touch.
A superb finish and equipment in the Karoq. Photos are taken with our big Nikon SLR this time…Our test car even came with the “Skoda Connect” package, giving you infotainment online for 1 year, care connect for 3 years.
In the centre sits a magnificent 9 inch touch screen in the higher “Style” equipment level we drove, which lets you use all the infotainment and navigation functions intuitively, with all the knobs and handles also very well placed. The screen even has gesture controls, how about that?
Secure, comfortable, precise
The VW Group MQB platform (also found on the VW Tiguan, amongst others) lets also this Karoq steer like on rials. OK, this is not a sports car, it is never meant to be, but this doesn’t mean that you cannot drive it in a very spirited manner on winding roads.
It steers quite flat and precise in corners, the suspension is pleasantly firm without ever being uncomfortable. The 4×4 layout adds of course extra grip and safety, but it has to be said here that this 4WD version is only available in combination with the 2 liter 150 HP diesel.
Besides the 4WD driving mode, where the car almost takes care of itself on unhardened terrain, and according to the equipment level, one can opt for different driving modes to suit your mood behind the wheel. Drivetrain settings and suspension are adapted accordingly.
Lively diesel power
A trusty unit, which is smooth, yet when accelerating hard it makes itself clearly heard. Needless to say that power is plentiful, and the smooth changing 7-speed DSG adds that extra touch of refinement to it all, which is welcome in dense urban driving. Performance leaves nothing to be desired, with 0 to 100 km/h being achieved in 9,3 seconds.
Of course, the Karoq is an ideal comfortable Gran Turismo on Europe’s motorways, with unerring high speed stability, and a top speed of 195 km/h. The efficient engine and transmission warrant excellent constant speed consumption figures, and we had no trouble to stay in the 6 liters/100 km range when driving with restraint. Remember, the kerb weight of the Karoq is 1516 kg, and one cannot escape the laws of physics.
But if you keep revs down and drive fluently, this Karoq will reward you with very good economy. The consumption figures are 5,7 l, 4,9 l and 5,2 l respectively for urban, extra-urban and combined, with CO2 emissions being 134g/km. Of course, the engine has lots of power with its torque of 340 Nm being available between 1750 and 3000 rpm, so the Karoq is by all means a very lively SUV.
Roomy, practical and versatile
The well finished cabin offers plenty of room, also for the rear passengers. One can even opt for variable configuration on the rear seats, which can then move back and forward and their backrests can incline for that ideal seating position.
This feature is called Varioflex, and sets you back 326 Euro’s in our country. The centre console is roomy enough, maybe not too much the glove box but then there is an additional stowaway box on the top of the fascia, and there is room in the door bins even for (very) big bottles.
Our test car came with the Jumbo Box under the central armrest in front, with a 230 V socket and USB connection. This option costs a moderate 169 Euros. Clever details like an umbrella in the passenger seat, an ice scraper in the fuel filler lid or a parking ticket holder behind the wind screen are things one appreciates in daily life.
In the massive boot, there are hooks and nets to hold everything in place, and there is even a reversible boot floor cover, which you then can turn upside down to pack those dirty muddy children’s bikes or… let your dog in dog when it has been running in the field. The boot floor can also be lowered too. Standard boot size is 521 liter, which can be expanded to 1630 liter. We liked the optional “Virtual Pedal”, which is the electric opening and closing of the fifth luggage door.
We also appreciated the Canton Sound system, 10 speakers with a digital equalizer and subwoofer, music buffs as we are.
Skoda is building very able cars, and the Karoq simply proves this point again. Well styled, roomy, practical, superbly built, with proven technology running on the VW Group MQB platform, bursting with state of the art driving aids, including variable suspension settings and drivetrain responsiveness when one chooses the different driving modes in the higher equipment versions.
Add to all this its economy, reliability and long service life, and there is no reason why you should not take a very close look at this compact SUV, which will go with you a very long way, and accompany you on all roads…
Hans Knol ten Bensel