Skoda Karoq: price, specs and reviews
Capable and well-rounded, can the new SUV rival the Yeti’s charm?
Skoda’s all-new Karoq is now available to order. The vehicle will replace the company’s small but popular Yeti SUV.
Karoq, a name that originates from the language of the Alutiiq, an indigenous tribe who live on an island off Alaska, sits on the MQB platform of its parent company Volkswagen, which spawned the Audi Q2 and the Seat Ateca SUVs.
The new SUV looks almost identical to its larger Kodiaq sibling, but has a noticeably more compact design. It’s expected to rival the likes of the Renault Kadjar and the Nissan Qashqai, which are among the most sought-after vehicles on the market.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Karoq and what the critics are saying:
Unlike the Yeti, which bore a strong resemblance to the Skoda Fabia hatchback, the mid-sized Karoq adopts most of its styling from its larger Kodiaq sibling. Gone are the curvaceous edges of its predecessor in favour of angular panel lines and more contemporary SUV-like proportions.
It has a shorter overhang at the rear end, distinguishing it from the Kodiaq, and while this will compromise boot space, it should be easier to park and manoeuvre.
The wheelbase is exactly the same as the Seat Ateca crossover, says AutoExpress, and there are "plenty of family traits visible in the Karoq's side profile". However, the grille and "complex tail-lights do help to separate the VW Group stablemates at the front and rear".
While digital instrument panels are widely available across Volkswagen group cars, the Karoq will be the first Skoda to get the technology, What Car? reports, coupled with a 6.5ins touchscreen display above the centre console, available as standard.
Range-topping models get a 9.2ins touchscreen infotainment system with VW's gesture controls, although the website argues these are "not particularly effective".
There's also optional autonomous systems, says CarBuyer, including "traffic-sign recognition" and "autonomous emergency braking". Rear cross traffic alert, which "scans for obstacles when reversing", is also available as an optional extra.
Getting in and out of the Karoq is easy "thanks to lower sills and doors that open to a wide angle", says Top Gear, but "you don’t get those neat pop-out door protectors that feature on the Kodiaq."
The front seats have been redesigned for better support on long journeys, adds the site, while rear leg and headroom is good "even with the panoramic sunroof in place".
Buyers will be able to choose from five engines, four of which are new to the Skoda line-up.
The range kicks-off with a 113bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine, which appears in various cars from the Volkswagen Group, says CarBuyer. It "has enough gusto to get the Karoq from 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds", while its claimed average fuel consumption is 53mpg.
New to the Skoda range is a 148bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that can go from zero to 62mph in 8.4secs and returns a claimed 55mpg, the magazine adds. It also "comes with cylinder deactivation, so can partially shut down when not being pushed".
In addition are three new diesel motors, available as either 1.6-litre or 2.0-litre units. The smaller engine produces 113bhp and has a claimed economy of 62.7mpg, while 2.0-litre motors can be specced in either 148bhp or 187bhp form.
Whichever trim level you choose, WhatCar? says the Karoq is a comfortable place to be thanks to the adjustability of its driving position. The seats come with lumbar adjustment as standard and there’s “plenty of variance to the steering wheel’s height and reach.”
Visibility is also a strong point, the website adds, as the SUV’s tall driving position coupled with thin windscreen pillars make it easy to see out of and “at least as good its best rivals”.
Not only does the elevated ride height aid visibility, says Car Buyer, it also makes the Karoq easy for passengers to get in and out of. Both the front and back rows offer “plenty of space,” but taller occupants may find their knees “brushing the front seat backs.”
Boot space is also impressive. The car has 521 litres of room when the rear row of seats is in place and 1,810 when they’re down, the website says.
On the road, the Karoq “majors on comfort, refinement and convenience,” says Autocar. There’s a lot of “wheel travel” in the suspension, too, meaning that bumps and potholes are easily dealt with.
The SUV’s six-speed manual gearbox is “basically very good, but the shift action was notchier than expected”. You can spec an automatic DSG gearbox as an optional extra, which should smooth out shifts between gears.
Overall, Autocar says that the Karoq is a “very capable and well-rounded family car”, but doesn’t quite have the personality that made the Yeti so popular.
Price and release
Prices start at £20,875 for the base-level SE model, says Auto Express. The Karoq comes with LED tail lights, 17ins alloy wheels and dual-zone climate control.
The next level up is the SE L trim at £23,165, the magazine says. This is equipped with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system and keyless entry. The model also comes with Alcantara upholstery, as well as LED head and tail lights.
Range-topping models start at £27,110 and feature an upgraded infotainment system, a panoramic sunroom and leather seats.