09 Aug 2018 | 03.05 pm
Roadtest: Skoda Karoq
Family car that can double as a van
09 Aug 2018 | 03.05 pm
Skoda’s Karoq is a family SUV that can also double as a mini-van thanks to clever seating, writes Mark Gallivan
The very popular Skoda Yeti is no more. Taking its place is the Skoda Karoq, a more grown-up five-seater SUV that shares the Volkswagen platform that’s used in its Tiguan and SEAT Ateca cars.
There are seven Karoq models to choose from, with three petrol and four diesel engines available in manual, DSG auto and two or four-wheel-drive variants. The 1.5 TSI 150bhp version (€32,315) is the one to try if you’re driving under 10,000 miles a year and set on ditching diesel for a petrol engine.
Initial impressions of the Karoq’s exterior styling are of a smaller Skoda Kodiaq with five seats instead of seven. With its VW heritage, everything from the solid thud of the doors and quality paintwork finish suggests the Karoq should remain fresh looking after the first three years of ownership.
My test drive was in the most expensive Karoq – the Style 2.0-TDI DSG 4×4. The interior is top-drawer with plenty of storage space and cubbyholes, with intuitive controls that are very simple to use. The headroom is better than a Nissan Qashqai but rear seating is only comfortable for two adults.
I was impressed by Skoda’s optional VarioFlex system that enables the rear seats slide and recline and fold in a 50/50 configuration. The car’s smartest trick is that the rear seats can be removed entirely from the cabin, turning your small family SUV into mini-van, and expanding the existing 521-litres of luggage capacity to an outstanding 1,630-litres.
The test car came fitted with air conditioning, SatNav, a 9.2” colour touch screen, DAB, park distance control and rear camera, LED headlights, keyless entry, start and exit and tinted rear windows. Options included adaptive cruise control, lane assist, sunroof, the VarioFlex seating and wireless phone charger. The claimed fuel consumption for this model is 5.2L/100km: in testing the best I achieved was 6.2L, tumbling to 7.1L in city traffic.
Typically in a small SUV the rear visibility is only average, but in the Karoq it’s excellent. The Karoq also has plenty of power from the 2.0-TDI HP engine that pulls the Karoq’s 2,160 kilos with little fuss. While never as spirited as the SEAT Ateca, it does feel more brisk than the heavier VW Tiguan, putting the Czech somewhere in between both of them. It’s a highly competent offering, though it lacks the sparkle found in a similarly priced Mazda CX-5.
When driving through the gears, the Karoq is less fun than the Yeti and lacks the old car’s peppy personality. With the car’s packaging and engineering hard to fault, it’s a pity Skoda didn’t add more verve to the driving experience.
Model: Skoda Karoq Style 2.0-TDI
Price: €38,365 as tested (range starts from €27,715)
Top Speed: 195km/h
Road Tax: €280 per annum
Verdict: Impressive Yeti replacement is easy to admire, harder to love.