Whether you want a SUV-styled urban runabout or fully functioning 4x4 to take you off the beaten track there’s a model in the Karoq range to suit your needs, this broad spectrum of ability built on typical Skoda foundations of value for money, practicality and reliability.
The days of bargain-basement Skodas are long gone and the Karoq is priced on par with most of its major rivals. What’s more, Skoda dealers are notoriously hard-nosed when it comes to dishing out discounts and used Skoda SUVs are highly sought after. On the other hand, as depreciation is the biggest single running cost that new car buyers face, this is certainly a feather in the Karoq’s hat.
As far as fuel consumption goes the Karoq is a heavy car so take the official figures with a pinch of salt, especially in the smaller-engined petrol models. Consequently, if economy is one of your prime concerns, then you’ll be better off sticking with a diesel, though company drivers will need to consider the Benefit In Kind surcharge, while four-wheel drive versions are considerably worse for CO2 than the front-wheel drive ones.
Expert rating: 5/5
Reliability of a Skoda Karoq
The Karoq is a brand-new model, so at this stage it’s difficult to gauge just how reliable it will be in the long term. On the positive side, Skoda as a company has consistently performed well for reliability in customer satisfaction surveys, and the Karoq shares plenty of its mechanical parts with a whole host of tried-and-tested Skoda models. The Karoq comes with the usual warranty cover of three years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first, so if anything major does fail during that time, you shouldn’t be the one footing the bill. At purchase you can extend this to four or five years for an extra fee.
Expert rating: 5/5
Safety for a Skoda Karoq
Like its Kodiaq big brother, the Karoq benefits from the latest VW Group safety technology, with seven airbags standard on all models, as is 'front assist' capable of braking the automatically at town speeds if a hazard should appear. The more expensive models also benefit from blind-spot-detection with rear-traffic-alert and lane-keep-assist, which will steer you back on course, if you start to drift from your lane. These models also have high-beam-assist, which automatically dips the lights if another car is coming towards you. These items are also available on more basic Karoqs as extra-cost options and, even then, only versions with the DSG automatic gearbox get the full range of driver assistance functionality. Front and rear parking sensors are standard on all but the most basic model.
Expert rating: 4/5
How comfortable is the Skoda Karoq
For the most part, the Karoq is an extremely comfortable car. On a straight, evenly surfaced road it has a plush, easy-going ride but it does mean it rolls about in the corners a fair bit, which might cause queasiness for those in the back. The more powerful 4x4 models actually cope a lot better, because they are fitted with more sophisticated rear suspension. The steering is quite light, so it’s ideal for low-speed driving around town and for carrying out hasty parking manoeuvres, but conversely, it can feel a wee bit too light at motorway speeds.
There’s also a wide range of adjustment on the driver's seat and steering wheel, and that should allow almost everyone to adopt a comfortable driving position and get a good view of the road ahead, However, the pedals are slightly offset to one side, so you can find yourself sitting at a wee bit of angle.
Basic Karoqs have a rear bench that's fixed in place, but with seat backs that split 60/40 and fold flat to help accommodate longer loads. However, on SE models and above, you get the more versatile 'Varioflex' system with three individual seats that can be moved back and forth or reclined for improved comfort. However, the middle seat is much narrower than the other two, so if you get stuck there, you’ll definitely feel like you’ve drawn the short straw. The Karoq also comes with a pair of trays on the front seat backs, which are sure to be a hit with the kids, and neat little touches like a LED torch in the boot and an umbrella stored under the front passenger seat.
Expert rating: 4/5
Features of the Skoda Karoq
You’ll pay a pretty penny for a Karoq, but you do get a fair bit of kit for your money. The entry-level model comes with all the usual phone connectivity, dual-zone climate control, cruise control and rear parking sensors. If you want the removable rear seats you’ll need to step up a level, which will also give you an 8.0-inch touch-screen complete with sat-nav. Mid-level SE L seems to have most of the stuff you’d actually want in a car like this without breaking the bank, anything beyond this adding toys and styling upgrades that are nice to have but not essential in functionality terms. Tech fans will have to reach into their pockets if they want the fancy ‘Virtual Cockpit’, this replacing conventional dials with a configurable digital display while the fanciest infotainment with the biggest screen and gesture control is an expensive option on all but the very top level.
Expert rating: 4/5
Power for a Skoda Karoq
Smaller SUVs can get away with petrol engines but the Karoq really represents the point where more muscular diesel engines make a bit more sense. If, however, you live life your life around town or on the school run the basic petrol is fine if a little unrefined, the bigger 1.5-litre more desirable if you can stretch to it. There are two diesel engines, the bigger of which is available in two power outputs though the highest is only available with four-wheel drive and the automatic DSG gearbox so comes at a cost. This transmission is smooth once under way and easier in traffic but can be a little jerky and slow to respond, especially in parking manoeuvres. From a driver’s perspective the 150 horsepower, 2.0-litre diesel with the manual gearbox and two-wheel drive is probably the best balance of performance and running costs, especially if you’re likely to be travelling longer distances.