Anyone that knows me will tell you I’m not really one to follow fashion. Pretty much every scrap of clothing I own is selected purely for its comfort rather than any aesthetic quality, and most of them are several years old and full of holes. Indeed, m’colleague Phill Tromans put it rather nicely the other day when he said: “You’re very loyal to your clothes, aren’t you?”
This complete and utter disregard for fashion means I don’t really get why the car-buying public seem to be absolutely obsessed with SUVs at the moment. You see, it’s their off-roader-esque styling that makes them so ridiculously popular, but most of them don’t have four-wheel drive or hill descent control or anything like that, so the styling is just for show. So – looks aside – what does your average SUV do that your average family hatchback doesn’t?
I figured the best way to find out was to spend an extended period of time with one, and obviously, I thought it wise to go for one of the best of the breed. The Skoda Karoq is still a relative newcomer to the compact SUV class, having replaced the extremely popular Yeti last year, but it has a level of all-round talent that few rivals can match.
This approach of trying to get into buyers’ minds also applies to our choice of engine. Since the world seems to hate diesel these days, we opted for a petrol, a rather nice 1.5 turbo with 150 horsepower and a combined fuel economy figure of around 52mpg. We also decided to stick with the six-speed manual gearbox rather than spend the extra on the seven-speed twin-clutch automatic (much to the annoyance of my missus, who loves an auto’).