Skoda Karoq review 2019

Find out more about the Skoda Karoq in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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4
Out of 5

Pros

  • - Great to drive
  • - Very practical
  • - Well-equipped

Cons

  • - Top-spec models are pricey
  • - Lacks the character of the Yeti
  • - Seat Ateca is better to drive
  • MPG

    40 - 62

  • CO2

    118 - 158 g/km

Model review

Skoda’s foray into the SUV segment started in 2009 with the Yeti – the Czech firm’s popular and quirky crossover, which helped inject some character into the market.

After eight hugely successful years on sale, the Yeti was replaced in 2017 by the Karoq. It’s essentially the baby sibling for the Kodiaq – Skoda’s seven-seat SUV.

Unveiled at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Karoq offers class-leading practicality, and is also Skoda’s most advanced car on sale thanks to its digital instrument cluster, as impressive touchscreen, Wi-Fi hotspot and access to bespoke online services.

Aside from the tech, Skoda ensured the Karoq remained true to the firm’s ‘Simply Clever’ mantra, with a hands-free tailgate featuring alongside sliding VarioFlex seats.

While some criticised the Karoq for not having the flair of the Yeti, it is still a hugely capable car that’s ideal for family duties thanks to its practical touches.

Latest model

The Karoq has not been on sale for long, so the car is yet to receive a facelift. However, Skoda has added a couple of new trim levels in that time.

The first of these is Sportline, which acts as the line-up’s most sporty version, although admittedly only where looks are concerned.

Sportline features 19-inch alloy wheels, alongside new front and rear bumpers to give the model a more performance-inspired profile. As you might expect, it’s littered with badges reminding you of its sporty character, and a number of trim level-specific paint finishes are offered. Skoda has recently unveiled a genuinely sporty vRS variant of its larger Kodiaq, so the Karoq could get this treatment in time. But for now, the Sportline will have to do.

The second trim level introduced is Scout – Skoda’s reasonably well-established rugged trim level and style. It features permanent off-road as standard, a chunkier bodykit with additional skidplates, silver accents on the front and rear bumpers, and a large amount of plastic cladding.

Value for money

Skoda is no longer the cheap brand it used to be; so many of its cars now command quite high prices and justifiably so too, given their improvements on the previous offerings from the brand.

Prices for the Karoq start from £21,940, which makes it more expensive than key rivals from Kia, Nissan and Seat.

That said, you get an impressive amount of kit fitted as standard. This includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers, dual-zone climate control and emergency braking to name but a few of the features. Higher spec models are perhaps a touch expensive, but the amount of kit they have on offer just about justifies their top end prices.

While you’ll find used Skoda Yetis from as little as £3,500, we’re focusing purely on the Karoq here.

As the Karoq only went on the used market at the very end of 2017, you’ll find that prices have remained high. This is also helped by quite a long waiting list to buy a new Karoq, too. Used prices start from around £18,000, which will get you an entry-level SE model fitted with the basic 1.0-litre petrol engine, albeit with hardly 1,000 miles on the clock. SE L models hold their value well, and typically start from around £20,500.

It’s the range-topping Edition model that most people are after, with these models commanding upwards of £25,000 on the used market at the time of writing.

As Scout and Sportline models have only just gone on sale, you’ll struggle to pick these up on the used market.

Looks and image

As we’ve already mentioned, the Karoq can’t quite match the Yeti’s character, but it’s still an attractive-looking SUV. While the Yeti had styling somewhat different from the rest of the Skoda range, the Karoq very much adopts the same look as the Kodiaq and Octavia. It’s still a sharp-looking car, with standard fit LED daytime running lights and rear lights helping to lift the Karoq’s image.

On the inside, it’s as you would expect from a modern Skoda – a cabin that’s well-built and packed with kit, but one that’s undoubtedly very reserved in design.

That said, the Karoq comes with plenty of tech. This includes a large eight-inch touchscreen (upgraded to a 9.2-inch screen on range-topping Edition models), optional Virtual Cockpit and other nifty features you wouldn’t expect to find in a crossover – an umbrella, for example. The quality is excellent, too; it certainly has a more premium interior than its sister car from the VW Group, the Seat Ateca.

Sportline and Scout trim levels also come with slightly different interiors, with the Scout being tailored towards ruggedness and the Sportline more towards a sportier feel, as its name would suggest.

The Karoq also impresses with its driving dynamics. As it’s based on the larger Kodiaq - which is a great car to be behind the wheel of—it was inevitable that the Karoq was going to impress in this area, too. It has accurate and sharp steering, while the body lean is remarkably well-controlled for a high-riding crossover.

It’s not the best car in its class to drive, but that’s only because the Karoq majors on comfort which means you get a lovely soft ride that handles bumps and potholes impressively well, even when fitted with the larger 19-inch alloy wheels fitted to all top spec models.

Space and practicality

If you’re on the hunt for a practical compact crossover, there are few better choices than the Karoq.

Rear space is impressive, with the Karoq’s high roofline providing passengers with plenty of headroom, even on cars fitted with the panoramic glass roof. Legroom in the back is ever so slightly lacking, meaning that taller adults may struggle to get comfortable in the back.

The Karoq also has a huge boot for a car of this class. In its standard guise, it offers 521 litres of luggage space, which is class-leading. What’s better is that SE L models and upwards (minus Sportline) come with a practical system known as VarioFlex; essentially sliding rear seats that allow you to increase boot space or rear seat space, depending on your preference.

This means that boot space varies between 479 and 588 litres. Fold the rear seats down, and the space increases to an impressive 1,810 litres, which rivals some SUVs from the class above.

Towing capacity varies between 1,500kg and 2,000kg, depending on the engine you have fitted. The torquey 2.0-litre diesel unit is the one to go for if you need to tow on a regular basis.

And the Karoq’s dominance continues on the safety front, too. The car’s standard safety tech arsenal includes autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and also a system that can sense if a driver is fatigued. Range-topping Edition models come laden with safety kit – including equipment such as lane-keep assist, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert to help spot vehicles and pedestrians when reversing out of parking spaces, and traffic sign recognition. It was this wash of safety kit that meant safety testers Euro NCAP awarded the Karoq a five-star safety rating, with particular praise for the model’s adult protection.

Engines

A range of petrol and diesel engines are available in the Karoq, which should suit most tastes.

On the diesel front, there’s the option of a 1.6-or 2.0-litre TDI. The 1.6-litre produces 113bhp, and comes with the option of a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed DSG transmission. The 2.0-litre is a 148bhp unit which allows the car to accelerate from 0-60mph in 8.5 seconds. You can only have this engine with four-wheel-drive, while all other petrol and diesel engines are solely available with front-wheel-drive.

The petrol units available include the entry-level 1.0-litre turbocharged TSI unit, which delivers 113bhp. It can manage 0-60mph in 10.6 seconds and is the option to go for if you spend most of your time driving in towns and cities. The 148bhp turbocharged 1.5-litre unit is the quickest in the range, and can achieve 0-60mph in 8.2 seconds, and comes with the option of manual or DSG automatic transmissions.

A range-topping 187bhp 2.0-litre TSI petrol unit is also available in Sportline versions.

Running costs

The Karoq can’t deliver class-leading fuel economy, but most of the engines are efficient. Even the thirstiest petrol engine – the 1.5-litre – can achieve a claimed 51.4mpg, with CO2 emissions of 125g/km. The 1.6-litre diesel is the cleanest engine in the line-up, and can return up to 64.2mpg, with CO2 emissions of 117g/km. The 2.0-litre TDI manages a respectable 55.4mpg, and would be more efficient if it didn’t have to be paired with four-wheel-drive.

Running costs are also competitive against rivals, and vary between groups nine and 15, depending on trim level and engine. This should mean it’s cheaper to insure than the best-selling Nissan Qashqai.

Things to look for

Skoda has built up a fantastic reputation for its cars’ reliability, while the firm’s main dealer network frequently appears towards the top of the list in owner satisfaction surveys.

The Karoq itself is a bit too new to appear in reliability surveys, but if it follows the same trend as the Kodiaq, it should perform well. It also uses tried-and-tested Volkswagen Group engines and it’s worth remembering that all Karoqs will be covered under manufacturer warranty until at least the end of 2020, providing they have less than 60,000 miles on the clock.

Rivals

The Karoq has a number of key rivals, such is the crossover class’s importance on the new car market. Its closest rival is probably its sibling product – the Seat Ateca – but other important competitors include the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Renault Kadjar and Nissan Qashqai.

Depreciation

The Karoq has so far held onto its value well, while experts have also predicted that the Karoq will have good residual values, following in the footsteps of the Yeti. Expect to get a good saving on list price on nearly-new models as well.

Which Karoq to Pick

Cheapest to Buy When New

1.0 TSI SE 5dr

Most MPG

1.6 TDI SE 5dr

Fastest Model (0-60)

1.5 TSI Sport Line 5dr

Summary

  1. Excellent standard equipment levels
  2. Biggest boot in its class
  3. An excellent range of trim levels and engines to choose from
  4. Well-priced…
  5. Although top-spec models are expensive
  6. Great to drive
  7. Comfortable ride
  8. Affordable running costs
  9. Five-star safety rating
  10. Quite simply one of the best crossovers on sale

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