The Skoda Karoq is a serious SUV, with a focus on value for money and practicality over the swankier styling of its Audi and VW stablemates
Words by Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto-Trader
Remember when Skoda was the butt of everyone’s jokes (“What do you call a convertible Skoda? A skip” etc etc)? Well it’s been years since anyone cracked a joke about this brand now owned by VW Group, and that’s because Skoda cars are essentially cheaper versions of their Audi, Seat and VW counterparts. So more bang for your buck and the car brand of discerning buyers. The Karoq is Skoda’s take on the VW Tiguan and Seat Ateca, which are essentially the same car: a mid-sized SUV. Plus, you get an umbrella and removable torch in the Karoq. Win.
The Skoda Karoq is a serious SUV, with a focus on value for money and practicality over the swankier styling of its Audi and VW stablemates. The external design is succinct, compact and restrained, and the same on the inside, where dark fabric and plastic surfaces meld. It’s slightly smaller than the VW Tiguan, as if to provide a reason for the lower pricing. Inside, if you covered up the Skoda badge on the steering wheel, you could just as easily be in a VW, with the same buttons and layout on the dash.
We tested the SE L trim, which is above the basic SE level. You’ll need it for satnav and a wifi hotspot, although you need to rise to the top Edition trim for wireless charging and a bigger screen size. SE L also gives you a subscription-based online infotainment app with live news, traffics and weather feeds.
The standard, base spec gives you a small touchscreen, and smartphone connectivity for Apple and Android. The standard infotainment system is VW’s which has a very clear display and reveals more functions on screen as your finger approaches.
The Karoq doesn’t have the high seating position of a Range Rover, but neither does it have the sometimes overwhelming size – instead this is a fine balance between height and usability, perfect for the school run, small office carparks and shopping. There’s plenty of visibility and light all round, which is handy for drivers and young passengers.
Our test car had 1.5-litre bottle holders in the front doors, chrome roof rails, foldable tables on the front seat backrests, an illuminated and cooled glovebox, heated front seats, privacy glass, a removable LED torch in the boot and an umbrella under the passenger seat.
We tested the 1.5-litre TSI engine which is their petrol engine with 150 horsepower, alongside a six-speed manual gearbox. Don’t go for the 1.0-litre petrol – it’s just not enough power for an SUV. The diesel engines will only be right for you if you do high mileage or long journeys – short journeys from cold kill diesels. The 1.5 TSI will do 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds which is reasonable and you should get about 38mpg.
Our test car came in at £27,550, which included lane assist with blind-spot warning (£920), spare wheel (£150) and electrically operated boot (£500). The range starts at £22,240 and rises to over £30,000. If you’re not a badge snob, but still want the feel of a VW inside, a Skoda is a wise choice.