Skoda Karoq – understated and very classy

One of the complaints I hear most about VAG products is that they all look the same. Well you can certainly spot the lineage in some design cues and shared use of parts. However they do have distinctly different characters and of course pricing structures.

Having recently sampled a couple of Skoda models they do stand out as offering the best of the VAG qualities, while maintaining their own persona.

The first of my sample cars was what Skoda say is their mid-size SUV, the Karoq. A creative thinking session from the Czech firm’s marketing department came up with the name which is a combination of the Karaaq and Ruq, native American words for car and arrow.

The Karoq is a nicely understated vehicle with an element of class, indeed I was accosted twice by other motorists to enquire about the car with favourable comments. It happens with luxury or premium cars I have been driving but rarely with ‘ordinary’ fare.

Prices for the Karoq start at €25,151 (£22,765) and peak at €40,908 (£37,030) with six trim levels, two petrol engines and one diesel engine with two power outputs. As ever with VAG you have a choice of manual gears or the automatic DSG box. There is a four-wheel-drive option in all bar one trim level.

Standard across the range are such features as powered, heated, auto dimming and folding door mirrors, privacy glass, front fog lights, dual zone climate control, cruise control, auto lights and wipers plus rear parking sensors.

My SE Drive test model adds some decorative niceties but perhaps more importantly navigation, Bluetooth, front parking sensors and a rear view camera. At €994 (£900) extra it’s arguably a sensible starting point to the range.

The two petrol engines are a sprightly 3-cylinder 1.0-litre or 4-cylinder 1.5 litre at 115PS and 150PS respectively. The 1.5-litre powering my test car is probably the most versatile if you do a fair few miles on longer runs, it has that bit more power and performance range. It’s a smooth and refined drive aided massively by having a very comfortable ride that isn’t at the expense of a yacht-like ride on twisting roads.

Comfortable, understated and classy probably best sums up the Karoq. It’s a delight to drive and feels considerably more than its price tag suggests. Standard equipment could be better but even with options it remains an immensely attractive package.

Facts at a Glance

  • Model: Skoda Karoq SE Drive
  • Engine: 1.5-litre, turbocharged, 4-cylinder, Gasolina/Petrol
  • Gears: 6-Speed manual
  • Performance: 0-100 kmh (62 mph) 8.9 seconds/Maximum Speed 203 kmh (126 mph)
  • Economy: 6.3 l/100km (44.8 mpg) Combined driving. WLTP
  • Emissions: 143 g/km WLTP

Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.

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