Road test by Mark Slack: Skoda Karoq – a bit of an automotive gem

Road test by Mark Slack: Skoda Karoq - a bit of an automotive gem. Image - Skoda

In an increasingly environmentally aware age, there’s a view that any SUV is a petrol or diesel guzzling monster. Which does tend to queer the pitch for all SUVs. In reality, the truth is rather different and while there are high-powered, not so frugal SUVs there are plenty that easily dispel the aforementioned myth. One being Skoda’s smart and sophisticated Karoq.

It’s a medium-size SUV that has all the benefits of being part of the Volkswagen Audi group but some typically clever and thoughtful Skoda touches. The range starts from just €30,605/£26,255, which by today’s standards is affordable, especially given the standard equipment that comes in the Karoq.

The lead-in model comes with dual-zone climate, cruise, navigation, powered, heated, folding and dimming door mirrors, rear privacy glass, LED lights, front fog lights, rear parking sensors, auto lights and wipers, lumbar support on the front seats, Apple Car Play and Android auto plus Bluetooth. Neat touches include neat brackets that attach the rear of the front headrests to hold a tablet, portable rubbish bins in the door pockets and a secreted umbrella in case the weather catches you out. A feature even Rolls-Royce adopt!

With three trim levels, four engines in differing power outputs and a choice of manual or automatic gears and all-wheel-drive there’s lots of choice. My entry-level SE Drive model came with the 1.0 TSi, 3-cylinder, turbocharged engine developing 110PS. With late forties mpg and 132 g/km emissions it does dispel the theory that all SUVs are eco-monsters. It’s quite a feat that such a large vehicle can be successfully propelled by a 1.0-litre engine.

Performance is adequate rather than exciting but is well-targeted and apart from the fact that you sometimes need to use the gears more it really isn’t an issue. The 6-speed manual transmission has a smooth and slick change and everything is mechanically very refined. Ride quality and steering are good and although you wouldn’t expect it to be as sporty as a SEAT or Audi it’s better than you might imagine.

It’s also very comfortable and has a classy interior that belies the entry price point. With more than enough space for family, active or otherwise, and an upmarket rather than the usual aggressive look that seems to come as standard with many SUVs the Skoda Karoq is a bit of an automotive gem.

Facts at a Glance

Model: Skoda Karoq SE Drive

Engine: 1.0-litre TSi 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol

Gears: 6-Speed manual

Performance: 0-100 kmh (62 mph) 11.2 seconds/Maximum Speed 189 kmh (118 mph)

Economy: 5.8l/100km (48.7 mpg) Combined driving (WLTP)

Emissions: 132 g/km (WLTP)

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


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