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Karoq has Skoda’s recipe for success but not Yeti’s standout character

PUBLISHED: 11:30 24 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:30 24 February 2018

Skoda Karoq compact SUV is decent to drive, well equipped and has a great interior. Pictures: Skoda

Skoda Karoq compact SUV is decent to drive, well equipped and has a great interior. Pictures: Skoda

Skoda

The Skoda Karoq enters the fray of a crowded and talented compact crossover market – Tom Wiltshire puts it to the test.

Skoda Karoq is stylish but doesn't stand out like the Yeti it replaces. Picture: Skoda Skoda Karoq is stylish but doesn't stand out like the Yeti it replaces. Picture: Skoda

The Skoda Karoq compact crossover replaces the Czech brand’s quirky, but brilliant Yeti, and incorporates the best the Volkswagen Group has to offer.

It has all the ingredients for success – a practical, comfortable interior, sharp but discreet styling and good engines as it aims to mirror the success of the bigger Kodiaq.

The Karoq is an all-new car for Skoda, using new underpinnings shared with many Volkswagen Group vehicles so the oily bits are well proven.

Smart fascia is part of a great interior. Picture: Skoda Smart fascia is part of a great interior. Picture: Skoda

Under the bonnet

The turbo line-up comprises 115PS 1.0-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel and 150PS 1.5-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel, the latter with four-wheel drive, and all with six-speed manual and seven-speed automatic gearboxes.

The smooth, refined 2.0 TDI is expected to be popular with enough power for easy overtaking. The test car’s DSG auto transmission shifted quickly on the open road but sometimes lagged at slow speeds.

VarioFlex seating sees sliding rear seats to vary boot space and legroom. Picture: Skoda VarioFlex seating sees sliding rear seats to vary boot space and legroom. Picture: Skoda

How it drives

It’s clearly a quality product with a reassuring solidity.

Skoda has tuned the Karoq differently to its SEAT Ateca sibling though, aiming for comfort rather than dynamic ability.

The four-wheel drive offers safe, steady handling, sticking to the road through corners with body roll well controlled.

It not a lot of fun but the trade-off is the ride, compliant in town, cushioned once cruising.

Looks and image

The Yeti’s standout looks were a talking point but the Karoq blends in, with a generic silhouette, broken up by Skoda’s sharp styling lines, and looks every bit the Kodiaq’s smaller brother.

As for the Skoda badge, any perception it’s just Volkswagen’s poor sibling has gone.

Space and comfort

The interior is roomy, premium, clever and likely to be a hit with families.

There’s comfortable room for four six-footers and, with the VarioFlex system – standard on SE L and Edition, optional on SE and SE Technology – rear seats slide and recline individually to balance boot space and legroom. Boot space ranges from 479 to 588 litres and a maximum 1,810 litres if you go as far as removing the seats.

Equipment

All models come decently equipped, with entry-level SE models offering 17in alloy wheels, autonomous emergency braking, automatic lights and wipers, rear parking sensors, cruise control, dual-zone climate control and touchscreen connectivity.

Edition trim, which tops the current range, gets LED lights, 19in alloys and leather upholstery but isn’t such a bargain as models lower-spec models.

Final say

The Karoq is decent to drive, well equipped and has a great interior but it’s lost the element of quirky originality that characterised its Yeti predecessor and doesn’t stand out from the crowd as much as it could have.

SPEC AND TECH

Price: Skoda Karoq 2.0-litre TDI 4x4 Edition £30,390; auto £31,690 (range from £20,875)

Engine: 1,968cc, 150PS, four-cylinder turbo diesel

Performance: 0-60mph 8.4 seconds (auto 9.0 seconds); top speed 121mph

MPG: 56.5 (auto 54.3)

CO2 emissions: 132g/km (auto 138g/km)

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