Skoda Karoq revealed

as Yeti successor

Skoda Karoq, 2017, world premiere
Skoda Karoq, 2017, world premiere with Bernhard Maier, Skoda chief executive
Skoda Karoq front threequarter
Skoda Karoq, 2017, DSG gear lever
Skoda Karoq, 2017, display screen
Skoda Yeti SE L Drive

DESPITE its rather boxy-shaped body and at times somewhat quirky interior Skoda's small family Sports Utility Vehicle, the Yeti, has become a firm favourite with buyers in the UK since it first appeared back in 2009.

A subsequent 2013 facelift further enhanced its appeal and in its own way the Yeti has perhaps in an unfashionably manner been a significant sales winner for the Czech car maker.

But all that is about to change. Come this Autumn an all-new successor arrives and the Yeti name will be no more, which undoubtedly will disappoint some regular Skoda fans.

The new model is called the Karoq and Skoda bosses are confident it will increase further their presence in the small family SUV sector, currently one of the fastest growing parts of the new car market.

But when deliveries start next January the five-seater Karoq will be up against some formidable opposition, notably Nissan's top-selling Qashqai, Renault's Kadjar and Skoda's own in-house VW Group contender, the recently launched SEAT Ateca.

Karl Neuhold, the Karoq's exterior design chief, believes that his team having spent the past four years working "from literally a clean, white sheet of paper" have come up with a model that looks different to all the others.

"We had to have a design look that was clean with sculptured body lines and an overall shape that was bold, imaginative that gave the car a masculine look and a true identity of its own," he told me at the Karoq's international unveiling in Stockholm.

"It still had to have the true Skoda DNA in its make up with that dominant nose at the front and horiztonal lines running around the car."

In terms of outside looks there is definitely no trace of the Yeti and the Karoq is 160mm longer, 50mm wider and has a 60mm longer wheelbase. It's identical to the Ateca, both being built on the same platform and coming from the same Skoda factory in the Czech Republic.

Naturally, with Skoda part of the Volkswagen family, the Karoq shares much of its technology, engines and mechanical underpinnings with others in the VW Group and that gives it a head start and saves on development costs.

At launch there will be a choice of five engines, two petrol and three diesels, again all well proven from the VW stable.

Entry-level will see the 1.0-litre three-cylinder 113bhp petrol engine with 175Nm of torque and CO2 of 117g/km and the other petrol will be a 1.5-litre four cylinder 148bhp unit with 250 Nm of torque and CO2 of 119g/km.

The diesels will start with the 1.6-litre 113bhp with 250Nm of torque and a CO2 output of 118g/km. Next up will be a 2.0-litre 148bhp version with 340Nm of torque and CO2 of 115g/km and it's that version which Skoda expects to be most popular in Britain.

The only engine being offered with 4WD is a 2.0-litre 228bhp diesel with 400Nm of torque and emissions of 138 g/km and it will be offered with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

All the front-wheel-drive versions will have as standard a six-speed manual gearbox, again from the VW workshops.

At the unveiling of the Karoq Skoda chief executive Bernhard Maier told the audience that further Karoq variants, such as SportLine and Scout would follow including by 2019 Skoda's first PHEV plug-in hybrid.

Drivers who like to drive Skoda's vRS-tyle sports versions won't be disappointed either and in due course such a derivative will be added to the Karoq line-up.

Key to it all is how much the new Karoq will cost and with more than six months to go before it arrives in the showrooms Skoda has yet to confirm prices.

However, it's likely the Karoq will have a starting price of around £18,000 for the 1.0-litre entry-level version. The current entry-level price for the Qashqai is £18,995 and for the Ateca it's £18,150.

Taking a quick glimpse of the interior of the new Karoq it certainly impresses, far better than the loveable Yeti with a centrally but high positioned and easy to use infotainment system.

Skoda chiefs say there will four different interior options available with the entry-level lversion having a 6.5-inch screen that has DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity while for the first time in a Skoda, the VW group's digital instrument panel will be part of the package.

Most first-timers looking inside the new Karoq will spot how much more passenger space there is, noticeably in the rear seats so Skoda's backroom team have used that extra body length and width of the car to good advantage.

Boot space is 521 litres but folding the rears seats down increases space to 1,630 litres and one natty versatile space option to be offered will be a VarioFlex seating set up where all three rear seats can be removed individually giving a total load space of 1,810 litres - bigger than many a van.

Wheel sizes will be 17, 18 and 19-inch rims and there will be a good amount of safety features available.

So while Yeti fans may mourn the passing of their model the all-new Karoq will be a different ball game, as they say, and offer much more for families particulary those looking for a versatile all-rounder.


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