Karoq is Skoda's

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Skoda Karoq, 2017, side, action
Skoda Karoq, 2017, rear
Skoda Karoq, 2017, side, static
Skoda Karoq, 2017, front
Skoda Karoq, 2017, tail
Skoda Karoq, 2017, interior
Skoda Karoq, 2017, seats
Skoda Karoq, 2017, console
Skoda Karoq, 2017, switches
Skoda Karoq, 2017, display screen, off road mode
Skoda Karoq, 2017, display screen
Skoda Karoq, 2017, boot

A SECOND SUV is on the way from Skoda as the Czech car maker sets out to strengthen its presence in the booming crossover market.

This one is called the Karoq and it's Skoda's alternative to the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, the Peugeot 3008 and its sister-ship, the SEAT Ateca.

As part of its role within the Volkswagen Group, Skoda is building the Karoq alongside the Ateca at its factory in Kvasiny in the Czech Republic and both sit on the same platform as the VW Tiguan - so it has heavy duty credentials.

Replacing the Yeti in the Skoda line up, the Karoq will be on the road in the New Year, competitively priced from £20,875 for an SE model powered by VW's feisty 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine.

There's also a new 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine in the line up priced from £22,225 and two diesels, a 1.6-litre from £22,905 and a 2.0-litre with 150ps on tap and with four wheel drive starting at £25,505.

Semi-automatic DSG transmissions are available on all engines for an extra £1,300 which gives Skoda a strong hand in the medium-sized SUV market.

All come with dual zone air conditioning, fold-down picnic tables and rear seats that are fully adjustable - and removable - making the Karoq nicely family friendly with luggage space ranging from 479 to 1,810 litres.

There's also Skoda's practical add-ons such as an ice scraper housed inside the fuel filler flap, an LED torch in the boot, a cooler system in the glovebox and an umbrella stowed beneath the front passenger seat.

Call them quirks but they are all very sensible additions which no other car company offers and on the safety front driver fatigue monitors and automatic emergency braking are also standard.

Sat nav, an eight-inch touchscreen, Wi-Fi, LED headlights, a rear view camera and part-Alcantara seats are included in mid-grade SE L trim versions which cost from £23,165 while the range topping Karoq Edition sits on 19-inch alloys, comes with a 9.2-inch touchscreen and features extras such as lane departure and rear traffic alerts and a powered tailgate in its manifest for £27,110.

As such, the Karoq has a lot going for it and reaffirms Skoda's SUV status which began with the arrival of the larger Kodiaq earlier in the year.

Like the Kodiaq, the Karoq has an Alaskan flavour to its name - it stands for ‘car' and ‘arrow' (as in the Skoda badge) and comes from the language of the Alutiq tribe which is native to the region.

All four engines work well in the Karoq with the diesels offering the best economy with the 1.6 DSG version delivering an official 64.2mpg and emissions of 117g/km.

However, none are that thirsty and are rated in the low 50s to the gallon. Having tried them all the most impressive was the 2.0-litre diesel which even with its 4x4 set up averaged 46 to the gallon on our run - close enough to the official figures of 56.5mpg and 131g/km.

With the all-wheel-drive system the Karoq can tow up to two tonnes and with an off-road mode available at the touch of a button, hill descent control engaged via the touchscreen and a suite of all terrain instruments on hand, it is a competent performer away from the highway.

Where the Karoq impressed was with its ability to soak up bumps over poor surfaces and under all circumstances it is comfortable and surprisingly well composed for an SUV.

Acceleration times in the low eight seconds come from the 2.0-litre diesel and the 1.5 petrol engine - both delivering 150ps. The 1,6 diesel and the 1.0-litre TSI have 115ps on tap and that's reflected in 0 to 60 times of 10.4 and 10.3 seconds respectively.

Over similar terrain we saw average fuel returns of 48 to the gallon for the 1.6, 39 for the 1.5 and 38mpg for the 1.0-litre, and that one was fitted with the seven speed DSG box instead of the six-speed manual.

Variable drive modes were available on all but the 1.0-litre model we sampled and those give the Karoq extra bite if needed as well as optimising economy yet under whatever the engine the car was lacking little.

Inside, the Karoq is smartly finished, easy to drive and the dash is set off with the wide view touchscreen sitting above a bank of push button controls.

The Edition models with the bigger display screen and added kit are very classy for a car of this ilk and even with 4x4 and DSG transmission, tip the scales at £31,435.

Roomy and capable and very practical, the Karoq has much to commend it - even in such a crowded SUV market.

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