Skoda Karoq SE L 1.5

TSI DSG

Skoda Karoq, on rocks static
Skoda Karoq, front in lane
Skoda Karoq, front action
Skoda Karoq, front action 2
Skoda Karoq, side static
Skoda Karoq, 2018, rear, action
Skoda Karoq, 2018, rear, action, lane
Skoda Karoq, dashboard
Skoda Karoq, 2018, boot

ANY new entrant into the rapidly expanding compact SUV market has to stand out to make headway in a crowded sector.

And what better manufacturer to create such an entrant as Skoda?

The rags to riches story of Skoda over the past few decades is now a motoring legend.

It leapt to fame after transforming from a run-down Czechoslovakian brand with a poor record of build quality and dubious reliability to an icon of everyday premium quality motoring.

This was achieved when the Volkswagen Audi Group acquired the brand and pumped in its expertise and sky-high standards to create one of the best brands in family motoring and a worthy running mate for its own long-established brands.

And the latest compact SUV contender is the Karoq, a name with roots in Alutiiq tribe of Alaska.

Built at the company's state-of-the-art factory Kvasiny in the Czech Republic, Karoq shares the facility with the top of the range Superb models and the Kodiaq SUV.

It replaced the popular Yeti and substituted the former's rather quirky looks with a more conservative but elegant style.

Karoq has a vast amount to offer and a tremendous choice of models.

Three core equipment grades are available - SE, SE L and Edition - with an additional SE Technology model aimed specifically at the fleet market.

There is a choice of 1.6 and 2.0 litre diesels and 1.0 and 1.5-litre petrol engines.

Subject of the test is 1.5-litre petrol, a relatively new unit recently introduced first the Golf.

With the anti-diesel lobby at full chat, VW Group expects much from this engine and I am convinced that its confidence is justified in what is expected to be the biggest seller of the Karoq range.

Bearing in mind that this is a petrol engine, the Combined economy readout of 51.4 on the DSG version is encouraging to say the least.

With healthy torque of 250Nm of torque from just 1,500rpm it is surprisingly punchy with a 0-62mph sprint time of 8.4 seconds, with a maximum speed of 126mph.

With quality materials dominating the passenger cabin and more than enough room for five, this particular trim level offers Skoda's clever varioflex rear seats, which provide a new perspective of practicality.

All three rear seats are separate and can be individually adjusted - or completely removed to create a maximum load volume of 1,810 litres. With the centre seat removed, the outer ones can also shift sideways to boost space and shoulder room for two rear passengers.

And Skoda, ever willing to offer more, throws in a detachable LED torch in the boot, an umbrella under the front passenger seat and an ice scraper in the fuel flap.

FAST FACTS

Skoda Karoq SE L 1.5 TSI DSG

Price: £25,820

Mechanical: 150ps, 1,498cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 126mph

0-62mph: 8.6 seconds

Combined MPG:50.4

Insurance Group: 15

C02 emissions: 127g/km

Bik rating: 26%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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