Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI

150ps Edition

Skoda Karoq, dynamic 2
Skoda Karoq, dynamic
Skoda Karoq, front quarter
Skoda Karoq, rear quarter
Skoda Karoq, interior
Skoda Karoq, interior rear
Skoda Karoq, boot

LIKE many other marques Skoda is expanding its SUV line-up as fast as it can in order to take advantage of the seemingly insatiable demand for high-riding cars that have a little bit of the rugged outdoors about them.

The latest is the Karoq, which sits below the larger Kodiaq in Skoda's SUV line-up.

Of course Skoda is no stranger to the market, having dipped its toe in the water with the offbeat and rather likeable Yeti.

In fact the Karoq is the Yeti's replacement and while it might not have its predecessor's quirky character it has a lot going for it.

One of the advantages of being part of a large group like Volkswagen is that platforms and technology can be shared.

The Karoq is therefore Skoda's take on a model that's also produced by Volkswagen and SEAT in the shape of the Tiguan and the Ateca.

Despite the Volkswagen group sharing thing, the Ateca, Karoq and Tiguan fall some quite considerable way short of being cloes of each other.

Each manage to exude their respective brand identity and Skoda in particular sets its model apart by nature of its practicality, versatility and little touches that go the extra mile.

In terms of practicality and versatility it has an amazingly well thought-out seating set-up on higher specification versions.

The little extras are things like an LED torch in the boot, an umbrella under the front seats, an ice scraper in the fuel cap and ‘curry' hooks in the boot.

Such little things aren't a big deal at the end of the day but all are immensely useful and welcome when the occasion demands.

The Karoq has familiar SUV-styling but there are enough brand flourishes, particularly the front end, to help it stand out as a Skoda. That Skoda nose has quite a distinguished look to it.

The fact it is a compact rather than a large SUV means it carries off what is basically a boxy design blueprint rather well.

Karoq customers get plenty of choice, with three equipment grades and a range of engines.

There are SE, SE L, Edition and SE Technology versions and the option of 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesel units and 1.0 and 1.5-litre petrol engines.

Once upon a time diesel would probably have been first choice for most buyers but with the emergence of more efficient and frugal petrol engines - combined the general decline in diesel popularity - I imagine most customers will now plump for one of the petrols.

The 1.0-litre unit is a capable enough performer but this car had the larger 1.5 TSI engine.

It delivers impressive performance combined with amazing economy - an official combined cycle figure of more than 50mpg.

It's also smooth and refined and for customers moving away from diesel for the first time would be the perfect choice.

On the inside the Karoq certainly does not disappoint.

This Edition model sits higher up the range and as such has a fairly premium feel to it but equipment levels are more than generous throughout the range.

An eight-inch touchscreen is standard but Edition models have a larger 9.2-inch one, which looked and felt super modern and gave this car a distinctly opulent feel.

This car also came with a lengthy list of impressive features which included leather upholstery, a leather multi-function steering wheel, a Columbus sat-nav system, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and start/stop, cruise control, electrically operated boot, automatic headlight control and safety features like blind spot detection and rear traffic alert.

That seating set-up versatility comes via Skoda's clever varioflex rear seats.

All three rear seats are separate and can be individually adjusted - or completely removed to create a whopping 1,810 litres of carrying capacity.

To drive the Karoq felt noticeably pleasant. The ride was comfortable and it seemed to go around corners with ease, thanks to dynamics which are distinctly more car-like than SUV-like.

For all its merits, and there are many, the only thing I wasn't quite sure about were those curry/takeaway hooks in the boot.

I even invited the manager of my local Indian restaurant out to have a look at them - thinking he would be impressed.

He remained suitably unconvinced and reckoned there would still be a substantial risk of serious spillage.

FAST FACTS

Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI 150ps Edition

Price: £27,705

Mechanical: 150ps, 1,498cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:126mph

0-62mph: 8.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 51.4

Insurance Group: 16

C02 emissions: 125g/km

Bik rating: 26%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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