ONE of Skoda's best sellers has been given a makeover to ensure its popularity remains high.
The Skoda Karoq was introduced in 2017 following the successful launch of its bigger brother the Kodiaq.
And while the two models are not dissimilar in styling the Karoq is designed to appeal to SUV buyers who don't need the bulk or can't stretch to the extra cost of the larger car.
At first glance the changes marking the second generation Karoq are not all that obvious, but look closer and you will soon spot the differences which make the new version look that much sharper, that much more appealing.
The body-coloured front bumper has now been restyled and there's a new look to the grille which is now larger and hexagonal in shape and has a wide air intake underneath.
And to set the whole thing off the headlights are now much narrower and extend all the way to the grille while the daylight running lights too have been re-designed and there is now a more imposing four-light cluster instead of the previous two with full LED lighting.
There are changes at the rear too with a longer rear spoiler and an updated rear apron with a black diffuser.
Somewhat surprisingly the changes to the spoiler plus the addition of what are called aerodynamically optimised alloy wheels with black plastic Aero trim improve the car's aerodynamics by more than nine per cent, which in turn lowers the CO2 emissions.
What hasn't changed is the Karoq's impressive all round ability to impress.
The 1.5-litre engine in the SE L model is sharp and lively at low speed while also being impressively refined and quiet at motorway speeds in sixth gear with very little engine noise at all.
And when you lift off gently with your right foot to cruise along sedately the car goes into two cylinder mode temporarily so only half of the engine is working, helping to save fuel.
The high stance of this SUV means good all round vision and despite its height it still corners enthusiastically at speed with little body roll.
Space on board is generous making it an ideal family car and there are a lot of nice touches for family travel including picnic trays on the backs of the front seats and plenty of interior storage spaces, including a very useful chilled glovebox for the summer.
And while there is generous luggage space beneath the rear tailgate there's also plenty of flexibility as the split rear seats can be moved backwards or forwards individually to create more luggage space or more passenger legroom.
Microsuede upholstery adds a nice up-market feel to the interior and the heated front seats hold you firmly in place thanks to well-designed side bolsters. There's also a heated steering wheel.
In the centre of the dashboard there's an eight inch touchscreen for onboard features as well as European mapping on the satellite navigation system. Sensibly physical dials have been retained for the heating system as well as an actual on/off button and volume control for the radio making life easier when on the move - unlike with some car makers which have switched to on-screen sliders.
Given such sensible planning I'm surprised that the speedometer has been designed with white figures on a pale grey background, making it almost impossible at times in sunshine to discover what speed you are doing.