It’s not a “Yeti replacement,” they say.
The mid-size SUV market is about to get (yet) another contender, with the Skoda Karoq making its global debut today. Sitting beneath the larger Kodiaq in the lineup, the Karoq bears much resemblance to its bigger sibling, while offering the sort of great value and clever features we’ve come to love from Skoda, too.
With the measuring tapes recording a length of 4382mm, a width of 1841mm and a height of 1605mm, the Karoq fits in nicely within the segment it’s competing in, measuring up slightly smaller than the Volkswagen Tiguan it’s related to under the skin. Despite the dimensions, the Karoq offers up 521L of cargo space behind the rear seats, with up to 1630L available with the second-row of seats folded flat. Should that still not be sufficient, the rear seats can be removed in their entirety with the ‘VarioFlex’ seating system that allows the rear seats (three, separately) to be adjusted and removed, offering up 1810L of outright cargo room.
The exterior features a lot of inspiration from the bigger Kodiaq, with a four-eyed face and cascading Skoda grille dominating the fascia. A full-width lower air intake helps to emphasise the width of the Karoq, giving it a planted, visually-stable stance on the road. The profile of the Karoq shows off its smart wheels (ranging from 16” to 19” in diameter), along with the typically-clean side-along view that Skodas offer up, while the rear looks both unique, but still recognisable as a Skoda. The lights on either end are LED, with the typical “Czech crystal” references in both.
The cabin of the Karoq is a lot more significant, featuring a brand-first fully-digital instrument display (like Audi’s Virtual Cockpit), featuring four different display designs with unique information readouts and dial-sizes for each. A heated steering wheel sits ahead of that (optional), as well as keys that maintain set driver profiles and allow the Karoq to accommodate each driver individually. There’s front and rear seat heating, LED interior ambient lighting (with 10 selectable colours), four infotainment systems (screen sizes ranging from 6.5-inches to 9.2-inches), satellite navigation, WiFi hotspot availability, access to internet-based services (like driving data transfer, and real-time traffic info), as well as Skoda Connect app connectivity, which allows one to access important vehicle information, and even set the air-conditioning remotely.
Autonomous emergency braking, active cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, emergency assistance, forward-collision warning (with pedestrian detection), hill-start assist, lane-keep assist, driver-fatigue monitor and traffic sign recognition also feature in the Karoq, ensuring that driver assistance is on offer for the various markets that require them.
Five turbocharged engines will be offered with the Karoq in Europe, with only one being a familiar unit that’s been used in Skodas before. All engines feature automatic stop-start technology, kinetic energy harvesting brakes, and a choice between a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG automatic (except for the top-spec 140TDI, which is auto-only).The lineup begins with a 1.0-litre three-pot TSI engine, offering up 85kW & 175Nm, capable of hitting 100km/h from rest in just 10.6-seconds before topping-out at 187km/h. All this, while returning a fuel consumption figure of just 5.2L/100km.
Move up and you get a 1.5-litre TSI four-pot petrol, with 110kW/250Nm, with fuel consumption rated at 5.1L/100km thanks to its cylinder deactivation technology (turning it into a two-cylinder engine during light driving). The century sprint is completed in just 8.4-seconds, and tops out at 204km/h.
Three oilers join the lineup, developing 85kW/250Nm, 110kW/340Nm, and 140kW/400Nm at from 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre capacities (with the latter available in two states of tune). The century sprint times are clocked at 10.7-seconds, 8.9-seconds, and 7.8-seconds respectively, while fuel consumption ranges from 4.4L/100km all the way up to 5.3L/100km for the most powerful diesel.
All-wheel drive has been made available through the range, while it’s offered as standard on the top-spec diesel, and AWD cars come with a four-link rear-axel along with an optional ‘off road’ driving mode to further enhance the junior Skoda SUV’s abilities off sealed surfaces. An electric tailgate, electrically-retractable tow bar, and an electric parking brake are available as ‘Simply Clever’ features on the Karoq as well, making it a very interesting proposition indeed.
The Karoq is expected to make Oz landfall in the second quarter of next year, and has been confirmed to be offered as a 110TSI at launch (in front-wheel and all-wheel drive), while the 110TDI is likely but unconfirmed. The same status has been accorded to the range-topping 140TDI, which will likely be offered in the future. Australian Karoq SUVs will be fitted with generous levels of kit, like full-LED lights on either end, wheels up to 19-inches in size, adjustable driving dynamics, VarioFlex rear seats, and the fully-digital instrumentation. AEB will also come standard, along with smartphone mirroring for the infotainment systems.