Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Skoda Karoq review

The Skoda Karoq condenses the appeal of the seven-seat Kodiaq into a smaller crossover package

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Price
£21,885 to £35,060
  • Flexible seating
  • Practical and good value
  • Refined and fairly hi-tech
  • Conservative exterior
  • Interior lacks pizazz
  • Not the most entertaining to drive

Skoda scored an instant hit with the Yeti, so when it came to replace the crossover, it was a surprise to many that the name was dropped and replaced with Karoq. The reason for the change was to bring the mid-sized crossover into line with the larger Kodiaq, while the Karoq name has the same Inuit Eskimo roots as the Kodiaq's.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The Karoq's design is also heavily influenced by the Kodiaq. The shape of the lights front and rear are similar to the larger car, and Skoda's familiar grille shape is present and correct. However, remove these details, and the Karoq looks largely similar to the SEAT Ateca, although that should come as no surprise, as both cars are identical underneath.

The Ateca is just one of a number of strong contenders in the compact SUV class. Elsewhere, the Peugeot 3008 is one of our class favourites, while the Vauxhall Grandland X shares running gear with that model, too. The class founder, the Nissan Qashqai, recently had a facelift, while the Renault Kadjar is built on the same platform, but is very slightly larger inside. Then there's the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Ford Kuga, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and VW Tiguan, all of which have their own strong points. But overall, the Karoq has a good mix of talents to place it at the front of the pack.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Engine choice in the Karoq range consists of 1.0, 1.5 TSI and 2.0-litre turbocharged petrols and 1.6 and 2.0 TDI diesels. The 1.0 TSI 115PS is a three-cylinder unit that is surprisingly capable of pulling this crossover around, courtesy of the Karoq's relatively lightweight build. The 1.5 TSI 150PS is the VW Group's latest four-cylinder petrol motor, so combines good power with decent efficiency helped in part by cylinder deactivation on light throttle loads. The 187bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine is reserved for the expensive if smart-looking Sportline variant, though.

• Best crossovers on sale right now

The diesels are a 1.6 TDI 115PS, a 2.0 TDI 150PS and the 2.0 TDI 190PS. The 2.0 TDI 150PS is offered with both two- and four-wheel-drive transmissions across most trim levels, while the 2.0 TDI 190PS comes with four-wheel drive only. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard in most cases while a seven-speed twin-clutch DSG auto is offered as an option with every engine.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The Karoq model range kicks off with SE trim, but this entry point to the range is still decently equipped. There are 17-inch alloys, a DAB radio, Bluetooth and dual-zone climate control, while SE Drive adds adaptive cruise control, sat-nav and rear parking sensors for a premium of around £800 over SE. In the Karoq SE L you get an eight-inch touchscreen with sat-nav and reversing camera, Alcantara heated front seats and the clever VarioFlex sliding rear-seat system to boost usability.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

If you’re looking for a bit more luxury, the Karoq Edition brings 19-inch alloys, a larger 9.2-inch touchscreen with gesture control, leather upholstery and a panoramic sunroof, while the Karoq Scout and Sportline versions add rugged 4x4 looks or a sportier appearance respectively, plus standard four-wheel drive on all Scout models and decent levels of kit across both trims.

Engines, performance and drive

There are sportier SUVs, but the Skoda Karoq strikes a pleasing balance between comfort and driving fun

Under the skin, the Skoda Karoq uses a tried-and-tested recipe, combining the VW Group’s MQB underpinnings (with MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam rear axle on 2WD versions, while 4x4 cars have a multilink set-up) that also forms the basis of the Kodiaq and many other models in the Czech brand’s line-up, highlighting its versatility.

Advertisement - Article continues below

On the move, the Skoda feels sharper than the Peugeot 3008. The steering is nicely weighted and more responsive – and it’s more agile, with less roll when changing direction. This stems from the Karoq’s firmer suspension, but the downside is that you’ll feel more body and wheel movements than in the 3008, which smooths out poor surfaces nicely. However, the Karoq isn't as firm as the SEAT Ateca sister model.

The faster you go, the more the Karoq’s body control comes to the fore, though, giving plenty of security and confidence. The more energy you put through the springs and dampers, the more the ride quality calms down, but because these SUVs are likely to spend lots of time in town, the lumpier feeling from the Skoda’s suspension over broken surfaces just takes the edge off the car’s otherwise impressive refinement. However, it’s only marginally less supple than a 3008.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

It's worth noting the ride takes a turn for the worse if you go for the Sportline model. Adding 19-inch alloys to what is a fairly compliant family SUV causes it to develop unwelcome jiggliness over uneven A and B roads, and causes some annoying harmonics to present themselves over concrete sections of motorway. There's no denying the Sportline model looks the part, though, and it's also fair to say the Karoq is not alone in having its ride adversely affected by larger alloys.

Engines

Of the two petrol engines, the larger 1.5 TSI comes out as our clear favourite, although the smaller 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine performs pretty well, too. The entry-level TSI unit makes a respectable 113bhp, and while it will accelerate the Karoq from 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds, it feels a little strained at higher speeds or when fully laden. It means that when accelerating hard, you can feel and hear the work the little engine is having to put in, as the noise becomes somewhat intrusive and there’s a small amount of vibration present through the pedals.

The larger 1.5 TSI has a broader power band, and with 148bhp it’s a stronger performer and more refined – 0 to 62mph arrives in 8.9 seconds (or 9.0 seconds with the DSG twin-clutch auto option), and you don’t have to work the engine quite so hard. 

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The smallest 1.6-litre TDI turbodiesel makes the same 113bhp as the entry-level petrol, but has more torque, so it doesn’t feel quite as strained when you need a bit of grunt, although it too can be noisy when stretched. It manages the 0-62mph sprint in 11.0 seconds (or 11.2 seconds with the DSG fitted).

The 2.0-litre TDI has 148bhp, and knocks off the benchmark sprint in 9.0 seconds, as well as offering a lot more punch for overtaking. This will help if you’re intending to tow as well.

Opt for the Sportline model and as well as the 148bhp petrol and diesel engines, you can also have 2.0-litre 187bhp petrol unit. Sportline is the only trim with which you can get this engine – the most powerful in the Karoq range – and while a circa £32,000 list price means this configuration is by no means cheap, a 7.3-second 0-62mph time means it certainly shifts.

MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

The Skoda Karoq won’t break the bank, but it’s not top of the class

Aside from the relative practicality, one of the Karoq’s great attractions is the combination of fashionable SUV style with manageable running costs. Apart from a small fuel economy penalty, these cars shouldn’t cost more to run than a comparable hatchback.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The Karoq’s petrol engines look attractive from a cost point of view too, as they’re pretty efficient and cheaper to buy than the diesels you might typically associate with the SUV genre.

The Karoq’s engines aren’t class-leading for economy, but they’re still among the most efficient in the sector. The 1.0 TSI can return up to a claimed 44.8mpg combined while emitting only 117g/km of CO2. The larger 1.5 TSI’s official figures are the same or similar thanks to the inclusion of cylinder deactivation tech, with fuel economy of 44.8mpg (42.8mpg with the DSG auto) and CO2 emissions of 118g/km (120g/km with DSG).

If you really do want to eke the best mileage out of every gallon, the 1.6 diesel is the best choice. It returns up to 52.3mpg with the DSG auto gearbox emitting as little as 114/km. The 2.0-litre 4x4 diesels aren’t quite as good, offering up to 42.2mpg and 137g/km – however, this is respectable for a four-wheel drive SUV with a larger diesel engine.

Advertisement - Article continues below

If you’re a business user, the 1.0-litre TSI looks favourite, with a Benefit-in-Kind tax rating of 27 per cent, meaning this will be the cheapest option for company car users.

Insurance groups

You won’t pay too much for insurance with any of the Karoq models, but the lower spec versions are obviously cheaper, with the smaller petrol and diesel engines attracting a Group 10 rating. The 1.5 petrol and 2.0 diesel are Group 14 and 16 respectively, and premiums across the range should be cheaper than the Peugeot 3008 which is Group 11 to 24, helped by strong safety tech.

Depreciation

Skoda is known for solid residual values, so we expect the Karoq should do better than some of its Korean or French rivals.

Interior, design and technology

Conservative but appealing design wraps a suitably advanced technical but also practical package

While the Yeti design was arguably more characterful than the Karoq, this model has a broader range of talents. It’s a mature design, and while it lacks any flashes of stylistic flair it does have a solid, almost premium appeal.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

At a glance, there’s not much to separate it from the bigger seven-seat Kodiaq, with a very similar grille and headlamp design, the same ridge up the centre of the bonnet, and a similar side profile set with chunky wheelarches. The rear lights are the biggest difference at the rear, and despite variations in details such as intake shapes in the lower bumpers, even car enthusiasts could be forgiven for a little difficulty in telling the two models apart. Park them side-by-side, and the Kodiaq’s extra length stands out, but it’s wider and taller too.

There’s only one five-door body variant for the Karoq, as with the Kodiaq, and while the Karoq only offers five seats it can be specified with the same VarioFlex adjustable rear bench as the Kodiaq that allows you to alter the amount of passenger legroom or boot space depending on your needs.

Inside, the Karoq cabin design is identical to that of the bigger Kodiaq, which means it’s conservative with no flashy or fashionable design highlights. But it’s also incredibly functional, with great ergonomics, plenty of space and a sense of quality. It feels well built, while it’s also stacked with tech features.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

Built-in sat-nav isn’t as big a deal as it used to be in this class, especially when all Karoq models get a good level of smartphone connectivity, offering navigation through your phone on the standard eight-inch screen.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The level of connection is improved with the 9.2-inch optional Columbus system, which is standard on Edition models and above and offered as an option on SE L. While this adds gesture control, the standard Amundsen system gets the same WiFi hotspot, voice control and a one-year subscription to Skoda’s online services.

You can add features such as wireless phone charging for £300 to improve the technology on offer with the Karoq, but they’re not really necessary because the core of the system is what makes the Skoda’s unit so capable. 

A bright screen, sharp graphics and simple menu layout mean it’s easy to use. The glossy screen picks up fingerprints, but with CarPlay and Android Auto, plus other services with a valid data connection, it’s advanced and more responsive than the Peugeot 3008’s infotainment.

Practicality, comfort and boot space

Big boot, roomy cabin and clever touches make the Karoq a great family choice

On the road, a hushed cabin that’s marred only a little by wind noise around the door pillars at higher speeds and a little too much engine noise under hard acceleration in entry level cars goes hand-in-hand with a supple ride to make the Karoq a comfortable SUV. Throw in the supportive seats, roomy cabin, well laid out controls and high quality fit and finish, not to mention plenty of gadgets and toys on top versions, and it’s an impressive effort.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The large interior with its voluminous boot is well suited to family use, and there are a range of options you can add that will make life a little easier. Cabin features include a large Jumbo Box for gadgets and drinks that sits between the front seats, and there are plenty of storage spaces dotted around, plus foldable tables in the backs of both front seats.

Things like a space-saver spare, rough road package with engine and chassis guards, a reversing camera and adaptive cruise control are all either standard or available optionally to improve how easy the Karoq is to live with.

Size

The Karoq is noticeably bigger than its predecessor, the Yeti, and measures 4,382mm long, 1,841mm wide and 1,603mm tall. That compares with the 4,447mm length of the Peugeot 3008, or 4,394mm of the Nissan Qashqai, so it’s pretty much on par with its rivals. 

Leg room, head room & passenger space

There’s good leg and headroom in any of the seats in the Skoda Karoq – in fact the rear-seat passengers do slightly better for headroom than those in back of the larger Kodiaq. Taller rear seat passengers may find their knees brushing on the seat backs though.

Boot

Depending on spec the Karoq’s tailgate raises electrically, and there’s a ‘virtual pedal’ that allows you to open it with the waggle of a foot under the rear bumper if your hands are full. Once it’s open you’re greeted by an impressive load area, that’s practically shaped and roomy. In standard form it will swallow 521 litres with the rear seats in place, or a huge 1,810 litres when they’re folded. Opt for the VarioFlex rear seats and you can adjust the ‘seats up’ figure from between 479 to 588 litres – although more luggage space means less legroom. 

Reliability and Safety

VW Group parts-sharing and safety tech should provide reassurance for Skoda Karoq owners

As it’s based on the VW Group MQB platform the Skoda Karoq shares its underpinnings with a huge number of cars from the Audi, SEAT, Skoda and VW stables. The list includes names from the Audi A3 to the VW Touran, with almost two dozen different models either in production or in the pipeline.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

All of which means that the Karoq’s engineering and technology is already very well-proven, and that bodes very well for the model’s likely reliability. As a marque, Skoda regularly puts in an extremely good performance in our own Driver Power survey. The Czech car maker finished fifth overall out of 30 manufacturers in our 2020 Driver Power brand survey, while the Karoq itself finished a creditable 15th out of 100 in the owner satisfaction survey.

Euro NCAP has already performed independent crash tests on the Karoq, awarding a full five-star rating and a great score for adult occupant safety at 93 per cent. Child occupant safety came in at an impressive 79 per cent, but the Karoq isn’t top of its class.

There’s a full range of the latest safety measures available as you would expect, and most of it’s fitted as standard to the top spec Karoq Edition which comes with traffic sign recognition, lane assistance, cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring, as well autonomous braking that’s standard across the range.

Warranty

A three-year/60,000-mile warranty is standard, which is standard for the industry. However, rivals such as Toyota, Renault, Hyundai and Kia offer more extensive coverage.

Servicing

The Skoda Karoq requires annual servicing unless you do mainly long-distance motorway driving, in which case the intervals can be extended – onboard computers tell you by how much while the brand’s servicing packs are relatively affordable when bought up front.

For an alternative review of the latest Skoda Karoq SUV visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk

Advertisement

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 TSI SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £21,885

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.0 TSI SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £21,885

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 TSI [190] Sport Line 4x4 5dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £32,390
Advertisement

More on Karoq

Show me:
Facelifted Skoda Karoq spied ahead of late 2020 debut
Skoda Karoq
16 Jun 2020

Facelifted Skoda Karoq spied ahead of late 2020 debut

The updated model will go on sale later this year, sporting a handful of styling and technology tweaks
Ford Kuga vs Toyota RAV4 vs Skoda Karoq
Ford Kuga
6 Jun 2020

Ford Kuga vs Toyota RAV4 vs Skoda Karoq

The all-new Ford Kuga has landed. Can it make an impact against the Skoda Karoq and Toyota RAV4?
Best SUVs to buy 2020
best SUVs header
SUVs
12 Mar 2020

Best SUVs to buy 2020

We name the top 10 best SUVs and 4x4s you can buy on the new car market today
Advertisement
MG HS vs Skoda Karoq
MG HS
10 Mar 2020

MG HS vs Skoda Karoq

The new value-for-money MG HS looks to make a splash in the mid-size SUV market. We test it against the Skoda Karoq
Mazda CX-30 vs Skoda Karoq
Mazda CX-30 vs Skoda Karoq - head-to-head
Mazda CX-30
18 Jan 2020

Mazda CX-30 vs Skoda Karoq

The Mazda CX-30 fills a gap in the brand’s SUV line-up. We see if it hits the compact SUV jackpot against the Skoda Karoq
SsangYong Korando vs Skoda Karoq
SsangYong Korando vs Skoda Karoq - header
SsangYong Korando
5 Nov 2019

SsangYong Korando vs Skoda Karoq

Once a left-field choice, the new SsangYong Korando has mainstream competitors such as the Skoda Karoq in its sights
Skoda Karoq and Kodiaq SUVs updated for 2020
Skoda Kodiaq SUV
18 Jul 2019

Skoda Karoq and Kodiaq SUVs updated for 2020

Skoda has revised its Karoq and Kodiaq, with a handful of styling, drivetrain and technology updates
New Skoda Karoq Velo concept car for cyclists has its own washing machine
Skoda Karoq Velo - front tracking
Skoda Karoq SUV
10 Jun 2019

New Skoda Karoq Velo concept car for cyclists has its own washing machine

Skoda Karoq Velo is a concept version of the Karoq SUV, designed with cyclists in mind, with a built-in washing machine and pressure washer
Renault Kadjar vs Skoda Karoq vs Peugeot 3008
renault kadjar vs skoda karoq vs peugeot 3008 group test header
Renault Kadjar
6 Apr 2019

Renault Kadjar vs Skoda Karoq vs Peugeot 3008

Refreshed Renault Kadjar takes on the class-leading Skoda Karoq and popular Peugeot 3008 in family SUV showdown
Advertisement
Skoda Karoq SE L: long-term test review
skoda karoq long termer header
Skoda Karoq SUV
28 Feb 2019

Skoda Karoq SE L: long-term test review

Final report: Our versatile Skoda Karoq SUV has starred with all-round ability during time on fleet
Citroen C5 Aircross vs Kia Sportage vs Skoda Karoq
citroen c5 aircross vs kia sportage vs skoda karoq group test - header
Citroen C5 Aircross
16 Feb 2019

Citroen C5 Aircross vs Kia Sportage vs Skoda Karoq

We see if the chunky new Citroen C5 Aircross SUV can offer anything different from the Kia Sportage and Skoda Karoq
Advertisement
Nissan Qashqai vs Vauxhall Grandland X vs Skoda Karoq
nissan qashqai vs vauxhall grandland x vs skoda karoq header
Nissan Qashqai
9 Feb 2019

Nissan Qashqai vs Vauxhall Grandland X vs Skoda Karoq

Can the punchy new engine help Nissan's Qashqai regain its place at the top of the crossover pile as it faces Vauxhall and Skoda?
New Skoda Karoq Sportline 2019 review
Skoda Karoq Sportline - front tracking
Skoda Karoq SUV
30 Jan 2019

New Skoda Karoq Sportline 2019 review

Is the new Skoda Karoq Sportline just a warm Karoq or a fully fledged miniature Kodiaq vRS?
New Skoda Karoq Scout 2019 review
Skoda Karoq Scout - front action
Skoda Karoq SUV
11 Jan 2019

New Skoda Karoq Scout 2019 review

Can the new Skoda Karoq Scout recreate the appeal of its quirky predecessor, the Yeti?
Skoda Karoq - best family cars
Skoda Karoq - front action
Skoda Karoq SUV
9 Aug 2018

Skoda Karoq - best family cars

In a highly competitive class, the Karoq stands out as one of the best small SUVs for family motorists
Advertisement
New Skoda Karoq Sportline revealed ahead of Paris Motor Show
Skoda Karoq
2 Aug 2018

New Skoda Karoq Sportline revealed ahead of Paris Motor Show

Skoda's smallest SUV offering gets Sportline styling and a new 2.0-litre petrol engine
New Skoda Karoq Scout breaks cover ahead of Paris Motor Show
Skoda Karoq Scout front quarter
Skoda Karoq
31 Jul 2018

New Skoda Karoq Scout breaks cover ahead of Paris Motor Show

Skoda Karoq SUV gets the Scout treatment with three all-wheel-drive drivetrains and some off-road styling
Subaru XV vs Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross vs Skoda Karoq
Subaru XV vs Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross vs Skoda Karoq - header
Subaru XV
21 Apr 2018

Subaru XV vs Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross vs Skoda Karoq

Can the new Subaru XV and Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SUVs hold back the all-conquering Skoda Karoq?
New Skoda Karoq uncovered: the complete guide to Skoda’s new SUV
Skoda Karoq special
Skoda Karoq
9 Feb 2018

New Skoda Karoq uncovered: the complete guide to Skoda’s new SUV

Skoda’s new Karoq SUV is one of 2018’s most exciting new cars - our special feature charts its journey from concept to production
New Skoda Karoq SE Technology targets business users
Skoda Karoq
31 Jan 2018

New Skoda Karoq SE Technology targets business users

Czech car manufacturer Skoda has announced a new Karoq SUV trim configured to meet the needs of fleet users. SE Technology is its name
New Skoda Karoq 2.0 TDI 150 Edition review
Skoda Karoq - front
Skoda Karoq SUV
12 Jan 2018

New Skoda Karoq 2.0 TDI 150 Edition review

The flagship Skoda Karoq Edition is as lavish as the new SUV comes, but is it worth the extra money?
Advertisement
New Skoda Karoq 1.6 TDI diesel review
Skoda Karoq - front
Skoda Karoq SUV
3 Jan 2018

New Skoda Karoq 1.6 TDI diesel review

We drive the Skoda Karoq on UK roads for the first time in 1.6-litre diesel form
New Skoda Karoq 1.0 petrol 2017 review
Skoda Karoq - front
Skoda Karoq SUV
16 Oct 2017

New Skoda Karoq 1.0 petrol 2017 review

We try the new Skoda Karoq SUV with the brand's three-cylinder 1.0 TSI petrol unit