Skoda Karoq review
The Skoda Karoq condenses the considerable appeal of the seven-seat Kodiaq into a smaller crossover package
In a crowded mid-size SUV marketplace, the Skoda Karoq offers what matters most for family buyers: useful practicality, decent comfort and good levels of standard kit all wrapped up in a competitively priced package. It might be a little plain looking, but it offers a smart and sophisticated image that sits well with its pragmatic ability to soak up the rigours of day-to-day life.
You won't find a hybrid model in the lineup, which may deter some, but the Karoq still provides strong fuel economy from its petrol and diesel engines along with low running costs, while reliability and safety standards are excellent - particularly reassuring for the target family buyer.
About the Skoda Karoq
Skoda scored an instant hit with the Yeti, so when it came to replace its first-ever SUV 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-size crossover into line with the larger Kodiaq, while the Karoq name has the same Inuit Eskimo roots as the Kodiaq's.
The Karoq's design was 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.
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Used car tests
The Ateca is just one of a number of strong contenders in the mid-size SUV class. The Nissan Qashqai is now in its third generation and continues to be a best-seller in the UK. The new Renault Austral shares the same platform as the Nissan, and both of these models feature hybrid powertrains, unlike the Karoq.
Then there's the Hyundai Tucson which we named as the best mid-size SUV in both our 2021 and 2022 Auto Express New Car Awards. The Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Ford Kuga, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Volkswage Tiguan also have their own strong points but, overall, the Karoq has a sufficiently good mix of talents to keep up with its large number of rivals.
A minor facelift in 2022 saw the introduction of a wider, more upright grille, with redesigned bumpers and light clusters, while Skoda has added smoother underbody cladding, an extended rear spoiler and aero covers for the alloy wheels to help improve aerodynamic efficiency. There are also some new paint colours and interior trims for buyers to choose from.
Engine choice in the Karoq range consists of 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0-litre TSI turbocharged petrols and 2.0 TDI diesels, while the 1.6 TDI has been removed from the price list. The 108bhp 1.0 TSI is a three-cylinder unit that is surprisingly capable of pulling this crossover around, courtesy of the Karoq's relatively lightweight build. The 148bhp 1.5 TSI combines good power with decent efficiency, which is helped in part by cylinder deactivation technology. The 187bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine is reserved for the range-topping Sportline variant.
Diesel power comes from 114bhp and 148bhp variants of the 2.0 TDI unit. The former is only available as a two-wheel-drive version, while specifying the latter means you can opt for a four-wheel-drive set-up. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard in most cases, while the seven-speed twin-clutch DSG auto is offered as an option.
You can get behind the wheel of an entry-level petrol Karoq for around £27,500 with the range topping out at around £38,000. As part of the Karoq’s facelift in 2022, Skoda simplified trim levels for the Karoq to include SE Drive, SE L and Sportline. Standard kit includes 17-inch alloys, rear privacy glass, cruise control, dual-zone climate control and an 8-inch touchscreen with integrated sat-nav. while top-spec cars add bigger 18-inch alloys, an electrically operated tailgate, a panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel and sports seats. A Scout variant with rugged off-road inspired trim was available when the Karoq was originally launched, but this was discontinued in 2020.
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In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Skoda Karoq condenses the considerable appeal of the seven-seat Kodiaq into a smaller crossover package
- 2Engines, performance and driveThere are sportier SUVs, but the Skoda Karoq strikes a pleasing balance between comfort and driving fun
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsThe Skoda Karoq won’t break the bank, but it’s not top of the class for running costs
- 4Interior, design and technologyConservative but appealing design wraps a suitably advanced technical package that’s practical, too
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceA big boot, roomy cabin and clever touches make the Karoq a great family choice
- 6Reliability and safetyVW Group parts-sharing and safety tech should provide reassurance for Skoda Karoq owners