Skoda Karoq: UK specs and prices

Key spec differences separate UK Skoda Karoqs from those on sale elsewhere. We find out why

We do certain things differently in the UK. From driving on the left-hand side of the road to our love of tech and gadgets, as well as practicality, Brits make for picky car buyers. So if you’re a manufacturer and want your new model to succeed here, you’d better have made some adjustments to suit our roads, as well as the driving and passenger habits UK motorists have.

Skoda has done just that with the new Karoq. To find out how the Czech company has fine-tuned the SUV to suit the UK market, we spent time with James Snowden, Skoda UK’s product marketing manager.

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“The factory will prepare for us a base car and we will then decide what enhancements or additions we want to make,” Snowden explained. “So different markets will have a different take on the car. You’ll obviously get some overlap, but there will be unique points in the different markets, including the UK.” For example, Edition trim for the Karoq has been specially designed for the UK. “We looked at the Kodiaq and saw that 50 per cent of buyers went for the Edition model, so we continued this with the Karoq,” said Snowden. “The Edition is a special trim for UK.”

This top-of-the range specification includes 19-inch wheels as standard, plus a bigger 9.2-inch infotainment system complete with gesture control, and a panoramic roof and ambient lighting, on top of other kit.

“We started out looking at the SE L and saw that a lot of people were adding premium features as options,” Snowden added. “We were keen to add value for our buyers, so we created the Edition trim that has many of the popular options included. Of course, the purchase price of the Edition trim is lower than if you were to buy the SE L with the same options.”

The reason Skoda created the Edition trim for the UK is partly down to the way Brits buy cars today. “What makes the UK market different is the prevalence of car finance here,” Snowden said. “Around 80 per cent of new cars are bought on finance, so there is a lot more focus on residual values compared to other countries, like the Czech Republic, where buyers more often buy with cash and keep the cars for longer.”

He explained that Skoda had consulted with various finance experts to understand which options increase a car’s value at the end of a finance contract. The theory is that the stronger the residual values, the lower the monthly payments are on a typical personal contract purchase (PCP) deal.

“This is partly why we’ve got things like 19-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic roof and a bigger infotainment system as standard on the Edition model,” Snowden told us. “We know these help with used values.”

But you don’t have to go for the range-topping spec to benefit from Skoda’s consideration of UK buyers with the Karoq. Many of the neat boot features, including the magnetic LED torch, boot hooks and two-sided floor mat with a rubber finish on one side, come as standard in the Karoq. “We also made the decision to include the table trays behind the two front seats as standard for UK buyers,” Snowden explained. “Other markets don’t have these features as standard but we decided to do so for the UK.”

So, while the Karoq you drive was built far away at the Mlada Boleslav factory in the Czech Republic, it’s been made with buyers here firmly in mind.

Buying your car on a finance deal? Read our guide to help save money…

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