Mid-size SUV of the Year 2018: Skoda Karoq
Skoda is on a roll, and the Karoq is proof that the Czech brand knows exactly what it’s doing in the field of family SUVs.
Skoda is on a roll, and the Karoq is proof that the Czech brand knows exactly what it’s doing in the field of family SUVs. The manufacturer has confidently followed up the excellent seven-seat Kodiaq with another class-leading crossover, distilling what made its large SUV such a success into a more compact and affordable package.
The appeal of the Karoq is much the same as that of its bigger brother. This is a no-nonsense mid-size SUV that does the basics brilliantly. While that means it doesn’t quite boast the wow factor of some of the Karoq’s more flamboyant rivals, the Skoda is a winner for value, refinement, practicality and tech, thanks to its excellent and intuitive infotainment options. As an all-round proposition it makes great sense.
The quirks of the old Skoda Yeti that used to occupy this space in the market have been replaced by a more grown-up and modern-feeling approach with the Karoq.
Its MQB platform underpinnings ensure it’s good to drive, with comfort and composure on offer. That is matched by performance and efficiency thanks to the choice of modern turbocharged petrol and diesel engines that are familiar from elsewhere in the VW Group range.
At the top end of the line-up, the 148bhp 2.0-litre TDI Karoq is equipped with all-wheel drive and comes with a special off-road driving mode. However, it’s the 1.5-litre four-cylinder 148bhp TSI petrol unit that impresses the most. It boasts a solid spread of torque, great refinement and cylinder deactivation technology to help improve fuel efficiency.
Those benefits are bolstered by excellent usability – a trait any family SUV has to nail. The Karoq offers up to 588 litres of boot space with the seats up, which expands to 1,810 litres when they’re folded, while there’s lots of leg and headroom in the back of the car.
Factor in Skoda’s trademark Simply Clever touches, and this mid-size crossover should slot into family life seamlessly. It’s the most convincing offering in this class, which is why it scoops our award this year.
Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI SE (£22,230)
Developments in petrol technology mean that Skoda’s 1.5-litre TSI engine suits the Karoq’s character perfectly. The 148bhp four-cylinder turbo is our choice because it serves up smooth performance and never feels strained. The unit balances this with fair fuel economy, with claims of up to 52.3mpg. Basic SE spec is generous enough, with an eight-inch colour touchscreen featuring CarPlay and Android Auto, cruise control, rear parking sensors and 17-inch alloys.
The Peugeot 3008 won this category last year and is still an immensely commendable car, and a more eye-catching alternative to the straight-laced Karoq, thanks to its distinctive design inside and out. It’s also slightly more practical, because of its 591-litre boot. But the Skoda beats it for value, versatility, performance and comfort.
As this sector begins to saturate, Toyota’s C-HR gains a commendation in 2018 for injecting a bit of excitement into a derivative class. The vibrant design and sharp driving characteristics make the Toyota one of the more lively crossovers out there, while an efficient hybrid powertrain option offers something most of its rivals don’t.
Auto Express New Car Awards 2018
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- 1IntroductionWhat are the best new cars to buy in the UK today? The 2018 New Car Awards have the answer...
- 2Car of the YearThe Auto Express Car of the Year for 2018 is the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace
- 3City Car of the YearThe Volkswagen up! is the 2018 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Kia Picanto and Skoda Citigo commended
- 4Supermini of the YearThe Ford Fiesta is the 2018 Auto Express Supermini of the Year, with the MINI 5-door and SEAT Ibiza commended
- 5Convertible of the YearThe MINI Convertible is the 2018 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the Audi A3 Cabriolet and Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet commended
- 6Compact Family Car of the YearThe Volkswagen Golf is the 2018 Auto Express Compact Family Car of the Year, with the Mercedes A-Class and Skoda Octavia commended
- 7Family Car of the YearThe Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport is the 2018 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Skoda Superb and Toyota Prius commended
- 8Compact Executive Car of the YearThe Mercedes C-Class is the 2018 Auto Express Compact Executive Car of the Year, with the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Jaguar XE commended
- 9Executive Car of the YearThe BMW 5 Series is the 2018 Auto Express Executive Car of the Year, with the Mercedes E-Class and Volvo S90 commended
- 10Estate Car of the YearThe Skoda Octavia Estate is the 2018 Auto Express Estate Car of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series Touring and Volvo V60 commended
- 11Small SUV of the YearThe Citroen C3 Aircross is the 2018 Auto Express Small SUV of the Year, with the SEAT Arona and Volkswagen T-Roc commended
- 12Mid-size SUV of the Year - currently readingSkoda is on a roll, and the Karoq is proof that the Czech brand knows exactly what it’s doing in the field of family SUVs.
- 13Large SUV of the YearThe Skoda Kodiaq is the 2018 Auto Express Large SUV of the Year, with the Peugeot 5008 and SsangYong Rexton commended
- 14Small Premium SUV of the YearThe Volvo XC40 is the 2018 Auto Express Small Premium SUV of the Year, with the BMW X1 and MINI Countryman commended
- 15Mid-size Premium SUV of the YearThe BMW X3 is the 2018 Auto Express Premium Mid-size SUV of the Year, with the Jaguar F-Pace and Volvo XC60 commended
- 16Large Premium SUV of the YearThe Land Rover Discovery is the 2018 Auto Express Premium SUV of the Year, with the Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover commended
- 17MPV of the YearThe Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer is the 2018 Auto Express MPV of the Year, with the Renault Grand Scenic and SEAT Alhambra commended
- 18Roadster of the YearThe Mazda MX-5 is the 2018 Auto Express Roadster of the Year, with the McLaren 570S Spider and Porsche 718 Boxster commended
- 19Coupe of the YearThe Lexus LC is the 2018 Auto Express Coupe of the Year, with the Audi A5 and Porsche 718 Cayman commended
- 20Hot Hatch of the YearThe Honda Civic Type R is the 2018 Auto Express Hot Hatch of the Year, with the Ford Fiesta ST and Hyundai i30 N commended
- 21Performance Car of the YearThe Porsche 911 GT3 is the 2018 Auto Express Performance Car of the Year, with the Aston Martin Vantage and BMW M5 commended
- 22Luxury Car of the YearThe Mercedes S-Class is the 2018 Auto Express Luxury Car of the Year, with the Bentley Continental GT and Porsche Panamera commended
- 23Affordable Electric Car of the YearThe Hyundai Kona Electric is the 2018 Auto Express Affordable Electric Car of the Year, with the Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-Golf commended
- 24Premium Electric Car of the YearThe Jaguar I-Pace is the 2018 Auto Express Premium Electric Car of the Year, with the BMW i3 and Tesla Model S commended
- 25Affordable Hybrid Car of the YearThe Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in is the 2018 Auto Express Affordable Hybrid Car of the Year, with the MINI Countryman and Toyota Prius commended
- 26Premium Hybrid Car of the YearThe Volvo XC60 T8 Twin Engine is the 2018 Auto Express Premium Hybrid Car of the Year, with the BMW 530e and Range Rover Plug-in commended
- 27Pick-up of the YearThe Mitsubishi L200 is the 2018 Auto Express Pick-up of the Year, with the Ford Ranger and Mercedes X-Class commended
- 28Van of the YearThe Mercedes Sprinter is the 2018 Auto Express Van of the Year, with the Ford Transit Custom and Volkswagen Crafter commended
- 29Technology AwardThe Nissan Leaf wins the Auto Express 2018 Technology Award for its bi-directional charging
- 30Social Media Campaign of the YearJeep's 'Set your own course' has won the 2018 Social Media Campaign of the Year
- 31Car Advertising Campaign of the YearVolkswagen's 'Born Confident' advert for the new T-Roc has won the 2018 integrated advertising campaign awarC
- 32Driver Power AwardLexus has scooped the 2018 Driver Power Award after taking the customer satisfaction survey by storm once again
- 33Design AwardWe asked you what your favourite car design is for 2018, and the Aston Martin Vantage has taken the crown
- 34Anniversary Awards – Auto Express, evo and OctaneWe celebrate 30 years of Auto Express, 20 years of evo and 15 years of Octane with our special Anniversary Awards