What is the Skoda Karoq?
The Karoq is a medium-sized five-seater family SUV, sharing many parts with the SEAT Ateca (as well as the slightly larger Volkswagen Tiguan). It's Skoda's bestselling SUV, but the larger seven-seat Kodiaq was actually the first to arrive following the older Yeti.
As such it sits below the Skoda Kodiaq and above the smaller Skoda Kamiq. Unsurprisingly there are many rival vehicles, including the Nissan Qashqai, Renault Kadjar, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage and Ford Kuga – not to mention the SEAT Ateca and VW Tiguan as well.
Being a mid-sized SUV, its appeal is that it's pretty much all things to all people. As a family car, the Karoq's large luggage area, comfortable ride and easy access make it an ideal choice. Competitive prices (list, personal lease and cash) are a further inducement, as is its chunky styling, and the promise (sometimes fulfilled) of go-anywhere ability.
- Top speed: 115-126mph
- 0-62mph: 8.8-11.1 seconds
- Fuel economy: 32.8-50.4mpg
- Emissions: 118-149g/km CO2
- Boot space: 479-1,810 litres
Which versions are available?
The Karoq is a simple, single body style kind of vehicle. If you aren’t after a five-door family-sized SUV, you’re looking at the wrong car here. However, it does come in a large number of trim levels, from basic SE to sexy Sportline (pictured below), with the sweet spot being somewhere in the middle in SEL form. There’s also a Scout version, which is an off-road pack for this off-roader. Strange, but true – and there are more details below.
Engine choice ranges from a 1.0-litre TSI turbo petrol engine with 115hp – a touch pushed to really haul this SUV along when loaded with passengers – through to a strong 190hp 2.0-litre TDI turbodiesel. The pick of the range as far as Parkers' reviewing team is concerned is the 1.5-litre TSI version, which is peppy, economical and reasonably refined.
Most models are available with an optional DSG automatic transmission, and several can be had with four-wheel drive as well as (perfectly adequate for UK road driving) front-wheel drive.
Rugged Skoda Karoq Scout version
The Scout takes your basic Karoq and beefs it up a bit with additional body cladding and standard-fit four-wheel drive. This really is little more than a styling exercise, however, as you can get a regular one with four-wheel drive, and it doesn’t get any additional ground clearance to improve its off-road performance.
For those who want to test its limited go-anywhere capability on a regular basis, then the Scout is definitely the model to have, even if it's just down to its slightly higher ride height.
Like the rest of the range, you get a choice of three engines – 150hp 1.5-litre TSI turbo petrol, plus 150hp and 190hp 2.0-litre TDI turbodiesels – and a bespoke Scout interior treatment. But don’t go thinking these variants will climb a mountain any better than the rest of the range.
Styling and engineering
You get the latest Czech face on a sharply-creased 4x4 body. So, it’s not going to get your pulse racing, but it’s unlikely to offend anyone, either.
It’s a similar story on the inside, where you’ll find good quality materials and sensibly laid-out controls, but a slightly bland design. There’s plenty of modern tech, though.
Engineering-wise, it's based on the Volkswagen MQB platform, which underpins a vast number of cars from Audi, SEAT, VW and Skoda – including the SEAT Ateca, the Audi TT, the VW Golf and the Skoda Octavia, to name but very few.
Is it good to drive?
It’s certainly not bad – but, again, it’s not especially exciting. Compared to the essentially identical Ateca, the Karoq is slightly softer and consequently less precise, but we’re talking matters of very small details here, rather than a major step change.
The softness delivers marginally greater comfort, for example, which means you also have to live with a little more body roll in the corners. No big deal.
Especially since you get the same choice of modern engines, which are well-balanced between performance and fuel economy – though the 1.0-litre turbo petrol can feel a touch out of its depth on the motorway.
How much does it cost?
As with most Skodas, the Karoq is well priced versus the quality of engineering and the amount of standard equipment you get.
However, it you’re planning to buy on finance it’s definitely worth comparing prices with the very similar SEAT – both firms are competitive in this area, but SEAT regularly offers some attractive PCP finance deals.
Want to find out what other buyers think? Read our comprehensive Skoda Karoq owners’ reviews.
Skoda Karoq Model History
Current generation Skoda Karoq
- October 2017 – Available to order with a range of two petrol and two diesel engines in SE, SE L and Karoq Edition specifications.
- May 2018 - Skoda Connect now works with Amazon Alexa.
There are no previous Skoda Karoq models, but this SUV replaced the Skoda Yeti in the firm’s line-up. There was some contention in the motoring press about Skoda’s decision to abandon the Yeti name, since it was a vehicle with a strong following that regularly performed very well in owner satisfaction surveys.
However, aside from it not matching Skoda’s current SUV naming convention of starting with a ‘K’ and ending with a ‘q’ (Kamiq, Karoq and Kodiaq), the feeling inside the company was that re-using the name would continue to put off buyers who disliked the old Yeti.
The Yeti was a car that tended to dramatically split opinion, whereas the Karoq seems to be wilfully middle of the road. Whether that makes it more desirable, despite being better all round, is open to debate…