Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
  • Several petrol and diesel engines on offer
  • 1.5-litre TSI and 2.0-litre TDI provide enough performance
  • Base 1.0-litre TSI struggles in the Karoq

What engine options are there?

The Skoda Karoq’s performance is capable if unspectacular, with the medium-sized SUV boasting a range of capable petrol and diesel engines for customers to choose from.

All engine variants offer the choice of either a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox. The former is precise enough and easy to use, while the latter offers super-slick well-timed changes as well as a manual override function.

Petrol engines

Engine Power and torque
0-62mph time
Top speed
1.0 TSI
115hp, 200Nm
10.6secs
116mph
1.5 TSI
150hp, 250Nm 8.4secs
126mph
2.0 TSI
190hp, 300Nm 7.3secs
140mph

View full specs

The base 115hp petrol is refined and perfectly capable in and around town, however does begin to struggle on motorways and during overtaking manoeuvres. If you’ll regularly be loading the car up with passengers and luggage or do mega motorway miles, we’d avoid this one if we can.

The 150hp 1.5-litre petrol, meanwhile, is far punchier and offers up noticeably better acceleration and motorway pulling power. It is noticeably noisier than the 1.0-litre (especially at high revs) so bear this in mind before buying.

For anyone who's looking to make the switch from diesel to petrol, Volkswagen Group's 1.5-litre TSI Evo engine is a good place to start. In the Karoq the impressive on-paper figures are borne out on the road – it's refined, and a pleasure to drive quickly feeling every bit as fast as the figures suggest. The real story is how grown up it feels.

Thanks to its ample pulling power from low revs, you can change up early and generally drive it like a diesel – and still make decent progress. In the time we had the car, it was also relatively economical, delivering a real-world 43mpg (which compares with the 50mpg you'd typically expect from the equivalent 2.0 TDI version).

A 190hp 2.0-litre engine is available in Sportline trim. It's the most powerful and responsive engine in the line-up, with smooth power delivery and strong acceleration if you need it. It may not be the most sensible option, but works very well in the Karoq.

Diesel engines

Engine Power and torque
0-62mph time
Top speed
1.6 TDI
115hp, 250Nm
10.7secs
116mph
2.0 TDI
150hp, 340Nm 8.7secs
121mph
A 220 d
190hp, 400Nm 7.1secs
146mph

View full specs

There are two different diesel engines on offer starting with the 1.6-litre TDI 115hp. Next up is the 2.0-litre TDI 150hp, which comes with a choice of front- or four-wheel drive

Opting for the 150hp 2.0-litre diesel would be considered the safe option – and it’s not hard to see why. While a touch noisier than you might expect, it’s got enough pulling power on motorways and is the motor of choice if you plan on using the Karoq as a tow car.

Performance-wise the 150hp TDI engine is slightly down on the 1.5 petrol, despite having an identical 150hp power output and 90Nm more torque at 340Nm available between 1,750-3,000rpm. Top speed is quoted at 121mph for the diesel (a drop of 5mph compared with the petrol), while 8.4 seconds is required for the 0-60mph sprint (0.3 seconds slower).

The chief culprit for the drop-off is the extra weight – unladen the 2.0-litre TDI in Edition specification is 183kg heavier than the 1.5-litre TSI. It’s a flexible motor, though, meaning you don’t have to use the six-speed manual transmission much once you’ve got into top gear, although it can’t match the quieter TSI petrol for overall refinement.

Handling

  • Sharp handling sacrificed in the pursuit of comfort
  • Still perfectly stable and grippy on all roads
  • Off-road ability will almost certainly exceed customers’ needs

Despite sharing a platform (and many mechanical components) with the SEAT Ateca, the Skoda Karoq feels significantly different to drive. Rather than go down the route of making the car feel sharp and ‘sporty’, Skoda has engineered the Karoq to be soft and comfortable.

If you’re looking for a ‘sporty’ SUV, stop reading now as the Karoq doesn't fit into that category. That’s not to say it’s not nice to drive, it just has a rather more relaxed way of doing things. The steering for example, while accurate and well-weighted, isn’t particularly sharp or communicative. You still get a good idea of how the car is behaving, but it’s not up there with the SEAT Ateca or Ford Puma for example.

In normal driving conditions the Karoq flows nicely from corner to corner and, despite its relatively large size, is easy to pilot through narrow city streets and tight, ninety-degree turns. Push on faster into corners and you’ll start to notice the body of the car roll – although never to the extent where it feels wayward or unsafe. Grip levels are about average for a car in this class, and – once you do run out of purchase – there’s just enough feel in the steering wheel to let you know the front of the car is beginning to push wide of the intended line.

The Karoq’s off-roading credentials are more-than-adequate for the vast majority of customers, with hill-descent control and an off-road drive mode fitted as standard on 4x4 models.

2019 Skoda Karoq Sportline rear view