Skoda Karoq SE Technology 1.5 TSI 150PS.
Skoda are on a roll. In 2017 they launched their large SUV the Kodiaq, which immediately went to the top of the class, winning a host of awards. Skoda have also just won the SME Fleet brand of the Year & at the recent Geneva Motor Show, visitors were able to look to the future with Skoda showing their eye-catching Vision X model. And, at the beginning of 2018, Skoda launched another new model, the mid-range SUV the Karoq, yet another new entrant in the Qashqai sector.
The Karoq is available in three trim levels; SE, SE L & Edition. For business users, there is an SE Technology model, which arrived at our office for us to test. These models, as with all Skoda’s range, offers exceptional value for money, whilst at the same time, coming well equipped, with on trend connectivity & safety features.
How do the models compare for Spec ? SE models feature 17″ Ratikon alloy wheels, privacy glass, LED rear lights, dual-zone climate control, front assist, pedestrian monitor & driver fatigue sensor as standard. For business users, the SE Technology includes al of these, plus SatNav, front parking sensors & adaptive cruise control. SE L adds to this 18″ Braga alloy wheels, Amundsen SatNav with 8” touchscreen display, Smartlink+, keyless entry plus start/stop, full LED headlights with adaptive front light system, heated front seats & Alcantara upholstery. Customers opting for the SE L also benefit from a colour multifunction trip computer, rear view camera with front & rear parking sensors as standard. Top-of-the-range Karoq Edition gets 19” Crater alloys, a 9.2″ touchscreen with integrated WiFi, a panoramic sunroof, metallic paint, a wireless phone charger, powered boot lid & gesture control, plus a host of safety features including, Lane assist, Blind spot protection with Rear traffic alert & Traffic sign recognition.
Customers can choose from four engine options – two TSI petrol units with outputs of 115PS & 150PS, plus two TDI diesels also with power outputs of 115PS & 150PS. All four are available with a seven-speed DSG transmission as an option, with the most powerful diesel model – the 2.0 TDI 150PS, also available with four-wheel drive. The likely best seller for retail will be the 150PS TSI & for fleet, the 115PS diesel.
On top of great value & high spec, the Karoq offers practicality as well. With a wheelbase of 2,638mm & the addition of the Varioflex seating system, standard on SE L & Edition models & an option on SE, the three separate rear seats can be individually adjusted or completely removed to create a maximum load volume of 1,810 litres. The cabin is practical too. Head room for all passengers, especially in the rear, is excellent & the Karoq is a proper five-seater as well. Add in a large glove box & door bins, a lidded compartment between the front seats & a pop-open one on the dashboard, small bags on the inside of the front seats & foldable tables on the rear of the front seats, & most families will be catered for.
Skoda , as is their want, also offers customers some nice extras, even on the SE model. These include an ice scraper, an umbrella under the passenger seat, a clothes hook on the B Pillar, a removable LED torch in the boot, foldable hooks, a rear boot cover & a net programme in the boot.
From the outside, the Karoq look’s like a cross between sister models the SEAT Ateca & Volkswagen Tiguan. Inside too, the interior will be familiar from other VW Group product’s & especially other Skoda’s. The Karoq is the first Skoda to be available with a version of the VW Group’s digital dial display., which is a nice feature.The dashboard looks & feels hard-wearing & as with the Kodiaq, the quality of the fixtures & fittings is excellent, although the exception was the rear seat trays, which felt a little flimsy & cheap. The colour scheme; seat fabric, dashboard, steering wheel, door lining – grey & more grey- is a little bland, but the Karoq is not trying to be anything other than honest as Skoda leave the flash to others.
We tested the SE Technology model, powered by the 1.5 TSI 150PS engine. Combined mpg is 52.3mpg, CO2 emissions 123g/km, with a maximum speed of 126mph & a nippy 0-62 time of 8.4 seconds.
From a driving perspective, the Karoq is set up to be comfortable. The seats are softer than those found on the Tiguan, the suspension is more forgiving than the one footed to the Ateca & on the 17” wheels, our test car dealt well with the current moonscape of pot-holes all over Britians roads. The driving position allows for great front & rear visibility, as well as to the left & to the right. The large wing mirrors & rear parking sensors also help when parking. The six-speed manual gear box works well, whilst the clutch is light as is the steering & for a largish-car, the Karoq is pretty nimble in town & fun as well
From a fleet users perspective, if you’re travelling up & down our fabulous motorway network, you may need to keep in touch with your clients & the office. Up to date tech is a must, especially hands-free via Bluetooth. We connected our i-Phone quickly & easily via Bluetooth to the in built Apple Car-Play, which allows you to send messages verbally thereby stopping the driver from texting whilst on the move, something far more common from drivers than talking on their mobile.
The Skoda infotainment system is easy to use as is Skoda’s own SatNav. Alternatively, you can choose to use Google Maps with Car-Play if you prefer. I streamed podcasts whilst on the move from my i-Phone through Car-Play as well. What is clear though, is that motorways miles are eaten up in comfort. The cabin is well insulated, so if you are on go you can chat with your fellow passengers or on hands-free without resorting to shouting.
The 1.5 TSI engine is surprisingly quick when asked to overtake & in town, I could not fault the Karoq either. I travelled over 300 miles in my week in the latest Skoda & managed to average 36.8mpg, some way shy of the claimed 52.3mpg. To be honest & I’m sure readers will know this already, very few cars come close in the real world to the figure claimed by any car manufacturer, which is why the way the results are gathered, will be changing later this year.
As a like for like comparison, I averaged 42.3mpg in the diesel SEAT Ateca last year, so the petrol engine fitted to my Karoq wasn’t quite as good on fuel economy as the 1.6 TDI unit fitted to the Seat or diesel Karoq. Indeed, despite the call for customers to buy petrol from social media & the national press, for business users driving over 8,000 miles per annum, the diesel would be well worth considering.
Back in 2016, our Company Car of the Year was won by the Seat Ateca, which tells you all you need to know about the Karoq. From an aesthetic point of view, the Karoq is stylish to look at, whilst inside, practicality & hard wearing are the order of the day. The three-year, 60,000-mile warranty does fall below what others offer, but knowing Skoda’s current reliability, that should not put you off.
The Karoq is an excellent all rounder, large enough to carry five adults & their luggage in comfort, nimble enough in town to be enjoyable & for those readers who spend a lot of their working day on the motorway, a decent companion for those 200+ mile road trips as well.
Overall, a satisfying 4/5 for the Karoq.