Life with the Karoq continues to be fuss-free, with only the occasional niggle disrupting what is a very easy car to live with. Like the Suzuki Swift I ran last summer, the Skoda SUV is the kind of car that slots into your life almost unnoticed, and that’s not to do it a disservice. It’s just that there are very few holes to pick, and KV68 VXA just gets on with the job in hand, whether it be a longer schlep, a jaunt to the shops, or a trip to the tip.
If economy is your thing (and as this magazine is about diesel and the extra economy benefits it brings, I think we’re all mindful of fuel use), one ‘niggle’ is worth highlighting. Like almost all modern cars, the Skoda has a set of four driving modes which alters the car’s operational parameters: ‘Eco’, ‘Normal’ (which the car is in by default), ‘Sport’ and ‘Individual’. As its name suggests, ‘Sport’ encourages keener acceleration, along with less power assistance for the steering, while ‘Individual’ allows the driver to choose personal settings.
With the aim to save fuel, ‘Eco’ gives more relaxed acceleration with gears optimised for the lowest possible consumption. The start-stop system is automatically activated, too, and on automatic cars like ours, the mode also alters the DSG’s ratios. The driving modes are cycled through by selecting the centre touchscreen’s menu, or by pressing the transmission tunnel ‘Mode’ button. All seemingly straightforward, the selected mode is displayed in the top left-hand corner of the infotainment screen.
However, I’ve found that the physical button sometimes needs a second prod to make the necessary change to the gearbox. Unaware of this at first, I thought I was in full ‘Eco’ mode as the touchscreen’s tell-tale icon was displayed, but it wasn’t until I pressed the transmission tunnel button while on the move that I realised the gear marker in the driver’s display changed from ‘D2’ to ‘E2’, signifying that the gearbox was in the same mode. It does make an important difference, as the DSG decouples from the engine and ‘coasts’, using kinetic energy to save fuel. An ‘Eco’ recycle-type symbol signifies the change and makes you feel slightly more parsimonious.
It’s a minor inconvenience to double-check the gearbox is engaged in the relevant mode, but it is worth it. Despite having doubts that the Karoq has been more economical since my last report, prolific use of the ‘Eco’ driving mode shows that it has. Even though I’ve done fewer longer journeys this month, the 51.2mpg value (up from 43.4mpg last month), is the most economical value we’ve achieved since we’ve had the car. Another good eco pointer is the ‘Green Score’ display accessed via the car’s touchscreen, which economically scores your driving out of one hundred. All in all, it’s been a revelatory learning curve, and one which has arrived just as local diesel pump prices almost achieve price parity with petrol.
Date arrived 12th November 2018
Fuel economy 58.9mpg (combined) 51.2mpg (on test)
Just as Gavin has found with his SEAT Alhambra, the Karoq’s auto-hold function is extremely useful in urban traffic.
The driving mode selector button sometimes needs a second press to fully engage each mode’s gearbox ratios.