Like saloon cars of the 1960s, SUVs seem to currently be the defining car type. A trend which has fast replaced the MPV as a family carry-all, the SUV’s popularity shows no sign of abating. The latest niche-within-a-niche is the performance SUV, a kind of high-riding GTI. And yes, it’s true that the Karoq is more on the mild side, but that doesn’t translate as dull.
In fact, with its £975 optional Velvet Red paint, Skoda’s smallest SUV (that title will soon go to the SEAT Arona-based Kamiq) really does stand out, and red is of course a traditional GTI-type colour. While there are only so many ways to skin an SUV, Skoda has done a good job of making the Karoq distinctive when it isn’t wearing red warpaint. Sharply creased with squared-off wheel arches and that now recognisable multi-light Skoda face, the Karoq looks smart. Our Karoq also features chrome window trim which lends it a premium look. Other drivers must think so, too, as since I took over custodianship a couple of weeks ago, I’ve seen a handful of others about. If there is a criticism of the Karoq’s appearance, it’s that it perhaps resembles its larger Kodiaq sibling a little too closely. It’s quite easy to get the two confused.
Otherwise, the Karoq creates good first impressions. Even without the £3,340 of options fitted to ‘our’ car, the Karoq has lots of toys as standard. Particularly impressive is the eight-inch Amundsen colour infotainment screen which is superbly clear, and as with most Volkswagen Group systems, is easy to navigate and use. Unlike some other set-ups, the voice control system works well, too. The £75 optional traffic sign recognition has enjoyed a slightly colder reception, as it thinks some major trunk roads have a 60mph speed limit, not 70mph as displayed on my iPhone’s navigation app. Still, at least there should be no speeding tickets!
And that’s a good thing, as the Karoq has been pressed into many-miles service since it arrived on my driveway. It came just as I had a few longer journeys to do, and like many other of its facets, there’s no doubting its mile-munching ability. Even though the 1.6 TDI is the smaller of the two diesel engines available, as previous owner Jo found out, the Karoq doesn’t feel short of power. At a cruise, it’s quiet and comfortable, the DSG gearbox and adaptive cruise control making a very happy marriage. In fact, the Karoq is so cosseting, at the end of two recent three-hour-plus trips, I felt almost as fresh as when I started them. My first impression of the Karoq is of an SUV which offers no fuss and no drama, just a welcome get-on-and-do-it attitude. We’re going to get along just fine.
Date arrived 12th November 2018
Fuel economy 58.9mpg (combined) 48.9mpg (on test)
The 521-litre boot really is vast, and can accommodate all sorts of paraphernalia. The split-folding rear seats are also handy for long loads.
The stop-start system and automatic transmission combination results in a little lag between re-starting the engine and moving off.