Despite filling its space in the range, Skoda interior designer Arne Leetz explained that the Karoq isn't a replacement for the Yeti but rather an all new car. “The Yeti will remain a legend," he said.
The Karoq's name is a combination of ‘kaa’raq’ (car) and ‘ruq’ (arrow) in the language of Alaska’s indigenous people, linking it with the Kodiaq, which also gets its name from the same region.
It arrives as Skoda plans to shift its brand identity into a new realm. “We want the brand to be classless," explained technical development boss Christian Strube. "Take the place of Volvo which has now moved upmarket. Thirty years ago my father owned a Volvo because it was the understated option."
Skoda is marketing the Karoq as a small yet practical family SUV, to set it apart from the sportier Seat Ateca and pricier Volkswagen Tiguan, with which it shares parts. “All passengers have equal rights," said Karl Neuhold, the car's exterior design chief.
The Karoq has space for five passengers and has a boot capacity of 521 litres or 1630 litres with the back seats folded down. This comfortably beats the car’s main rival, the Nissan Qashqai, which offers 430 and 1585 litres respectively.
Built on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, the Karoq comes with a choice of five turbocharged engines, four of which are new to Skoda.
The new petrol engines are an entry-level 1.0-litre TSI three-cylinder with 113bhp and 129lb ft and a 1.5-litre TSI with 148bhp and 184lb ft, with the latter enabling an 8.4sec 0-62mph time and featuring active cylinder technology.
There’s a new diesel 1.6-litre TDI that produces 113bhp and 184lb ft while emitting just 118g/km of CO2, and a new 2.0-litre TDI that outputs 187bhp and 295lb ft, enabling a 7.8sec 0-62mph time – the quickest available.