Skoda has hitherto deployed Scout trim only for the Octavia saloon – and the pseudo off-roader kit goes some way to saving the Karoq, styled sharply but predictably, from anonymity.
Both the front and rear bumpers are beefed up, and there’s a metallic-silver skid-plate to match the rear diffuser and protective door sills. Skoda’s Rough Road package adds further underside fortification along with wheel-arch cladding and the standard-fit 19in ‘Crater’ wheels of our test car are shod in Bridgestone’s Dueler tyres – proper SUV rubber you’ll also find on the latest Jeep Wrangler.
Underneath it all, the steel-monocoqued Karoq is built on the same MQB platform as every other entry-level SUV in the VW Group stable, and with that the wheelbase has grown by a useful 60mm from that of the Yeti. The Scout’s four-wheel-drive hardware differs not at all from other Karoq models, and operates using an electronic multiplate clutch that diverts torque to the rear axle only when the front tyres lose traction.
Suspension is by MacPherson strut at the front and, this model having two driven axles, via a more sophisticated multi-link set-up at the back rather than a torsion beam. The conventional arrangement limits off-road ability compared with some – and there is also the fact that, with a little less than 180mm, the Scout touts no additional ground clearance than any other Karoq.
However, by limiting mechanical drag in normal driving, the 148bhp 2.0-litre TDI in our test car is able to return a combined WLTP fuel economy of 44.1mpg. The same engine can be had in 187bhp tune, and Skoda also offers its 148bhp 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine. Both six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission are available, but only this lower-powered diesel gives buyers the choice.
Our test car forgoes the option of adaptive dampers in favour of the standard passive set-up. What choice there is pertains to the drive mode menu, which offers an off-road setting that loosens the leash on the traction control and anti-lock braking systems.