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The smaller Skoda Karoq diesel is a sensible choice, if a little underpowered; even in base SE trim, though, you're unlikely to be left wanting for kit

Our Verdict

Skoda Karoq

We get behind the wheel of the new Skoda Karoq to see if it has kept some of the traits that made the Yeti so likeable

  • First Drive

    Skoda Karoq 1.6 TDI 115 SE 2018 UK review

    The smaller Skoda Karoq diesel is a sensible choice, if a little underpowered; even in base SE trim, though, you're unlikely to be left wanting for kit
  • First Drive

    Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI 2017 UK review

    Driven for the first time on British roads, Skoda's new compact SUV doesn't disappoint, with decent on-road manners and performance

What is it?

This Skoda Karoq is a diesel, so whereas it was the one you’d go for in the Yeti (this SUV's predecessor), it’s now one of the lesser-chosen options. Skoda predicts that this entry-level 1.6-litre will account for around 10% of sales in the UK

Sales are the pull here for Skoda, too: around a third of all new cars registered this year will be SUVs, and having launched two in the past year, with another on the way, it’s safe to say that the Czech manufacturer is taking them very seriously. It'll be among the brand's top three models when sales and production are fully up to speed, say company bosses. 

We’ve driven the Karoq previously, both in diesel specification internationally and with a petrol engine under the bonnet on UK roads, but never in 1.6 TDI spec on the UK’s notoriously poor tarmac. 

As mentioned, the Karoq replaces the Yeti, the cult classic status of which came to the fore since the model’s discontinuation. So like it or not, the Karoq is what we’ve got. Fortunately it’s more than a worthy replacement, if not quite as big on character. 

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What's it like?

As we discovered on previous drives of the Karoq, it’s comfortable, competent and classy. A thoroughly sensible option. 

Twelve months ago, the 1.6-litre diesel would have been a thoroughly sensible option, too, giving a supermini-rivalling 61.4mpg, with low CO2 emissions too, in exchange for a little less power than the 2.0-litre oilburner in the range offers. It remains a reasonably sensible option, especially if you undertake regular long journeys, but with increasingly negative response to diesel, it’s not as safe a bet as the 1.0 TSI petrol variant, which has a similar power output, and nor will it sell as strongly. 

Being the lower-powered of the two diesel engines isn’t without its drawbacks - the 1.6 feels a little stingy on power, and when pulling away from a standstill, it can’t always provide as much urgency as is requested of it. Power delivery is smooth, though, and there’s enough to suit everyday use. 

In terms of engine noise, it blends into the background, despite not maintaining a level of hush which other models offer. More impressive is the composure kept by the engine across the rev range, even at 3500rpm and beyond. 

On the whole, the Karoq is impressive. The most notable imperfection is a tendency to bounce over bigger bumps in the road. At all but the slowest speeds, most smaller imperfections in the road surface are dealt with deftly and quietly. The steering is responsive and quick, but not quite as sharp as the Nissan Qashqai

Should I buy one?

This is an ever-more difficult question for a mass-market diesel car, but setting aside the current climate and changing attitudes towards diesels, it has everything you would need from a mid-sized SUV. 

Usually the phrase ‘everything you need’ would suggest very little of what you want, but in this instance the Karoq provides a compelling mix of competence and desirability. It’s neither flash nor frumpy, and its quiet confidence should worry the Ateca and Qashqai considerably. 

Worth the money? Oh, absolutely. Skoda's 'Simply Clever' ethos seems to run through the car, with more touches now than ever contributing to an overall ease of use unseen elsewhere in the segment. And when you're selling to everyone and their 2.4 children plus dog, that will pay dividends. 

Skoda Karoq 1.6 TDI 115PS SE

Where Lincoln On sale Now Price £24,735 Engine 4cyls, 1598cc, turbocharged diesel Power 113bhp at 3250rpm Torque 184lb ft at 1500rpm Gearbox 6-spd manual Kerb weight 1351kg Top speed 116mph 0-62mph 10.7sec Fuel economy 61.4mpg CO2 120g/km Rivals Seat Ateca, Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-5

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Comments
19

11 January 2018

...113hp might be enough BUT when loaded up driving becomes more stressful. A 1.0 triple sounds even more so, stressful that is.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

FMS

17 January 2018

...not you AGAIN!

11 January 2018

i would like to know what autocar thinks has changed in 12 months that means Diesel is no longer the sensible choice? 

If you do above average mileage mainly on the motorway the diesel makes just as much sense as it did 12 months ago. If you do average mileage on mixed roads with short journeys the diesel makes no sense the same as it didn’t 12 months ago. 

Autocar and others pushed diesel as the automatic choice, why? 

11 January 2018
ridnufc wrote:

Autocar and others pushed diesel as the automatic choice, why? 

'

because of Dieselgate. Until Dieselgate nobody in this country had heard of NOx emissions farless cared about them. People made their petrol/diesel choice based on price or torque in the lower rev band or CO2 emissions (remember that hole in the ozone? It's still there and growing bigger now that CO2 is increasing again).

NOx emissions weren't even on the specs sheet when you were comparing cars but now, everyone seems to be an expert on the matter.

It's rather like Tony Blai and new labour - they won a landslide victory in 1997 but now try finding anyone who voted for him.

People have short memories.

11 January 2018
scotty5 wrote:

ridnufc wrote:

Autocar and others pushed diesel as the automatic choice, why? 

'

because of Dieselgate. Until Dieselgate nobody in this country had heard of NOx emissions farless cared about them. People made their petrol/diesel choice based on price or torque in the lower rev band or CO2 emissions (remember that hole in the ozone? It's still there and growing bigger now that CO2 is increasing again).

NOx emissions weren't even on the specs sheet when you were comparing cars but now, everyone seems to be an expert on the matter.

It's rather like Tony Blai and new labour - they won a landslide victory in 1997 but now try finding anyone who voted for him.

People have short memories.

People bought diesels because of the tax incentives and fuel saving, I remember choosing a petrol over diesel in 2002 because the fuel savings couldnt recoup the extra spend on purchase over the 10k/yr limit I had on the pcp. Most people just saw the better economy figure and cheaper tax and that was enough. Nox was known about when incentives were co2 based but it was ignored. The question posed though was why Autocar and others pushed diesel as the default choice, never highlighting the mileage needed to benefit from them or that they were less efficient and more problematic in stop start town driving.

11 January 2018

Diesel is still the sensible choice if you tow, drive long distances and do high mileage. Not sure on this but the colour (battleship grey?) looks great on a friends octavia vrs.

11 January 2018
Shameless badge engineering to exceed the worst offenders from BL. Really Auto car ought to refuse to review it on tje basis that they already have.

Bring back the Yeti please.

11 January 2018
eseaton wrote:

Shameless badge engineering to exceed the worst offenders from BL. Really Auto car ought to refuse to review it on tje basis that they already have.

Bring back the Yeti please.

The Yeti was a derivative of platform commonality as much as this. Your comment proves your sheer ignorance or stupidity.

12 January 2018
Marc wrote:
eseaton wrote:

Shameless badge engineering to exceed the worst offenders from BL. Really Auto car ought to refuse to review it on tje basis that they already have. Bring back the Yeti please.

The Yeti was a derivative of platform commonality as much as this. Your comment proves your sheer ignorance or stupidity.

Why would VAG bring a car back that didn't sell towards the end of it's life?

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

12 January 2018
What made the yeti special both in looks and character was that it was cobbled together from several platforms and wasnt the same as any other VAG platform .

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