What is it?
The Karoq is the replacement for Skoda ’s popular Yeti, a rare sort of small SUV that actually had character and a distinct personality.
Based on the same MQB platform that underpins the Volkswagen Group’s other entry-level SUVs, such as the Seat Ateca, as well as any number of hatchbacks and saloons, the Karoq is bigger in all dimensions than the Yeti. That car’s chunky, distinctive styling has gone, but the new model is at least reasonably handsome with its sharp creases and narrow, predator-eyed headlights.
The cabin design is pretty strong, too, but it’s the quality that really impresses. There’s an overall sense of solidity, while the materials themselves feel premium. The soft-touch, rubberised dashboard is particularly good. The upgraded Canton infotainment system that was fitted to our test car, which includes a vast high-resolution display, was perhaps the most impressive element of the entire cabin. The VarioFlex seating system that proved so popular on the Yeti (which allows you to remove, slide and recline the rear seats individually), incidentally, wasn’t fitted here but will be available on the Karoq.
Naturally, there’s bundles of interior space and a very generous boot. The lofty seating position gives the elevated view of the road that seems so popular these days but, helpfully, the car never feels especially big when driving around town. Skoda likes to shout about the various ‘simply clever’ trinkets that are dotted around the cabin - the little sealed rubbish bin in the driver’s door pocket, the rear-facing tablet holders that can be fitted to the front headrests and so on - with good reason; they really are very handy in everyday use.
In this car’s SE L trim, the Karoq comes very well equipped; heated front and rear seats, powered tailgate, LED lights, rear-view camera and full mobile phone connectivity are all included. That seems rather generous given the £24,515 asking price.