What is it?
The new Skoda Yeti isn't actually a Skoda Yeti anymore. That's right, one of the last beacons of creativity in the naming of cars has gone out, replaced by a rough translation of 'car arrow' in the language of a tribe in Alaska, to give us the Skoda Karoq.
Skoda had a hit on its hands with the Yeti. It was an early arrival in the small SUV world, with enough quirkiness to mask its obvious compromises and shortcomings. It was likeable, a bit different, and sold well right to the end of its life.
Its replacement, the Karoq, is something altogether more conventional, not just because of its name. It's effectively Skoda's version of the Seat Ateca and upcoming Volkswagen T-Roc. It's grown slightly in size over the Yeti in all departments, chiefly for the benefit of interior passengers, and in true Skoda style ends up with a boot much bigger than that of its chief rival, the Nissan Qashqai.
You can play a game of Volkswagen Group MQB platform bingo with a lot of the Karoq's spec. There are five engines in the range, all direct-injection turbocharged units with EU6 emissions compliance, ranging from a three-cylinder 1.0-litre TSI unit with 113bhp to a range-topping 2.0-litre TDI with 187bhp. Four of the five engines offered on the Karoq were not offered on the Yeti. Front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox are standard, with four-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox offered with certain engines.
Hidden under the camouflage of the development car we've been granted an early drive in is a look inspired by the larger seven-seat Kodiaq in Skoda's growing range of SUVs. We'll get to see the finished package on 18 May.