From £22,4108
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
11 October 2017

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.

What's it like?

Skoda expects the best-selling engine to be the 1.5 TSI tested here - a turbocharged 1498cc petrol engine that develops 148bhp and some 184lb ft of torque. There is a smaller petrol and a couple of diesel options, too, but this 1.5-litre four-pot is refined and impressively responsive for a turbo unit. With 0-62mph dispatched in 8.4sec, performance is adequate, although the car certainly never feels quick. This engine is so much quieter and sweeter than a diesel lump would be. Skoda claims 52.3mpg on the combined cycle, too, so it’s hardly thirsty.

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The six-speed manual gearbox is basically very good, but the shift action was notchier than expected, feeling a little obstructive at times where other VW Group transmissions are oily slick. There is a DSG gearbox option, too, and although this particular car is front-wheel drive only, there are four-wheel-drive models available.

This is a car that majors on comfort, refinement and convenience. With lots of wheel travel and plush suspension, along with meaty tyre sidewalls, the Karoq rides very well indeed. It’s settled, calm and composed even on reasonably broken Tarmac. At motorway speeds, the cabin is calm and serene, too, with tyre noise kept to a minimum and engine noise totally absent, while the only real wind noise seemed to be created by those chunky door mirrors.

Even the steering is rather good. The weighting is natural, as is the rate of response, which means you guide the Karoq along without really having to think about it. Given the tall ride height, it’s no surprise the car rolls a fair amount in spirited cornering, but there’s enough control, grip and stability that the car will hold on gamely if you fling into a few bends.

Should I buy one?

The Karoq isn’t exactly fun to drive, which probably doesn’t really matter. The Yeti could be amusing to pedal along, though. It also had a personality, whereas the Karoq is just a little short of any individuality to call its own. Still, that shouldn't detract too much from what is a very capable and well-rounded family car. 

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Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI 150PS

Location Balocco, Italy; On sale Now; Price £24,515; Engine 4cyl, 1498cc, turbocharged petrol; Power 148bhp at 5000-6000rpm; Torque 184lb ft at 1500-3500rpm; Gearbox Six-speed manual; Kerb weight 1378kg; Top speed 126mph; 0-62mph 8.4sec; Economy 52.3mpg; CO2 122g/km; Rivals Seat Ateca, Volkswagen Tiguan

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Rob M 21 October 2017

A smaller Kodiaq

Making a judgement call on something before you have really seen it in the flesh let alone driven it seems to be the norm, its probably why Ive never posted opinions in modern car mag forums before and probably won't again after this one.

I actually own a Kodiaq and its good, I mean its VERY good. It's that good it's taken Skoda into the premium brand territory that has long been inhabited by bone idle manufacturers who have sold overrated tat to the gullible who thought that the badge was the be all and end all, and still do.

Thing is, people like me have never been seduced by the badge but by the value and the quality of the product, irrespective of who made it. 

This Karoq is a smaller Kodiaq, it will allow Skoda to compete in a sector that the Yeti could no longer compete in as the game had moved on. That is all.

What's the point of of analyzing it all? VW has shot itself in the foot because, unlike Renault and Dacia, it has shared current technology with its family instead of giving them the hand me downs to keep them budget and more basic.

Its not rocket science.

I tell you this, Skoda will still make and sell good cars whether VW plays hardball or not, the technology is only part of Skodas success. Its engineering expertise goes back eons, they have always been clever and innovative and will continue to be.

Instead of whinging about how Skoda has lost its 'identity' or value brand or anything else, just marvel at a Czech company that has consistently won widespread praise for its cars, its brand, its dealer networks and its ability to beat its competitors using the SAME damn platforms, interiors and engines that others use to less success.

It's not rocket science.

Ok, this Karoq may lack the fun of the Yeti but, seriously, who the hell bought a Yeti because its fun?

You want fun, you don't by an SUV, you buy a VRS or a Focus ST or a Civic  Type R.

Hey, this petrol head decided, long ago, that modern cars were not fun, even the fast ones that were more capable than any driver at the wheel.

I have an old Firebird for my fun.

Works for me.

 

5wheels 19 October 2017

Soooooooooo disappointing

I was one of the very first in this mag to praise the Yeti. After a few months everyone else cottoned on. Yes its drawback was boot space but it had so much character and still today I like to see them. THIS bloody thing is just another VW. So disappointing from Skoda. Their new Kodiaq is really very good, saw one in the mettle this week - great job

Jimbbobw1977 11 October 2017

Be interesting to see how the

Be interesting to see how the brand pans out in the future as VW recently said they are not to happy about the success of Skoda and plan to start charging Skoda more for the rights to use its platforms.

Skoda pricing is increasing massively that it’s not really a value for money brand anymore and the pricing may increase. 

It beggars belief that VW didn’t see this coming really - I mean look at the success of Aldi in the supermarket category. The Tiguan, Ateca and this are just the same cars, why would you pay more for the Tiguan? It makes no sense. VW is still a run of the mill brand brand not premium 

Marc 11 October 2017

Jimbbobw1977 wrote:

Jimbbobw1977 wrote:

Be interesting to see how the brand pans out in the future as VW recently said they are not to happy about the success of Skoda and plan to start charging Skoda more for the rights to use its platforms.

Skoda pricing is increasing massively that it’s not really a value for money brand anymore and the pricing may increase. 

It beggars belief that VW didn’t see this coming really - I mean look at the success of Aldi in the supermarket category. The Tiguan, Ateca and this are just the same cars, why would you pay more for the Tiguan? It makes no sense. VW is still a run of the mill brand brand not premium 

Blimey, a constructive post from you on a VAG review.

Jimbbobw1977 11 October 2017

Marc wrote:

Marc wrote:
Jimbbobw1977 wrote:

Be interesting to see how the brand pans out in the future as VW recently said they are not to happy about the success of Skoda and plan to start charging Skoda more for the rights to use its platforms.

Skoda pricing is increasing massively that it’s not really a value for money brand anymore and the pricing may increase. 

It beggars belief that VW didn’t see this coming really - I mean look at the success of Aldi in the supermarket category. The Tiguan, Ateca and this are just the same cars, why would you pay more for the Tiguan? It makes no sense. VW is still a run of the mill brand brand not premium 

Blimey, a constructive post from you on a VAG review.

I had a brand new Audi A3 1.6tdi sport courtesy car the other day as the A3 we have was in for a service. I didn’t care for it at all.. Oh and our A3 has a leak in the rear foot well - the dealer claimed it needed a wind screen seal replacing at a cost of £726 I said no room it home, and found a blocked drainage hole causing the problem.... 

Does that balance it out?? 

Marc 11 October 2017

Jimbbobw1977 wrote:

Jimbbobw1977 wrote:

Marc wrote:
Jimbbobw1977 wrote:

Be interesting to see how the brand pans out in the future as VW recently said they are not to happy about the success of Skoda and plan to start charging Skoda more for the rights to use its platforms.

Skoda pricing is increasing massively that it’s not really a value for money brand anymore and the pricing may increase. 

It beggars belief that VW didn’t see this coming really - I mean look at the success of Aldi in the supermarket category. The Tiguan, Ateca and this are just the same cars, why would you pay more for the Tiguan? It makes no sense. VW is still a run of the mill brand brand not premium 

Blimey, a constructive post from you on a VAG review.

I had a brand new Audi A3 1.6tdi sport courtesy car the other day as the A3 we have was in for a service. I didn’t care for it at all.. Oh and our A3 has a leak in the rear foot well - the dealer claimed it needed a wind screen seal replacing at a cost of £726 I said no room it home, and found a blocked drainage hole causing the problem.... 

Does that balance it out?? 

Nah