The Karoq is small by crossover hatchback standards on overall length, but the car’s wheelbase isn’t. That’s the first clue that Skoda aimed to make well-packaged practicality and versatility key strengths for this car – and it has achieved that aim.

To look at the Karoq from the outside is to worry slightly if it’s another of those downsized pseudo-SUVs that isn’t really any more spacious or convenient than a conventional compact family car. But to sit in each of its rows of seating, to interrogate the ways in which those seats adapt and move, and to discover the car’s many distinguishing storage and convenience features is to be very pleasantly confounded.

Simon Davis

Simon Davis

Road tester
Skoda offers ‘personalisation keys’ as an option, each of which pre-programs the car’s driver assist, climate control and infotainment systems to your own preference when you unlock the car

The car doesn’t have the most high-rising, jacked-up body, but it does have reasonably high-set seats and plenty of head room. Its driving position improves the more willing you are to crank up the car’s seat cushion and sit increasingly bent-legged – and that also benefits visibility, of course.

In the second row, large adults will find adequate head and leg room, good under-thigh support and plenty of foot space under the front seats. Scout specification delivers Skoda’s Varioflex back seats as standard (all three of which slide and fold individually, and can also be removed completely) and they add considerable carrying versatility to the Karoq’s armoury. Take all three back seats out and there’s room for more than 1800 litres of cargo: which is genuine van-like outright capacity.

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In the boot you’ll find several separate storage cubbies to contain smaller loose items, as well as a pair of sliding storage hooks mounted on rails on each side of the cargo bay just below window-line height – the latter are very handy indeed for securing smaller bags. There’s also Skoda’s customary removable boot light-cum-torch, as well as a load bay cover that, being secured to the bootlid rather than the boot sides when closed, is never in your way when loading or unloading.

In the Karoq Scout’s case, a powered tailgate that’s clever enough to recognise a downward tug as a sign that it should motor-close rather than fight to stay open completes the car’s picture of thoroughly attentive practicality.

Skoda offers three touchscreen infotainment systems across the Karoq range. The Scout gets the mid-range 8.0in ‘Amundsen’ system as standard – this comes without gesture control (which we don’t much like anyway) but retains knobs for volume and map zoom (which we do like – and which is missing from the top-of-the-line ‘Columbus’ system). It looks good and is easy to use.

The Amundsen system includes navigation as standard. The squarish-aspect screen is easily big enough to relay mapping at useful scale and in detail, and the system is easy to program and to follow. Generally, it accepts a voice-commanded destination at the first time of asking.

Upgrading to the 9.2in Columbus system costs £1510, and it comes with 64GB of on-board flash memory and DVD playback. A 10-speaker, 575- watt Canton premium audio system is another £550, while Virtual Cockpit instruments are a £450 extra. While Skoda could offer better value by corralling these into a ‘technology pack’, you wonder how many customers would want all three.

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