As you might well already have twigged, the Karoq Scout has no ‘get out of jail free’ card where this section is concerned.
Because it runs the same suspension specification as any other four-wheel-drive model derivative (which makes the impressions and observations you’re about to read more broadly relevant than they might otherwise have been, of course), there are no heavy-duty shock absorbers, raised centre of gravity or hybrid off-road tyres in the mix here.
However, compared with the very best-handling crossover hatchbacks, you might assume differently. It’s a little unfair opening on such a critical note because the Karoq Scout is an entirely dynamically competent car to drive, with few immediately obvious or serious compromises or shortcomings. But it doesn’t emulate the wieldiness or ride composure of a well-sorted family hatchback as uncannily as a Seat Ateca, Nissan Qashqai or Toyota C-HR can.
The chassis develops plenty of lateral grip, but not quite the handling precision of some of its competitors. It will carry as much speed as you’re likely to want it to on the road, and take a secure and obedient line through any corner.
But it will also roll a little farther and faster than some when you really press it, and has enough vertical body movement on choppier UK back-roads as to just begin to feel soggy and unsettling – and ultimately to undermine its directional stability if you encounter bigger bumps mid-corner.
The car’s optional adaptive dampers and ‘progressive’ steering ought to address both shortcomings – but they’d need to produce a more settled high-speed ride, too, in order to make the Karoq as dynamically sophisticated as the best cars in its class. Our test car’s ride isolation was respectable, with only the sharpest edges making its 19in alloys seem like an obstacle to ride comfort.
On the motorway, though, the car’s ride became a little bit excitable at times, when better tuning might have made it calmer.
Off the Tarmac and on both gravel and grass, the Karoq Scout’s rolling chassis and driveline combine to create plenty of traction and good low-speed control. The car’s damping is robust enough, and suspension travel long enough, that you can treat a medium-sized pothole with the same lack of concern you might apply to a sleeping policeman on the road. In both cases, however, you’d think twice before carrying too much speed.