We’ve waited more than a year to road test the Skoda Karoq, in the hope that a little time would bring extra dynamic sophistication, more rounded performance and more intrigue to a car that, for all its visual smartness, seemed pretty unremarkable when we first assessed it in 2017.

On a few of those fronts, the new Karoq Scout was worth the wait. It has the outright torque, traction, capability and robustness to handle a spot of hard work; and that sense of capability adds to impressively strong parallel showings on everyday practicality and versatility that would make this car a very useful small family car.

Practical, comfortable Skoda is short on charm and dynamic polish

The Karoq Scout stands ready to answer any reasonable need you might have of it – but it won’t go much further than that. Although it’s tidy and contemporary to look at, it’s also a bit charmless and derivative; while competent, comfortable and inoffensive to drive, it’s somewhat flavourless, limp and ordinary. There is, in short, plenty of credit to acknowledge here, but little to surprise you, and little affection won.