Skoda Karoq TDI - Karoq Around The Clock
Now that the box that was the Yeti is no longer with us, the more conventionally styled Karoq has arrived as the brand’s smallest SUV on offer.
It’s a good move as the Yeti was a Marmite car; you either liked it or you didn’t. The Karoq is a slightly bigger vehicle being 159mm longer and 48mm wider, but it’s 41mm closer to the ground lending it a sleeker overall apperance.
It competes in a busy space with the likes of the Kia Sportage and Hyundai’s Tucson, and also with its cousins, the Volkswagen Tiguan and the Seat Ateca. However, the Karoq has some quality ammunition to fight with.
While the exterior design is similar to it’s bigger sibling, the seven-seat Kodiaq, the five-seat Karoq is smaller and nimbler to drive, and our test vehicle was the top spec all-wheel drive Style version, which isn’t lacking in grip or grunt thanks to its 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine.
While the TDI mirrors the 110kW output of the 1.4-litre turbopetrol engine in the front-wheel-drive Karoq TSI Style, the all-paw oiler model has 340 Newton metres of torque as opposed to 250, and this makes for sterner urge in the mid-range.
The combination of the all-wheel-drive system, and the punchy turbodiesel with a responsive seven-speed twin-clutch makes this car a discreet sleeper.
The engine is so quiet, even under load, that those with a heavy right foot need to be mindful to keep speed in check, or use the standard active cruise. Skoda is known for its more generous level of standard equipment and the Karoq TDI Style is no exception. It’s got the full suite of driver assistance features, electrically powered everything, and one of the largest and most intuitive touchscreens in the business.
The luggage capacity is large for the class at 521 litres to the window line with the rear seats in place or 756 litres with the rear seats folded down. The TDI Style on test arrived in a fetching shade of Quartz Grey metallic paint with a few options fitted, such as the $2500 Plus pack which included the Varioflex folding and removable rear seats, full leather upholstery, sports steering wheel with flappy paddles, and steel pedals.
In addition to this was the $2500 sliding panoramic sunroof, and the $1650 factory-fitted folding towbar. This is one of the Karoq’s best features because at the click of the release button in the boot, the towbar appears and you pull it gently into place.
When not needed, another click of the button and a gentle push downwards and it disappears under the bumper, out of sight, and out of reach of your shinbone! And the TDI is rated at 2000kg braked, 500 more than the petrol.
We had only one minor quibble with the Karoq on test; the leather seats didn’t have heating elements, these are a $575 option, and something that was certainly missed during the recent cold snap.
But that omission aside, the Karoq is definitely one to add to the compact SUV shopping list.