Skoda Karoq SE L
IF I hadn’t known which company made the Karoq, the model’s name would have given me a clue.
For a number of Skoda’s cars have a title ending in ‘q’, with the Kodiaq, the Kamiq and the new, all-electric Enyaq in the line-up with the Karoq.
They are distinctive names, and the five-door SUV-crossover Karoq is a strong contender in a busy sector of the market.
I was reacquainting myself with the car following an initial road test soon after its launch, and happy to rediscover the many fine qualities I found then.
Our test car, a luxury SE L 2.0 TDI 150PS 4×4 DSG, was a handsome motor, looking dynamic on 18in alloy wheels. Its clean, dynamic lines help create a winning design.
The interior continues the look, marrying design that rewards the eye with pleasingly tactile surfaces and high-quality materials throughout.
Ergonomics are to the fore, with all controls falling easily to hand and foot. Slip behind the wheel and the microsuede-upholstered seats (height-adjustable for both driver and front passenger) feel supportive and immediately comfortable.
The good looks and comfort are complemented by plenty of practicality. The VarioFlex rear seats, fitted as standard in our car, are divided into three separate seats rather than the 60/40 split found in many cars. This offers much more flexibility when carrying long loads as well as rear passengers.
They also recline, slide back and forth independently, and can be removed from the car, freeing up even more space.
The Karoq’s boot is one of the biggest in the family SUV class. With the rear seat-backs folded down it easily accommodated my mountain bike, laid flat. I dropped the front wheel out of the forks as I find the bike easier to load that way, but if I had pushed the car’s front passenger seat forward there would have been room to keep the wheel in place.
A set of luggage nets helps keep smaller items secure and there is a host of neat storage areas throughout the car, including bottle holders in the front driver and passenger doors.
The Czech Republic manufacturer has an eye for helpful details, like the umbrella stored under the passenger seat and the foldable table on each of the front-seat backrests.
The car featured a wealth of equipment including three-spoke, leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel; high-spec satnav; automatic headlight control; multi-function trip computer; cruise control with speed limiter; drive mode-select (with off-road function as ours was a 4×4 model); dual-zone climate control; heated, power-folding door mirrors; front and rear parking sensors; rear-view camera and illuminated and cooled glovebox and three-stage heated front seats.
Hi-tech safety features include driver fatigue sensor, emergency rear brake signal, front assist radar and automatic braking, front, head, knee, curtain and front-side airbags, pedestrian monitor and tyre-pressure monitor, plus a whole suite of electronic safety devices.
The driving experience is pleasurable and confidence-inspiring, the two-litre 148bhp diesel engine laying down its power via a smooth-changing ,seven-speed automatic (DSG) gearbox, and the car feels assured in all motoring conditions, from motorway hauls to tootling around town.
Performance figures are 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds and a top speed of 123mph, with a combined fuel consumption of 42.8-39.8mpg and 172-185g/km CO2.
Price: £33,940 (inc options: metallic paint, steel space-saving spare wheel, and traffic sign recognition technology).