Czech SUV is ready to take a bite out of the competition

The Skoda Karoq isn’t as popular as models like the Honda CR-V and the Hyundai Tucson, but that could all change once people get to know this SUV and what it has to offer. Unlike some of its rivals, the Karoq can’t rely on its legacy because it doesn’t have one. What Skoda has done, though, is give the Karoq a good platform from which to stand on. It’s a well-packaged SUV that surprisingly has a lot to offer to customers in this segment. Most of all, the Karoq is proof that, even if Skoda isn’t as much of a household name as others, it has the ability to reach that level, thanks in large part to its new SUV.

2018 Skoda Karoq Exterior

2018 Skoda Karoq Exterior
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The Czech automaker isn’t known for having a wealth of aggressively styled cars, but the Karoq fits the bill.

In terms of design, the Karoq impresses in a way that’s surprising for Skoda. The Czech automaker isn’t known for having a wealth of aggressively styled cars, but the Karoq fits the bill. The headlamps integrate into the front grille, a design tactic that’s gained some traction in the crossover and SUV segments. Everything else about the front looks clean and angular, creating a sporty vibe that you don’t often see in a Skoda. Even the SUV’s overall shape lends itself to that design language. It’s conventionally attractive without being too sore to the eyes. In a lot of ways, that’s a job well done for Skoda’s designers.

The side profile follows along that same thought. The body lines are crisp and no-nonsense. The rear end offers taillights with a nice change-of-pace style to them. Even the extra trim on the lower rear bumper adds a splash of premiums to the model,

The Karoq looks the part of a promising SUV, even if it does have a few flaws. The standard halogen headlamps are head-scratching, to say the least. Turn them on, and the dreary yellow beam comes out. It would be fine for an SUV from the 2000’s, but we’re already approaching 2020. That shouldn’t fly anymore. Thankfully, Skoda is offering LED headlights as an option. There’s also an option to go big on the wheels, that is if 17-inch alloys aren’t your thing. Skoda can fit the SUV with the 19s, and you can be on your way knowing that you have a vehicle that can line up against the best mid-size SUVs in the segment and feel like it’s part of the party too.

2018 Skoda Karoq Exterior Dimensions

2018 Skoda Karoq Exterior
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Measuring 4,382 mm (172.5 inches) long, 1841 mm (72.5 inches) wide, and 1603 mm (63.1 inches) high, the Karoq straddles the line of being compact and midsize. We’re not gonna get bottled down with the semantics of its size because Skoda has come out saying that it’s a vehicle that has the Hyundai Tucson and the Mazda CX-5 as its rivals. So, yeah, small mid-size SUV it is.

Height 1,603 mm (63.1 inches)
Length 4,382 mm (172.5 inches)
Wheelbase 2,638 mm (103.8 inches)
Width 1,841 mm (72.5 inches)
Width (incl. mirrors) 2,025 mm (79.7 inches)

2018 Skoda Karoq Interior

2018 Skoda Karoq Interior
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There’s something you need to know about the Skoda Karoq’s interior. It’s completely well thought out in a way that makes you wonder what other automakers are doing with their lives. Surprised? Don’t be.

As an affordable mid-size SUV, the Karoq isn’t going to drown you in a sea of leather and Alcantara. If that’s what you’re after, you should be looking at another model. It does have a leather-lined steering wheel and gear selector, but it has cloth seats, which shouldn’t be an issue if your expectations line up with reality.

The layout of the dashboard is as clean as it can get. An 8.0-inch touchscreen media system with sat nav, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto sits in the middle, flanked by a pair of vertical A/C vents. You can opt for a bigger 9.2-inch screen should that suit you better. The knobs and buttons are found in the central tunnel, within reach of the gearbox. Everything’s in its proper place, so it doesn’t look too cluttered.

The seats are a little bit upright, but they can be adjusted to make for a more comfortable seating position. There’s enough space in the cabin too for even big adults to be comfortable in.

2018 Skoda Karoq Cargo Space and Storage

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There’s also an option to fold the seatbacks down and move them forward to free up an incredible 1,605 liters of cargo space.

Ultimately, space and cabin practicality is Skoda’s ultimate selling point for the Karoq. At the heart of it is VarioFlex, a flexible seating system that you can also find in the bigger Yeti SUV.

In a nutshell, VarioFlex allows you to slide and/or tilt the back seats to configure the amount of space you want inside. The Karoq already packs 479 liters of cargo capacity on its own, but sliding and tilting the seats opens up a more impressive 589 liters of cargo capacity. Oh, it doesn’t end there, either.

There’s also an option to fold the seatbacks down and move them forward to free up an incredible 1,605 liters of cargo space. And, if that still isn’t enough, you can completely remove the seats to give the Karoq 1,810 liters of cargo space. That’s almost in the vicinity of space offered by vans!

There is that small issue of finding a storage space for those seats, but that’s a minor caveat in the bigger scheme of things.

Ultimately, the Karoq’s interior is a pleasant surprise. Skoda worked around what it could do in the cabin and took advantage of the things where it could shine. In this case, it’s in the cargo space department. You don’t expect it, partly because it’s a Skoda. But, if this is what we can expect from the Czech automaker moving forward, then maybe it’s time we start looking at Skoda in a different light.

Luggage Capacity (Seats Down / Seats Removed) 1,630/1,810 liters
Luggage Capacity (Seats Up) 521 liters
No Of Seats 5

2018 Skoda Karoq Engine and Transmission

2018 Skoda Karoq Drivetrain
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The Skoda Koraq is available with a number of different engine options

The Skoda Koraq is available with a number of different engine options. The base unit is powered by a 1.0-liter three-cylinder TSI engine that produces 115 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. This engine helps the SUV sprint from 0 to 62 mph in 10.6 seconds to go with a top speed of 116 mph.

A 1.6-liter four-cylinder TDI diesel version of the Karoq also produces 115 ponies with torque numbers raised to 184 pound-feet. It’s 0.1 seconds slower to 62 mph - 10.7 seconds - compared to the base three-cylinder unit, but its top speed also sits at 116 mph.

Similarly, the Karoq is available with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. With this powertrain, you can expect to cover the distance from 0 to 62 mph in 8.4 seconds before setting off on a top speed run that maxes out at 126 mph.

2018 Skoda Karoq
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All engines available to the Karoq can be fitted with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic DSG transmission.

Finally, there’s the 2.0-liter four-cylinder TDI engine that also has 150 horsepower at its disposal with torque numbers raised, once again, to 251 pound-feet. This version can sprint from 0 to 62 mph in 8.7 seconds on its way to a top speed of 121 mph.

All engines available to the Karoq can be fitted with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic DSG transmission.

Engine 1.0-liter three-cylinder TSI 1.6-liter four-cylinder TDI 1.5-liter four-cylinder 2.0-liter four-cylinder TDI
Horsepower 115 HP 115 HP 150 HP 150 HP
Torque 148 LB-FT 184 LB-FT 184 LB-FT 251 LB-FT
0 to 62 mph 10.6 seconds 10.7 seconds 8.4 seconds 8.7 seconds
Top Speed 116 mph 116 mph 126 mph 121 mph

2018 Skoda Karoq Fuel Economy

2018 Skoda Karoq Exterior
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Fuel efficiency has never been one of Skoda’s strong suits, but the Karoq surprisingly does well in this department. Officially, Skoda claims that the Karoq can do 5.7 liters per 100 kilometers for the six-speed manual version and 5.8 liters per 100 kilometers for the seven-speed dual-clutch. That converts to around 41.27 miles per gallon for the manual and 40.5 mpg for the DSG version.

l/100km mpg
Skoda Karoq six-speed manual 5.7 l/100 km 41.27 mpg
Skoda Karoq seven-speed dual-clutch 5.8 l/100 km 40.5 mpg

That compares favorably to a number of its rivals, including the Hyundai Tucson Active and the Kia Sportage Si, both of which carry the same 7.9L/100km (29.75 mpg) returns. The Karoq’s fuel efficiency numbers are also better than the Mazda CX-5 Maxx (6.9L/100km - 34 mpg), the Chevrolet Equinox LS (6.9L/100 km - 34 mpg), and the Ford Escape Ambiente (7.2L/100 km - 32.7 mpg).

2018 Skoda Karoq Safety and Driver Assistance

The Euro NCAP has given the Karoq a five-star rating with mostly "adequate" or "good" ratings for all adult passengers

The Euro NCAP has given the Karoq a five-star rating with mostly "adequate" or "good" ratings for all adult passengers, with the exception of a "marginal" torso rating for rear passengers during front full-width crash testing. For children, the overall score was 79-percent with six-year-olds getting a weak rating for torso protection when in a front-facing booster seat during frontal impact. During lateral impact, the ratings were all "Good." The second-row outboard seats of the Karoq feature Isofix and i-Size car seat latches.

As far as safety features go, the Skoda Karoq comes standard with Park Assist, Lane Assist, Traffic Jam Assist, Blind Spot Detection, Front Assist with Pedestrian protection, and Emergency Assist.

Optional safety systems include an active-cruse-like system that assists in maintaining a safe following distance, traffic sign recognition, lane change and keep assist. You can opt for LED headlights for better visibility.

2018 Skoda Karoq Performance and Driving Impressions

2018 Skoda Karoq Exterior
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Overall, the Skoda Karoq has received good reviews as far as driving impressions go. Motor1’s UK outlet reports that its clutch biting point is a little vague, so it’s easy to overrev until you get used to it, but it is a pleasure to shift, and the steering is predictable with smooth response. Sport mode is said to feel "unnatural" while the body control is "tidy." Overall, Motor1 says the Karoq feels stable on the road, "even in fast corners."

According to Parkers, the base gasoline engine (a 1.0-liter with 115 horsepower) is a little sluggish on motorways and "during overtaking maneuvers." It is acceptable for light, in-town travel if you don’t venture out too much, though. The outlet claims that the best option is the 2.0-liter diesel with 150 horsepower, which is a touch noisier but "the engine of choice if you plan on using the Karoq as a tow car."

2018 Skoda Karoq Prices

2018 Skoda Karoq Exterior
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The Skoda Karoq is priced depending on its trim. The base Karoq SE starts at £20,880, which converts to around $24,350 based on current exchange rates. From there, the prices go up, beginning with the Karoq SE Technology, which is priced from £22,180 ($25,860). Then there’s the Karoq SE L that carries a £23,170 ($27,000) price tag and the range-topping Karoq Edition that starts at £27,115 ($31,600).

Overall, the Karoq is affordable, though it’s not as cheap as you might think. While most of its rivals start at around the same level, there are a handful of Japanese and Korean models that are priced a little bit cheaper than the Skoda. The Hyundai Tucson, for example, carries a price tag in the range of $21,300 to $28,175. It’s a lot cheaper than the Karoq. The same thing can be said for the Mazda CX-5, which starts at around $22,500 and goes all the way up to $29,300.

The competing SUVs that fall along the same price range as the Skoda Karoq include the Honda CR-V ($24,000 to $32,000), the Chevy Equinox ($24,000 to $31,800), and the Toyota Rav4 ($25,000 to $34,750).

2018 Skoda Karoq Warranty

2018 Skoda Karoq Exterior
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Skoda offers up a two year unlimited milage warranty for the Karoq, along with a third year up to 60,000 miles, and a 12 year body protection warranty. Extended warranties are also available at a small cost that will cover up to four years and 80,000 miles or five years and 100,000 miles. Pricing for the extended warrant on this model has yet to be announced, but it should fall somewhere in the $400 area for the four-year warranty and closer to $700 for the five-year warranty.

The warranty is full transferable should you decide to sell, and will cover repairs throughout the EU with a few minor limitations. You can read full warranty information on Skoda’s website.

2018 Skoda Karoq Competition

Hyundai Tucson

2016 - 2017 Hyundai Tucson
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The Skoda Karoq isn’t lacking in competition. That much, I think, we’ve already established. Among its chief rivals is the Hyundai Tucson, which was on the receiving end of a recent update. The 2019 Tucson comes with a lot of new items, including a slightly revised grille, refreshed taillights, and new wheels on the outside, an extensive upgrade on the inside, and an updated powertrain lineup that now includes a 2.4-liter unit with 181 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. This engine complements the same 2.0-liter engine with the same 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque output. All told, the Santa Fe is priced comfortably below the Skoda Karoq. That’s a big plus for the Korean automaker, though its Czech rival has proven itself to be worth its asking price.

Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai Tucson.

Honda CR-V

2017 Honda CR-V High Resolution Exterior
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The Honda CR-V is a titan in this segment. It’s been around for five generations, and it’s proven itself to be one of the most popular mid-size SUVs in its segment. That’s something that the Skoda Karoq has to deal with, and it doesn’t help that the new CR-V looks every bit the stunner we thought it would be. Beyond its sportscar-derived design language, the CR-V also has a fresh interior look and a dashboard layout that is admittedly a little too premium for its status. That’s a great thing, by the way. On the power front, the CR-V packs a 2.4-liter engine for the entry model with 184 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Higher-spec trims get a 1.5-liter turbo with 190 ponies and 179 pound-feet of torque. If there’s a weakness in the CR-V that the Skoda Karoq can take advantage of, it’s in terms of price. The base CR-V LX starts north of $24,000 while the top-of-the-line model will set you back around $33,000.

Read our full review on the 2018 Honda CR-V.

Conclusion

2018 Skoda Karoq Exterior
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There once was a time when the mere mention of a Skoda drew sneakers and giggles in the industry. The Czech automaker has a come a long way since those days, and it’s proven itself to be capable of competing against the likes of Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai. The new Karoq SUV is a good example of how far Skoda has come. It’s not the best-looking SUV in its segment, but it is a looker in its own right. Combine that with what is arguably the most versatile interior, a solid lineup of engines, and an affordable price tag tie it all off, and you have a model that should definitely be taken seriously by customers and rival models alike. The days of Skoda being more of a punchline are over. If anything, the automaker showed in the Karoq that it’s more than capable of delivering its own haymakers.

  • Leave it
    • Still doesn’t have the engine variety we’d like
    • Still needs to convince people that it’s a legitimate SUV
    • Won’t have an easy time at that with so many rivals in the field

Further reading

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Read more Skoda news.

Press release

The ŠKODA KAROQ is a completely new compact SUV from the long-standing Czech brand. The emotive and dynamic design with numerous crystalline elements characterises ŠKODA’s new SUV design language. As a true ŠKODA, the ŠKODA KAROQ offers exceptional space, new driver-assistance systems, full LED headlights and – for the first time in a ŠKODA – a digital instrument panel. Five engine variants are available from 85 kW (115 PS) to 140 kW (190 PS), of which four are new. Typical of ŠKODA are smart ideas for the brand’s new compact SUV which include features such as the rear-seat VarioFlex system and the virtual pedal for the hands-free opening of the boot. Particularly long items can be comfortably transported in the interior of the compact SUV – this is made possible by the folding front passenger seat.

​It is clear from the exterior shape, modified lines and larger dimensions that this is a completely new vehicle. The ŠKODA KAROQ is a sports utility vehicle with character: The emotive and dynamic design with numerous crystalline elements characterises ŠKODA’s new SUV design language.

The compact SUV measures 4,382 mm in length, is 1,841 mm wide, and 1,605 mm high. The increase in size benefits the passengers. The kneeroom is 69 mm. The long wheelbase of 2,638 mm (all-wheel version: 2,630 mm) gives the ŠKODA KAROQ a comfortable stance on the road and provides an indication of the generously proportioned interior.

The ŠKODA brand stands for an exceptional package. This also applies to the new KAROQ. The luggage compartment has a capacity of 521 l with the rear seats in place. With the rear seats folded down, the volume increases to 1,630 l. The VarioFlex system consists of three separate seats, which can be individually adjusted and the seats can also be completely removed – and the SUV is then converted into a van with a maximum load capacity of 1,810 liters.

Segment leader: connectivity solutions
The ŠKODA KAROQ is at the top of its segment with innovative connectivity solutions. The infotainment building blocks come from the second generation of the Group’s Modular Infotainment Matrix, offering state-of-the-art functions, interfaces and equipped with capacitive touch displays. The top systems Columbus and Amundsen have a Wi-Fi hotspot. An optional LTE module is available for the Columbus system. The Internet connection is based on today’s fastest mobile radio standard, with which passengers can surf and access email freely with their phones and tablets.

The new mobile online services ŠKODA Connect are divided into two categories: Infotainment online services are used for information and navigation; the CareConnect services for assistance in case of breakdowns and emergencies. The Emergency Call button, which will be part of the standard equipment in Europe from 2018, is now available as an optional CareConnect service. Additional online services can be accessed via the ŠKODA Connect app. These can be used to remotely check, configure and find the parking place of your car using a smartphone.

The intelligent capability of pairing a car with a smartphone has reached a new level in the ŠKODA KAROQ. The SmartLink+ platform, compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLinkTM, is available as an option for the basic infotainment system Swing. SmartLink+ comes as standard with higher infotainment systems. The Phonebox with inductive charging couples the smartphone to the roof antenna and simultaneously charges it wirelessly.

Reliable helpers: driver assistance systems
The ŠKODA KAROQ offers a comprehensive range of driver assistance systems. New comfort systems include Park Assist, Lane Assist and Traffic Jam Assist. Blind Spot Detect, Front Assist with predictive pedestrian protection and Emergency Assist serve to increase safety.

Additional driver assistance systems are available for the ŠKODA KAROQ to keep the car at a safe distance from the car ahead, to make it easier for the driver to change and keep in lane, to point out important traffic signs, and to assist when parking.

The freely programmable digital instrument panel is available for the first time in a ŠKODA. In the ŠKODA KAROQ, the cockpit displays can be set to the driver’s individual preferences.

Full-LED headlights with clear-lens optics are available as an option for the ŠKODA KAROQ from the Ambition trim level upwards. In the interior, new LED ambient lighting in the decorative door trims and the dashboard creates a pleasant atmosphere, which can be set to one of ten colours.

Powerful and agile: engines and chassis
The ŠKODA KAROQ offers state-of-the-art technologies for engines. Five engine variants – two petrol and three diesel engines – are on offer. The two petrol engines and two diesels are new in the line-up. The displacement ranges are 1.0, 1.5, 1.6 and 2.0 l; the power range is from 85 kW (115 PS) to 140 kW (190 PS). All powertrains feature turbo-charged direct injection units as well as start -stop- technology and brake energy recovery. They are extremely efficient and comply with EU 6 regulations. With the exception of the most powerful diesel, all drivetrains can be ordered with a 6-speed manual gearbox or 7-speed DSG. The 2.0 TDI with 140 kW (190 PS) comes as standard with 4×4 drive and 7-speed DSG. The new 1.5 TSI has the special feature of cylinder deactivation.

The ŠKODA KAROQ chassis also sets benchmarks in its segment and demonstrates its quality, even off the beaten track. From the Ambition trim level upwards, Driving Mode Select with the Normal, Sport, Eco, Individual and Snow (4x4) modes is available on request. The Off-Road mode with all-wheel drive improves the driving characteristics on rough terrain.

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