Overnight the all-new Skoda Karoq was revealed in Europe, a crucial new car for the Czech brand. Sitting on the same platform as the Volkswagen Tiguan, the Skoda Karoq competes against other medium SUVs such as the Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson and Ford Escape – a segment worth 174,192 sales in Australia alone (based off 2016 figures).
Despite being similar in mission, Skoda claims that the Karoq isn’t a direct replacement for its former small SUV, the Yeti, which was released in 2009. Instead, the Karoq is larger, more sophisticated, features more upscale styling and a wider range of available technology.
The Karoq is based on the same MQB platform as many other Volkswagen Group products. In fact, the Tiguan and its SEAT Ateca cousin are the closest relatives for the Karoq, with similar dimensions and available engines.
Dimensionally the Karoq measures at 4,382mm long, 1,841mm wide and 1,605mm tall. With a wheelbase of 2,638mm (2,630mm for all-wheel drive variants), the Karoq is both smaller than its platform brothers Tiguan and Ateca. Bootspace is measured at a minimum of 521-litres, and can be grown to 1,630-litres.
Choose the optional VarioFlex seating, where the seats are split 40:20:40, can both slide and recline, and have the ability to be removed altogether, liberating space of 1,810-litres.
Initially, the Karoq will be available overseas with a range of five different engines. An 85kW/175Nm 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol, a 110kW/250Nm 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol with cylinder deactivation to enhance fuel economy, an 85kW/250Nm 1.6-litre turbo diesel, a 110kW/340Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel and a 140kW/400Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel.
Fuel economy is listed as just 4.3L/100km for the 110kW 2.0TDI, 4.5L/100km for the 1.6TDI, 5.1L/100km for the 1.5TSI, 5.2L100km for the 1.0TSI and 5.3L/100km for the 140kW 2.0TDI 4×4 DSG. Most engines are available with a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, with front- or all-wheel drive. Like the Tiguan, the 140kW diesel is seven-speed DSG and all-wheel drive only.
The Skoda Karoq is one of the brand’s most advanced products when it comes to available equipment. Volkswagen’s Active Info Display digital dials makes its debut on a Skoda product for the first time, and is available in four different modes; Classic, digital, Info-Profile and Reduced, each offering different designs and levels of information for drivers to choose. Like the Active Info Display and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, the Skoda system is customisable and has the ability to display maps and other information in addition to traditional dials.
The Karoq is also available with heated front and rear seats – even with the optional VarioFlex rear seating, a heated steering wheel, touchscreen infotainment systems ranging from 6.5- up to 9.2-inches, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, DAB+ digital radio, LED head- and tailights with cornering LED front foglamps, LED interior mood lighting with ten different colour options, integrated WiFi hotspots and access to the Skoda Connect app, which allows owners to access various functions of their car via their smartphone.
Also available is a range of active safety equipment, including autonomous emergency braking with forward collision warning and pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear traffic alert, a driver fatigue monitor, traffic sign recognition and lane assist. We would bet on AEB and at least adaptive cruise control being standard equipment across the range, as is the case in the mid-size Octavia, larger Superb and Kodiaq SUV.
Skoda Australia has confirmed that the Karoq will launch in the second quarter of 2018. Chasing Cars predicts a lineup of both front- and all-wheel drive variants using the 110kW 1.5TSI and 110kW 2.0TDI, possibly with the 140kW 2.0TDI reserved for the higher end of the range. Rumoured future additions to the Skoda Karoq range include an off-road focussed Scout, a sports-styled SportLine and performance RS variants, possibly using the same 169kW 2.0TSI engine as the popular Octavia RS.