The new Skoda Karoq it’s grown slightly in size over the Yeti in all departments, chiefly for the benefit of interior passengers, and in true Skoda style ends up with a boot much bigger than that of its main rival, the Nissan Qashqai.There are five engines in the range, and you can choose between front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox, or four-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
Determined to ensure that the Karoq has a distinct Skoda identity, the design team has come up with an interior that is far removed from both the Seat Ateca’s and VW Tiguan’s.
In fact, the Koraq takes most of its inspiration from the larger Kodiaq, with the dashboard design showcasing the minimalist, logical style that we’ve come to expect from the Czech brand. At the centre of the dash is a new 9.2in colour touchscreen infotainment system similar to the one fitted to the latest Volkswagen Golf. It certainly looks the part, responds quickly and is easy to navigate, although the new gesture control technology (which activates features in response to hand movements) is a bit clunky.
A digital instrument panel (most likely to be a cost option), meanwhile, lets you choose from four specific layouts. These range from Classic (which presents engine revs, speed and location) to Reduced, which only displays key information chosen by the driver, such as speed and remaining miles before a refuel is needed. Like the infotainment screen, it is easy to use and can display a vast range of information clearly.
The Karoq also promises to be at the top of its class for driver comfort. There is a wide range of adjustment for both the steering wheel and seat, and, thanks to thin windscreen pillars, visibility is better than most rivals. Combined with a driver’s seat that is nicely aligned with the steering wheel and pedals, lengthy trips should also be a relative breeze.
As a family-focused SUV, the rear door openings are also particularly large, which should make fitting a car seat a rather painless affair. And once back there, you’re met with plenty of leg room – even tall adults won’t find their knees pressed up against the front seatbacks.
inside, with a more practical interior than direct rivals. Plus, it should make desirable high-tech features such as digital instruments and gesture control more accessible than ever.
Granted, issues with the steering and low-speed ride will need to be addressed before production starts, but we have high hopes that Skoda will work on this, and that its optional adaptive dampers will bring some traditional Skoda-like compliance to proceedings.
Skoda is yet to confirm final pricing or an on-sale date for the Karoq, but insiders have informed us that the Karoq could undercut the current Yeti’s starting price.
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