About a year and a half ago we ran a Skoda Yeti as a long-term test car and were equally charmed by its cheeky utilitarian nature and frustrated by some of its more outdated features.
Not long after we said goodbye to our test car Skoda said goodbye to the whole Yeti range and welcomed in its replacement – the Karoq.
So, it seemed only sensible to get our hands on the new model for a few months to see how the Yeti’s, albeit indirect, replacement shapes up.
It certainly shapes up differently. The Yeti was a chunky, cheeky, completely individual looking thing. You either loved it or hated it.
Skoda Karoq Edition
Price: £28,415 (£29,885 as tested) Engine: 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbo, petrol Power: 148bhp Torque: 185lb/ft Transmission: Seven-speed automatic Top speed: 126mph 0-62mph: 8.6 seconds Economy: 50.4mpg (NEDC) CO2 emissions: 127g/km
The Karoq is less likely to evoke such emotions. From most angles it bears a striking resemblance to the larger Kodiaq. That’s no bad thing, both are handsome, grown-up looking machines with plenty of purposeful squared-off detailing but their similarities are a sign of the growing homogenisation of car design.
The Karoq’s sharp-edged looks make it appear bigger than it actually is and the boxy wheel arches somehow manage to make the standard-fit 19-inch alloys of our Edition test car look small. The deep metallic blue also compliments the styling nicely and should be easier to keep clean than our white Yeti.
As well as being more grown-up to look at the Karoq aims to be a more mature, user-friendly experience than the model it replaced.
All models get modern technology such as front assist autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian monitor. They also come with 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control and a touchscreen media system with Mirrorlink connectivity.
Our test model, however, sits at the top of the range so throws a tonne of convenience and safety kit in. The giant panoramic glass roof is already a hit, as is the leather upholstery and 9.2-inch media and navigation screen but we’ve yet to test the adaptive cruise control or lane keep assist.
At the heart of our car is a 1.5-litre petrol engine that uses a turbocharger to produce a healthy 148bhp and fancy cylinder deactivation technology to cut emissions and offer a claimed 51mpg. Everyone knows that the official test figures are almost impossible to match in real life but early indications are that the Karoq falls quite some way short of that hopeful figure. We’ve been seeing just a touch over 30mpg in our first couple of weeks with it.
If it isn’t the most frugal engine out there the four-pot petrol is at least quiet and smooth and in our test car is allied to a seven-speed DSG auto. That’s already helping take the strain out of stop-start commuter traffic, although it can feel a touch clunky in low-speed shifts. In its favour, the Karoq has a sensible auto-hold and stop-start arrangement that disengages the gearbox so even if the engine is still running it doesn’t drag against the brake until you apply the throttle.
It’s a little thing but there are still a lot of cars out there that get this setup wrong.
The Karoq is full of little things like that that make daily life easier. There’s cupholders that grip bottles so you can open then with one hand, the ice scraper with tyre depth gauge stored neatly in the filler cap flap and the seemingly obvious choice to put the start button where the ignition slot would be.
We’ll find out if such little touches are enough for the Karoq to work its way into our hearts the way its predecessor did.