Karoq SE L 1.5 TSI 150PS DSG
after a mid-size family-
friendly SUV then youre
be spoilt for choice. While there
is a huge range of models in this
competitive sector, Skodas
stands out from its peers as a fine
all-rounder and one that wont
break the bank...
GOOD TO DRIVE, it's also practical and versatile thanks to its VarioFlex
seating (mixes and matches a large boot with variable rear cabin legroom), plus
it's economical to run. Both petrol and diesel powerplants, with manual or seven-speed
dual-clutch gearboxes, along with front- and all-wheel drive as well as a decent
number of trim levels are available so you can bag the specification that best
suits your needs.
just spent a week pootling around in the 150PS (148bhp) 1.5-litre petrol-powered
TSI power-wise it's the pick of the range: it's always on the ball and
acceleration is agreeably punchy, plus it's eager low-down, and tireless on
fast open roads even when passengered-up. With an official combined economy
figure of 41.5-42.8mpg and a seven-speed DSG transmission it runs to 128mph
and takes care of the 0-62 sprint in a nippy 8.8 seconds. We tend to work test
cars hard as we like our test figures to be genuinely 'real world' our
1.5 TSI's week-long average came in at a worthy 41.6mpg.
Not that you're limited to one-and-a-half litres. Alternatively you could go
for the 110PS 1.0 petrol it's perfectly fine, especially for lots of
town work. Two gutsy TDI turbodiesels are also available: both of 2.0-litre
capacity and offering either 150PS or 116PS (the 150PS version can also be had
with four-wheel drive).
driving position is
first-rate and visibility out
excellent courtesy of
the commanding seating
but also the large side
windows and thin
windscreen pillars, all of
which makes placing
the Karoq a breeze,
especially in traffic.
The multifunction wheel
is a smart two-spoker
thumbwheel controls and
its all as good to use as
it looks including the
voice command button
if you prefer you can just
say Laura out loud
More important than the powerplants though is the cabin and the Karoq's
is a great place to spend time. It looks classy thanks to an attractive fascia
treatment centred around an 8-inch landscape format touchscreen, and the graphics
are crystal clear. Soft-touch surfaces along with quality high-gloss inserts
and detailing add an additional veneer of good taste. And not only is the fit
and finish meticulous but everything feels solid enough to take whatever your
family can throw at it and still come away looking smart.
Drivers force-fed 'everything touchscreen' will heartily cheer the Karoq's dual-zone
climate system's panel of traditional controls sited immediately beneath the
main touchscreen: proper knurled knobs and switches that are super-easy to operate
while driving. And even in these tech-rich times we still need to display parking
tickets so it's nice to see that the Karoq comes with an in-screen holder for
The driving position is first-rate and visibility out excellent courtesy of
the commanding seating but also the large side windows and thin windscreen pillars,
all of which makes placing the Karoq a breeze, especially in traffic. The Karoq's
rear pillars are slimmer than is usual which adds a bonus of reassuringly clear
over-the-shoulder views. The multifunction wheel is a smart two-spoker with
delightfully functional chromed thumbwheel controls and it's all as good to
use as it looks including the voice command button if you prefer, you
can just say "Laura" out loud to proceed.
The DSG autobox is as simple as they come with a useful toggle switch between
Drive and Sport; if you want full control of the shifting there's a manual mode
flick the lever left then nudge the selector fore/aft to change up/down
as you want. Simples! Immediately behind the selector lever are the switches
for the electric park brake and its autohold function and Skoda's Drive Select
that lets you choose or change the drive modes between Normal, Eco, Sport, and
Individual (4x4 models get an additional dedicated Off-road setting).
Generous glasshouse glazing creates an airy and light cabin and makes the roominess
even more welcoming. Both front chairs are height adjustable and even with their
seat base ratcheted up taller users will still enjoy a good fist+ of headroom.
And when it comes to storage there's more than enough room left over to tidy
away every last bit of all that personal stuff we have to cart around with us
big, long door bins that store 1.5-litre bottles are supplemented by
a large cooled glovebox, a commodious central bin capped by an extending and
height-adjustable armrest between passenger and driver, a deep tray at the base
of the centre stack with USB slots and an extremely useful lidded bin built
into the top of the dash.
heated sports-style seats, upholstered in a comfortable and all-season friendly
microsuede, are well shaped and supportive in all the right places and benefit
from easily adjustable headrests and lumbar support plus height-adjustable seat
belts. One of MotorBar's testers suffers from a bad back and it was telling
that despite the miles she spent behind the Karoq's wheel we didn't hear a single
murmur of complaint. The opposite, in fact.
open a rear door
why this mid-size Skoda
SUV is so popular with
families. For a start
the door openings are
large which is not just
good news for adult
passengers but also for
those who need to get
children in and out of
and hassle-free job in
It helps too that with these SUV bodystyles you don't drop down into your seat
but simply park your posterior and swing your legs in. Getting out is equally
hassle-free; no wonder they're popular with so many different drivers.
Naturally, comms are comprehensive with Skoda's foolproof Amundsen SatNav and
infotainment system (one of the nicer ones around, with clear graphics and a
foolproof operating system), SD card slot, voice control, Smartlink (wired for
Android Auto; wireless for Apple CarPlay), Smartlink+ with integrated WiFi,
Infotainment Online services, a DAB radio, Bluetooth, and an SOS button to contact
the emergency services (connection is automatic in the event of a crash). And
when it comes to firing up the engine it's conveniently keyless, as too is entry
and locking and leaving.
Other items making life easy include dual-zone climate control, powerfolding
heated door mirrors with auto dimming and boarding spots, auto-dimming rearview
mirror, a rearview camera with an active grid guide supported by front and rear
parking sensors, and auto lights and wipes. You also get adaptive cruise control
with a speed limiter, electric windows all round, drive-away auto door locking,
privacy glass, Skoda's VarioFlex rear seating system, foldable tables on the
front seatbacks, and even a compact umbrella stored beneath the front passenger
seat. On the outside you'll find 18-inch alloy wheels and chrome roof rails.
Safety-wise there's a full suite of airbags (front, head, knee, curtain, and
front side), Skoda's radar-based Front Assist which scans the road ahead and
automatically brakes for you should a collision appear likely, full LED headlights
with adaptive front light system and LED daytime running lights, Pedestrian
monitoring, a driver fatigue warning, Lane Assist, LED cornering front fog lights,
rear LED taillights, tyre pressure monitoring, and drive-away auto door locking.
open a rear door and you'll quickly see why this mid-size Skoda SUV is regularly
endorsed by families. For a start the door openings are large which is not just
good news for adult passengers but also for those who need to get children in
and out of child seats a quick and hassle-free job in the Karoq.
rolling on its
18-inch alloy wheels
the Karoq does an
impressive job of ironing
out the bumps and
youll need to spend a
much thicker wedge of
the folding if you want
to find a comfier SUV.
are a stroll in the park
for the Karoq as it wafts
munching up the miles
while keeping your
Grown-ups, even six-footers, travelling in the rear cabin enjoy plenty of foot-,
knee- and leg-room and a full fist-and-a-half of headroom feel free to
wear a hat! More good news: three side-by-side in the back is doable and you
shouldn't hear any grumbles even from the adults.
Adding to the ease of travel are comfy seats with rake-adjustable backrests,
large door bins that hold 1.5-litre bottles, central air vents, privacy glass,
a deep and well-padded drop-down central armrest with built-in cupholders, storage
pouches, multi-position pop-up 'picnic' tables on both front seatbacks (these
can be set level or at various angles to favour a tablet or suchlike) with cupholders
that pop out when needed. Kids will love 'em!
the SE L version has another ace its sliding VarioFlex rear seating which
serves up maximum passenger/load flexibility. The three separate rear seats
split approximately 40:20:40 recline as well as slide fore and
aft and are individually adjustable. This is a superb feature as it not only
allows the boot space to be extended but alternatively means each passenger
can adjust legroom to suit; and it also permits long and wide items to be carried
alongside passengers without having to commit to full loadbay mode and lose
the use of all three rear seats.
Which brings us neatly to the ride. Even rolling on its standard 18-inch alloy
wheels the Karoq does an impressive job of ironing out the bumps and you'll
need to spend a much thicker wedge of the folding if you want to find a comfier
SUV. Ride-wise, motorways are a stroll in the park for the Karoq as it wafts
along, the soundtrack from the petrol engine muted into the background, nonchalantly
munching up the miles while keeping your passengers suitably relaxed.
The Karoq's character a well-fettled balance between sporting and comfort
is decidedly driver-friendly. The helm feels good in your hands and delivers
quick, accurate and nicely weighted steering that combined with decent grip
even with just the front wheels being powered delivers confidence
when slicing through the twisties. Vented front discs boost the stopping power
and braking is always reassuring.
a mid-size SUV the Karoq feels encouragingly agile and is as satisfying to press
on in as it is when mixing it assuredly in the cut and thrust of the school
run. Should you have a need to tow or even stray from the blacktop, then four-wheel
drive is always an option. One-up or five-up, this Karoq is a fine steer.
Karoqs boot is one of the biggest in its class. Access is brilliant
with the high-lifting tailgate taking the mesh luggage cover up with
it. Models equipped with the VarioFlex system can expand their boots
from 479 litres to 588 litres by sliding the rear seats so plenty
of room for buggies, bikes and even
a full-grown St. Bernard!
Karoq's boot is one of the biggest in its class big enough, in fact,
to stow 8+ carryon suitcases below the window line. Access is brilliant with
the high-lifting tailgate taking the mesh luggage cover up with it. Non-VarioFlex
equipped models have a fixed 521-litre boot with a height adjustable boot floor
but those equipped with VarioFlex can expand their boots from 479 litres to
588 litres by sliding the rear seats so plenty of room for buggies, bikes
and even a full-grown St. Bernard!
the backrests down flat or even go one further and tumble them upright against
the front seatbacks and all Karoqs give you a 1,605-litre loadbay. For some
unexpected supersizing you can remove all three seats as separate units to create
a van-like 1,810-litre cargo-hold.
Other thoughtful touches include a removable LED torch in the boot, sturdy repositionable
bag-hooks, stretchy luggage nets, a handy oddments tray and corner pockets,
and a pair of placeholders that can be Velcroed anywhere on the reversible boot
mat (one side carpet; the other tough and waterproofed for your new lockdown
best friend) to prevent items from slipping and sliding around.
neat feature is the optional powered towbar that, at the press of a button,
retracts out of the way into the rear bumper. If you're planning on doing any
towing you'll be pleased to know that the 1.5 petrol engine is happy to haul
a braked 1,400kg (the 2.0-litre diesels are good for more: 1,800kg).
The nicely-handling Karoq is a first-rate all-rounder with a bunch of winning
features. Easy and pleasing to drive with a commanding driving position and
a very liveable and comfortable cabin, it majors on practicality (those versatile
VarioFlex seats!) and genuinely has room to keep the whole family relaxed while
enjoying the views. Meaning finding that perfect family-friendly SUV need take
you no further than your nearest Skoda showroom. ~ MotorBar
Skoda Karoq SE L 1.5 TSI 150PS DSG
Maximum speed: 128mph | 0-62mph: 8.8 seconds | Test Average: 41.6mpg
Power: 148bhp | Torque: 184lb ft | CO2: 150-155g/km