The Skoda among SUVs
This rejuvenation cure starts with the exterior. And there the emphasis is on the promised functionality. Thanks to various small adjustments, the aerodynamics have been improved making the Karoq quieter and more economical. From now on, the grille opens and closes according to the need for cooling. The underbody protection and panels under the wide-angle headlights ensure a smoother air flow. Even the rims have less air resistance. Thanks to all these adjustments, the CD value has dropped by 10% and 5 grams of CO2 per kilometre are saved.
Besides these useful changes, the exterior has been slightly modified to better fit Skoda's new house style. The Karoq therefore looks as modern as the more recent models.
Take a seat behind the steering wheel and it is immediately obvious that the Karoq is a true SUV. Despite the fact that this is a mid-sized SUV, the seating is high and the driver has the sensation of operating a large, mighty machine. Even with the seat in the lowest position, the seat is significantly higher than average. Nevertheless, the headroom is more than sufficient.
In the rear the Karoq also offers a remarkable amount of head and legroom for a car this size. The boot measures 521 litres (1,630 litres with the rear seats folded down) and is even roomier than SUVs with larger exterior dimensions!
To make the Karoq more environmentally friendly, seat covers made from recycled PET bottles are now available. This fabric looks great and feels as strong as conventional material.
Depending on the chosen trim level, the equipment ranges from just what is necessary to modern and on the verge of excessive. The latter includes electrically adjustable seats covered in leather, an electrically operated rear door and a high-quality audio system by specialist Canton. The latter has a clear and sparkling sound, but has difficulty with demanding music with extreme dynamics. Completely new is the possibility to check the technical condition of the car by means of an app on the mobile phone.
In terms of safety, progress is limited. Existing systems have only been improved. For example, traffic sign recognition has become more accurate and the lane assistant also recognises road markings during road works. This gives the Karoq a high score for safety, but the car certainly isn't leading the way.
There are no new engines available for model year 2022, so electric propulsion is reserved for the Skoda Enyaq iV. Even (mild)hybrids are not on the menu. However, the internal friction of the existing engines has been lowered, making them slightly more efficient (-11 grams CO2 per km).
First the 1.5 TSI petrol engine was driven, which is quiet and smooth. Skoda's engineers clearly chose quietness and efficiency over performance. The Karoq therefore feels big and strong, but when actually asking for more power, it doesn't deliver. Only when pushed very hard does the 150 hp / 250 Nm four-cylinder delivers its power, and even then with reluctance. This applies to both the version with a manual gearbox and the version with a seven-speed automatic gearbox (DSG).
For comparison, the lightest petrol engine on the price list was also driven: the 110 PS / 200 Nm strong 1.0 TSI. When driving calmly with the flow of traffic, the difference with the stronger engine is minimal. Also the 1.0 TSI is quiet, strong, but not very decisive. Only in the mountains or when suddenly overtaking does it become necessary to shift down, yet the 1.0 TSI never pushes as hard.
All three test cars (1.0 TSI, 1.5 TSI manual, 1.5 TSI automatic) were tested on the same route, consisting of country roads with differences in altitude, city traffic and motorway. With the lightest engine the test consumption was 7.0 litres per 100 km, with the strongest and fastest version it was 7.4 litres per 100 km. Despite all Skoda's good intentions, this is really too much, because competitors with more modern engines cost the same to buy and considerably less to run.
The Karoq is a true SUV, so the suspension is tuned for both on and off road use. The Karoq is available with two or four wheel drive. The latter version also has a slightly higher ground clearance (168 instead of 164 mm) and slightly larger approach and departure angles.
Designing a chassis that can cope with slippery asphalt and rough surfaces is quite a challenge, especially when you also have to take into account the interior space (smaller mechanics, less freedom of seating). To complicate matters even further, the Karoq is now available with "Dynamic Chassis Control", which allows its character to be varied from comfortable to extra sporty.
In practice the effect of Dynamic Chassis Control is minimal and the standard suspension leaves little to be desired. Even in its simplest version, the Karoq has a very refined handling. The Karoq is comfortable, but also dynamic. On top of that, the communication between the driver and the mechanics is fine and that makes for a trustworthy feeling.
The Karoq, the Skoda among the SUVs, has had a facelift for model year 2022. This is good news for those who are looking for a real Sports Utility Vehicle where everything revolves around versatility and functionality. Thanks to all of the modifications, the equipment is up to date again. The cabin space was and still is excellent for a car of this size.
The new exterior gives the Karoq a more modern look and better streamlining (lower consumption, less driving noise). Despite the more efficient engines, the renewed Karoq cannot compete with more modern cars with (semi) electric propulsion. Those are more economical to buy and run. On the other hand: these are usually fake SUVs that are only capable on public roads. The Karoq on the other hand is a true SUV that also feels at home off-road.
- Very spacious
- Well thought out ergonomics
- Excellent driving characteristics
- No electric or hybrid drive