Skoda Karoq Review logo

Skoda Karoq Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2018
      Body type
      Crossover
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Practical, comfortable and classy SUV”

Best bits

  • Superb practicality with flexible seats
  • Nicely finished interior
  • Comfortable and relaxing to drive

Not so great

  • Conservative styling is smart but bland
  • Dual-clutch gearbox can be hesitant
  • No hybrid or ultra-low emissions option

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Skoda Karoq front

Overall verdict

Skoda Karoq interior

On the inside

Skoda Karoq corner

Driving

Skoda Karoq side

How much does it cost to run

Skoda Karoq road

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict on the Skoda Karoq

"The Skoda Karoq is a family SUV that really knocks it out of the park. It’s very comfortable to drive with an excellent range of engines, nicely finished cabin and high level of standard equipment. With those trick seats fitted, it’s also one of the most practical cars in its class."

Skoda Karoq front

The Skoda Karoq is larger replacement for the much-loved Yeti (there's also the smaller Kamiq). It’s a mid-size family SUV with five seats and the option of two or four-wheel drive, a very roomy interior and loads of kit. Those last two qualities are what really sets it apart from a crowded field of rivals, plus it's  good to drive too.


Unlike the Yeti, the exterior styling is rather conservative. It looks upmarket, but fails to stand out compared with its sportier rivals. On the plus side it’s more comfortable than the Yeti and has a higher quality interior than that car ever did.  If you want a relaxing, sensible (and sensibly priced) crossover, the Karoq is one of the best in the business.


It has tonnes of passenger space, whether you're sat in the front or the back. And while a few rivals are better for carrying five adults, almost none can beat it for clever on-board storage or load-lugging capacity.


That's because the higher trims come with the VarioFlex seats. These slide and recline individually, fold down in a flexible 40/20/40 configuration and can even been totally removed to free up a van-like 1810 litre capacity. The downside is that the seats are really heavy, so you won't be taking them in and out often. Still, knowing you have the flexibility to stack it to the roof when needed definitely adds another feather to the Skoda's cap. 


Meanwhile, it doesn't feel like a van when it comes to quality, with a modern, stylish interior that's rock solid. Every model comes with a generous amount of equipment, including an 8.0-inch touchscreen that's up there with the best in class in terms of its functionality and graphics, climate control and rear parking sensors too.


Entry-level SE trim is the best value, but even if you do feel like splashing out, the luxurious SE L trim won't break the bank, adding navigation, heated seats and bright LED headlights, although we'd avoid top spec cars.


Most versions of the Karoq are front-wheel drive with a six-speed manual, but you can buy the most powerful diesel and petrol variants with four-wheel drive, paired up with a seven-speed automatic gearbox. We like the  manual, which is light and precise, but the twin-clutch auto (optional on cheaper models) can be a little jerky.


Kicking the range off is the 1.0-litre three-cylinder TSI petrol with 115PS but there’s also a 1.5-litre that is a lot quicker (but just as efficient) and a range-topping 2.0-litre with 190PS. We think most buyers will be best off with the 1.5 TSI. It's a smooth quiet engine, with enough urge to overtake and make relaxed progress. There were issues with this engine early in its life but Volkswagen assures us these have been solved.


On the diesel side, buyers can pick between a 1.6-litre or 2.0-litre TDI. The bigger engine is available with four-wheel drive, with either 150PS and 190PS. Both are great for towing, and can haul over two tonnes. It also has decent off-road ability, and will happily tackle a slippery grass field or muddy country lane with no sweat.


In normal driving, the Karoq is really comfortable cruiser, with soft suspension and a cushioned ride. It has accurate, confidence-inspiring steering, lots of grip and neat handling, but is not as sporty as SEAT's Ateca. Still, for the things most family buyers will prioritise, the Skoda delivers in spades, and is a great all rounder.


Is the Skoda Karoq right for you?

There's a whiff of the emperor's new clothes about small SUVs that promise practicality but fail to deliver. For buyers who genuinely need a roomy interior and load-lugging ability, the Karoq will be the perfect workhorse.


Its clever removable seats, massive boot and generous passenger space mean it will cope with the rigours of family life far better than a standard five-door hatch plus it comes with four-wheel drive should you need it.


It's no one trick pony though. A surprisingly posh interior, generous level of equipment and very comfortable, easy-to-drive nature make the Skoda feel competitive with the best small crossovers.


Avoid the underpowered 1.0-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel and it's a spritely performer too. But if you are the kind of buyer who wants to turn heads, its generic exterior and conservative cabin might not scratch that itch.

What's the best Skoda Karoq model/engine to choose from?

We think SE trim offers the best value, whether you are planning to buy the Karoq new or second hand. If you are looking for a used example it’s worth finding one with those clever optional VarioFlex seats fitted. 


Navigation can be deal breaker for some buyers though and we wouldn't steer you away from the SE Drive trim that comes with it fitted, or stepping up to SE L for more extras. The Scout and Sportline are too pricey to recommend unless you want their looks, and Edition trim, while very impressive, is too expensive full stop. 


If you want four-wheel drive capability, then the 2.0-litre TDI is the only choice. For most buyers however, the excellent 1.5-litre TSI petrol is the one to go for, with its smooth performance and fairly reasonable efficiency. We would pair this up with a manual gearbox to save some money, but the dual-clutch auto also works well.


What other cars are similar to the Skoda Karoq


There's no shortage of talented compact SUVs capable of matching the Skoda's usability and rugged image. Pick up a Peugeot 3008 or Mazda CX-3 if you want a dash of style with your practical five-door crossover.


From the Volkswagen Group, sister cars the SEAT Ateca and Volkswagen Tiguan are two sides of the same coin. Get the former for a keen price and tidy handling, while the latter has a plusher ride and better finished interior.


Buyers who want to push the boat out a little with a premium alternative should try the smart and spacious Volvo XC40, or if you are more interested in muddy fields than modern architecture, a Range Rover Evoque.


Those on a tighter budget should consider looking at the smaller Skoda Kamiq or Citroen C3 Aircross. The latter is very efficient for an SUV, and surprisingly spacious inside despite being a lot shorter than the Karoq. For really low running costs or company car buyers, the efficient petrol-electric Toyota C-HR is a fine choice.


Learn more

Skoda Karoq interior

On the inside

Skoda Karoq corner

Driving

Skoda Karoq side

How much does it cost to run

Skoda Karoq road

Prices, versions and specification

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

How much boot space does the Karoq have?

Posher versions have sliding rear seats that allow you to vary the boot space from 479 to 588 litres with the back seats up, and a 1,810-litre capacity with the seats totally removed. Entry-level cars are a bit less flexible, but you still get 521 or 1,630 litres of luggage space.

Dan Powell

Answered by

Dan Powell

Is the Skoda Karoq any good?

The Karoq is one of the best family SUVs on the market. It features a high-quality interior, excellent practicality, and a comfortable driving experience, and it’s affordably priced too.

Andy Brady

Answered by

Andy Brady

Is the Skoda Karoq a 4x4?

Most versions of the Karoq are front-wheel drive, but you can buy the most powerful diesel and petrol variants with four-wheel drive, paired up with a seven-speed DSG automatic ‘box.

Keith Moody

Answered by

Keith Moody

What does Karoq mean?

Skoda wants its entire SUV line-up to build on the success of the seven-seater Kodiaq. So all of its crossovers now start with a ‘K’ and end with a ‘Q’. According to the brand, the larger Kodiaq gets its name from Kodiak Island in Alaska (whose inhabitants speak Alutiiq) and call a car ‘kaa’raq’ and an arrow (like the one in the Skoda logo) a ‘ruq’ hence: The Karoq.

Dan Harrison

Answered by

Dan Harrison

Is the Skoda Karoq a seven seater?

No. The Karoq is a mid-size SUV that sits above the Kamiq and below the Kodiaq in the range, but only the bigger car comes with the option of space for up to seven passengers.

Andy Brady

Answered by

Andy Brady