The very successful Czech company Skoda has spent the last few months teasing the Karoq with various pictures and videos and after all the build up the new small SUV was unveiled in Stockholm.
They had a huge party with journalists and invited guests coming from all over the world to see the car that will replace the Yeti. There’s no doubt there’s a design language going on in Skoda and that means the cars are starting to look the same. In some of the pictures, you could squint and you’ll see the Kodiak, Karoq or even the SEAT Alteca.
There’s a good reason behind the similarities. It’s a lot more affordable to share parts and even design teams between all the brands rather than trying to everything alone. In theory, this means more affordable cars in the showrooms and better choices for the consumer.
As with many press events these days there’s much more emphasis on connectivity than the driving style of the car. Skoda will be offering a large range of connections for this modern world where we all “work” all the time. There’s still a modular feel to the interior, the touchscreen is straight from the VW parts bin and although Skoda do a great job of branding up the car with all the right symbols I can’t help thinking that consumers will have to make tough decision between brands but telling the difference will be like choosing between Weetabix or Wheat bix. Both different but ultimately made by the same people.
There are four new engines for Skoda meaning they can offer five powertrains – two petrol and three diesel. The two petrol and two diesel engines are new to the portfolio. Their capacities are 1.0, 1.5, 1.6 and 2.0 l, while their power output ranges from 85 kW (115 PS) to 140 kW (190 PS).
All powertrains use turbocharged, direct injection engines and offer Start -Stop- technology as well as brake energy recovery. They are extremely efficient and fulfil EU6 emission standards. With the exception of the most powerful diesel, all powertrains are available with a choice of a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed DSG. The 2.0 TDI with 140 kW (190 PS) comes with all-wheel drive and a 7-speed DSG transmission as standard. The new 1.5 TSI offers cylinder shutdown as a special feature.
There are numerous ‘Simply Clever’ features that also make the Karoq stand out in the Skoda range. The car can be optionally equipped with more than 30 ‘Simply Clever’ features.
The first of the new features is the electrically opening tailgate, which can be opened and closed from the interior at the push of a button. The Virtual Pedal, which opens the tailgate with a simple foot movement under the rear bumper, is practical and convenient.
Also new to the range is the electrically retractable tow bar, which only folds out at the rear of the vehicle when it is needed.
The car comes with an electro-mechanical parking brake as standard. With its two electric motors, it is integrated into the braking system at the rear axle and also serves as an emergency brake. In conjunction with DSG, it incorporates an Auto-Hold function.
In traffic jams or stop-and-go situations, it keeps the vehicle stationary without the driver having to press the brake pedal. It is set or released using a lever in the centre console.
There’s no doubt that Skoda will find sales for the new Karoq but I’ll miss the quirky Yeti. The new car will be in the showrooms later this year with first deliveries coming in January 2018.