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Skoda Karoq Review

9 / 10
21 November 2023

The Skoda Karoq is a brilliant mid-size family SUV – possibly even the best

It's been designed with real-world family use at its core, so there's loads of space and it's comfy. The infotainment tech is decent and the engines are all pretty efficient – just don't expect a hybrid option.

What we like:
  • Spacious boot
  • Removable rear seats on some models
  • Decent technology
What we don't like:
  • Looks bland
  • 4x4 models are expensive
  • Kodiaq is roomier still

Should I buy a Skoda Karoq?

The Skoda Karoq epitomises the Czech brand’s approach to car building – it’s spacious, has plentiful storage, is well-built and doesn’t cost as much as some rivals. Well, unless you plump for one of the expensive Sportline models with their blacked-out styling details and funky sports seats…


Stick to a regular SE Drive or SE L Karoq model, however, and you’ll be treated to a comfortable SUV powered by a decent range of efficient engines with a classy interior featuring all the tech you really need. Mid-spec SE L models get clever sliding, reclining and removable ‘Varioflex’ rear seats which mean you can turn your Karoq into a plushly trimmed van, should the need arise.


If you’re in the market for a Karoq then also consider the more stylish but less practical Peugeot 3008, the sharp-looking SEAT Ateca and the latest Kia Sportage, which has a more high-tech interior.

Interior and technology

The Karoq’s interior is lifted wholesale from Skoda’s flagship Kodiaq SUV, and that’s a very good thing. While it won’t be winning points for artistic flair, there’s a sense of sturdiness and quality at nearly every turn. The standard-fit eight-inch infotainment system is bright, responsive and has wireless Apple CarPlay, while Android users can plug their phones in to use Android Auto


We love the practical touches too, especially the large cubbyhole on top of the dashboard. It has a lid to keep objects out of sight, and it’s lined with felt so things won’t rattle around over bumps.

Practicality

Despite being Skoda’s mid-size SUV – the Kodiaq is bigger, the Kamiq is smaller – the 4.4-meter-long Karoq has plentiful interior space for front and rear-seat passengers. Even with the optional panoramic sunroof fitted, adults won’t be ducking their heads in the back seats, and the 520-litre boot laughs in the face of even the most adventurous family camping trip.


With the SE L model's Varioflex seats fitted, you can slide the rear seats back and forth, giving a maximum of 588 litres of boot space if you don’t need much rear-seat legroom. Or you can whip the rear seats out entirely and be the subject of great envy at the local recycling centre.

Engines and performance

We’ll get the bad news out of the way first – there’s no hybrid, plug-in hybrid or full-electric version of the Karoq, so you’re limited to regular diesel and petrol engines. They’re a good bunch though.


The entry-level 1.0-litre 110hp petrol engine might sound too puny for an SUV, but it’s surprisingly punchy and a perfect pairing for the Karoq around town. It copes well on the motorway too if you’re not intent on setting land-speed records. If you do tend to do bigger trips then the stalwart Volkswagen Group 2.0-litre diesel with 116hp is your best bet. It feels powerful enough and easily manages 55mpg.


Automatic gearboxes are available on most engines and they’re smooth shifting, but so is the manual option, which has a clutch so light and easy to use you’ll almost forget you’re using it. Four-wheel drive is an option on the most powerful 150hp diesel and 190hp petrol engines.


Driving and comfort

If you’re on the hunt for a family SUV that’s comfortable and refined, look no further. SE Drive and SE L versions of the Karoq iron out bumps in the road and will get you from A to B in total comfort and with very few annoyances. Sportline models have bigger wheels which do introduce a bit more of the UK’s road network to your backside, but they’re still not going to get on your nerves.


The driver’s seat and steering wheel have a large range of adjustment, and some high-spec models get a digital driver’s display that can put your speed in big writing so it’s easy to keep tabs on while cruising. 


Sure, the Karoq won’t entertain you in the corners like a sportier SUV – such as the Ford Kuga – but, for most people, the Karoq’s a better all-rounder.

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