Skoda has unveiled their new compact SUV, the Karoq, to the global media at an event in Stockholm, Sweden. The Karoq compact SUV will replace the highly successful Skoda Yeti and is styled like the new Skoda Kodiaq, the full-size SUV that is expected to arrive in India later this year.
The Karoq is the second car of Skoda which has been added to their SUV segment and is built on the new MQB platform that it shared by Skoda with the Volkswagen group cars. The new MQB platform is flexible for EV applications. The Karoq will go on sale in the European markets by the end of 2017 and is based on the same chassis as the VW Tiguan that is also expected to reach India later this year.
The Skoda Karoq, in the global markets, is the equivalent to the Hyundai Tucson that we get in India – a premium five-seater SUV. The styling is butch with the signature moustache grille perched atop the sculpted fascia. The rectangular headlamps add to the sense of width making the Karoq look muscular. In profile, the raked windshield leads to the flowing coupe-like roofline that meets the upswept shoulder line beyond the C-pillar. The large 18-inch alloy wheels give it the 4.3m ling SUV the required tall stance and giving it an almost 200mm ground clearance.
The interior is luxurious and gets all the bells and whistles like power seats, dual-zone climate control and a modern infotainment system with a 9.2″ touchscreen display which is smartphone compatible with the availability of Android Auto and Apple Car play. A digital dial pack is also available for the first time on a Skoda product. The interior focusses on safety and comfort and gets reclining rear seats and SC vents for the rear passengers. It also gets WLAN hotspot, park assist, lane assist, blind spot detection and for the first time, a fully programmable digital instrument cluster. Skoda has been sure not to lose the utility capability of the previous car, with optional individual rear seats, which are also completely removable, makes space for a huge 1810 litre boot space.
To conclude the power there are several engine options from turbocharged petrol to diesel engines with a combination of manual and automatic gearboxes tailor-made for the different global markets. In petrol variant, you have the option of choosing between the 1.0-litre and the 1.5-litre engines while in the case of the diesel you can choose between the 1.6-litre and the 2.0-litre mills. All engine options can be had with a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG while 4X4 is optional across certain engines but is standard on the 190bhp 2.0-litre diesel AT. Skoda will utilise the latest generation of VW Group engines. The range starts with the small, but characterful 1.0-litre TSI three-cylinder with 114bhp and tops out with an 187bhp 2.0-litre TDI paired exclusively with all-wheel drive and a DSG gearbox. An interesting option could be the new 148bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder, borrowed from the new Golf, utilising active cylinder deactivation tech to deliver impressive economy whilst maintaining hopefully spritely performance.
The Czech car maker is expected to bring the Karoq to India in 2018 and will position it below the Kodiaq. Where the latter is an SUV offering as an alternative to the Superb, the Karoq do the same with the Octavia. Given the demand for SUVs in this part of the market as well as considering the competition, we believe the Skoda will locally assemble the SUV at its Aurangabad plant.
Skoda Karoq will be a competitor in the compact SUV segment in India against Hyundai Tucson, Volkswagen Tiguan.