Karoq is a well-groomed European SUV, with a tidy layout and decent fit and finish. Many may call it a baby Kodiaq, yet I love the fact it isn’t as quirky as the Yeti. Everything is all-LED – headlights, tail lights, fog lamps and day-time running lights. The stance is stubby and the sophistication is played up by multiple sharp elements like the edgy lights or the 10-spoke alloy wheels or the SKODA badging on the tailgate.
One single largest drawback for the Karoq has to be the size. Honestly, it doesn’t stand out in the crowd especially due to lower height than most of its rivals. Also, inside the cabin, you are seated low. That means driving the feels more dynamics, however, not having the feel of the high pedestal SUV may not be taken in a good light by Indian customers.
Inside the cabin, the Audi-sque cockpit with an interactive user interface looks fantastic. The one-touch panoramic sunroof, electrically-adjustable front seats with a memory function on the driver’s side, a vibrant 8-inch infotainment system is slick to touch will pamper you throughout the journey. With a dual-zone AC system and 8-speaker sound system in place, the second-row occupants do not feel left out. The best thing, however, is that there’s nothing to mix and match. Karoq comes in just one fully-loaded trim.
Skoda’s funda’s has been simply clever. I mean look around the SUV, you get multiple wow factors. The boot is cavernous at 520 litres. I concede you have to lift the boot and it’s not automatic but the smart touches inside are fancy. You get a LED light inside the boot, hooks to hang stuff and a one-touch knob to fall the rear seats. Interestingly, your kids need not tuck the wrappers and wastes in the door pockets anymore. A smart bin pocket allows you to store them till you clean up the SUV.
A full-size hanger fixed on the neck of the front seat allows you to place your blazer. The smart storage area beside the steering wheel and the dashboard expand the practicality.
Light theme interior and gallons of storage would make you feel Rs 25 lakh are well spent. The seats are nice, cushy and large. The backrest angle for the rear seats isn’t very steep. Also, there is a headrest for the middle passenger. From touch and feel, Skoda has left no stones unturned to offer the conveniences of a luxury car.
There are a couple of niggles though. Leather seats in India call for ventilation, especially during peak hours of the day. The air conditioning is dual-zone instead of three and in blistering summer it actually takes a little too long to get going. This might might feel you wanting more unless you stay somewhere uphill.
Karoq comes with VW’s potent 1.5 TSI petrol engine mated with 7-speed DSG transmission. 150 PS and 250 Nm under the hood, Karoq is one smooth performer on the road. The initial response isn’t all that great, yet you would really appreciate the strong mid-range, which revs all the way down to the red line. The engine is peppy, refined and the cabin isolates you from the noise well.
The DSG transmission is eager to climb up the gears. It’s smart and responsive, however, during downshift, you might just feel the operation a little sluggish.
Karoq comes to India as a completely built unit, which justifies the hefty price tag of Rs 25 lakh. The European-spec is offered with a 4X4 while India doesn’t get one. That said, front-wheel drive isn’t a deal-breaker (in fact saves a couple of lakh rupees). What may turn a little disturbing is the firm suspension set up, which are not the ideal to tackle the bad and broken roads.
Here comes an interesting aspect. As far as safety goes, Skoda Karoq is class-leading with 9 airbags, adaptive front-lighting system, iBuzz fatigue alert, ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution), ESC (Electronic Stability Control), HBA (Hill Brake Assist), tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS), parking sensors and more that you would run out to breathe reading the out.
You get your hands on the rock-solid shell and then following the tragic chapter. Skoda Auto India, historically, known for bringing in superb European cars to India has a poor record with the after-sales and service network. The brand ramping up its network and operations ahead of the entries of 4th-gen Octavia, BS6 Kodiaq and production-ready Vision IN in 2021 is the only silver lining.
Karoq as an SUV scores handsome in terms of creature comforts, performance and safety. What do think of the dimension: A compromise or uniqueness?