Skoda Karoq 2018 preview
This is Skoda's second new SUV in the space of a year or so and it effectively replaces the much-loved Skoda Yeti. It's bigger than that car inside and out and considerably more conventional in appearance. There will be a much wider range of engines on offer than before and all the Volkswagen Group's latest technology.
What will its rivals be?
The Skoda Karoq is clearly aimed straight at the heartland of the mid-sized SUV/crossover segment, which means its biggest rivals, from a sales perspective, will be the Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Qashqai, Renault Kadjar and Kia Sportage, but there are plenty of other relative newcomers that vie for the same slice of pie, including the stylish Toyota C-HR and Peugeot 3008. Within the Volkswagen Group, the Karoq has to stand up to comparison with the Volkswagen Tiguan and SEAT Ateca.
Any tech info?
The Karoq doesn't break new ground from an automotive technology perspective, but it hosts many debuts for the Czech brand. The one that's likely to grab consumer interest in the showrooms is the configurable digital instrument panel, replacing traditional instruments. The driver can choose from four layouts, including Classic, Extended, Modern and Basic. And if you're the kind of household that shares its cars, it'll be possible to store up to four driver profiles on a personalisable key, which will automatically change the settings for Driving Mode Select, assistance, interior and exterior lighting, infotainment and electrically adjustable seats depending on the user and options fitted.
What will the range be like?
At launch, the Karoq range will be broken down into Ambition and Style versions with prices from €27,715. Petrol engine options range from a three-cylinder 1.0-litre TSI unit producing 116hp to a 150hp 1.5-litre TSI engine. The former can be had with a DSG automatic transmission. Diesel is likely to dominate sales, and buyers can choose from a 1.6 TDI engine with 116hp or a 2.0-litre diesel that produces 150hp. For now, the 2.0-litre is the only 4x4 version (and is only 4x4), though the DSG gearbox can be specified on either diesel. The range is expected to expand in 2018.
We adored the quirky design of the Skoda Yeti, but the new Karoq is clearly designed to appeal to a much wider audience. It fits in neatly with the big-selling crossovers in the segment in terms of size, equipment and pricing. Don't bet against it hitting the top-ten in new car sales in 2018.