Skoda SUVs have had a lukewarm welcome in India, proper from the Yeti in 2010, which was a automobile far forward of its time; to the Kodiaq which was launched in 2016. But there have been classes learnt from each these launches and based mostly on its learnings from the Kodiaq, as a result of it was the higher obtained of the 2 within the nation, Skoda launched the alternative for the Yeti – the extra compact, up to date and classy Karoq. Based on the identical platform because the Kodiaq (VW’s MQB) it would not have been cost-effective for the corporate to carry the SUV to India by way of the CKD (Completely Knocked Down) route, because it did with the Kodiaq
However, in 2018, the Government of India revised its import obligation insurance policies permitting every producer to yearly import 2,500 items of foreign-made autos, which already adjust to worldwide laws, with out homologation. And Skoda jumped onto the chance to carry the Karoq right here. In truth, Skoda even invited us to Czech Republic final 12 months to supply us a small style of the Karoq, at its house turf, and you’ll learn all about it right here. Earlier this 12 months, in May 2020 the corporate lastly launched the SUV in India, and we have lastly bought our fingers on the automobile.
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Design and Styling
You take a look at the SUV and it’s clear as day that the Skoda Karoq‘s design is closely impressed by the corporate’s flagship SUV, Kodiaq. In truth, one would possibly say it is basically a downsized model of the latter, and that is actually not a nasty factor. Now the mannequin we drove final 12 months was the particular Sportline trim, nonetheless, the Karoq launched in India is the common trim. This means all that shiny black exterior parts, sporty body-coloured bumper, and the deep crimson paint job, have been changed by body-coloured or chrome parts, black cladding and a extra sober color palette, respectively. Having mentioned that, the SUV is available in just one, totally loaded, top-spec variant that will get all of the bells and whistles.
Upfront, the Karoq will get the signature butterfly grille, flanked by a set of rectangular LED headlights with Skoda’s crystalline design parts and built-in LED daytime working lamps. Below, you have got the acquainted trapezoidal foglamps as effectively. The bumper homes a large airdam and it additionally comes with black underbody cladding that’s prolonged onto the perimeters as effectively. The SUV runs on a set of 17-inch dual-tone Aronia alloy wheels that get this sporty twin-5-spoke V design sample. The SUV additionally will get a pair of silver roof rails which might be very a lot practical, together with a set of LED taillights that include distinctive C-shaped information lights. Also, in contrast to the mannequin we drove earlier, the India-spec Karoq will get the brand new model emblem with the big Skoda lettering on the tailgate and sure it is a good contact.
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Interior and Cabin Features
Step inside, and you will be welcomed by a premium wanting beige and black dual-tone cabin that comes with nice match and end. While the cabin is actually signature Skoda, the carmaker has made ample use of soft-touch plastic in designing the dashboard and door panels, plus the steering wheel and kit lever too come wrapped in leather-based. We would have preferred a flat-bottom steering wheel just like the one within the Sportline variant we examined final 12 months as a result of it seems to be so sporty. Nonetheless, this comes with controls for audio, voice command, cruise management and the remainder of the options of the digital cockpit, which might be accessed by the totally digital TFT infotainment show. However, the centre of attraction is the 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which comes with extra intuitive animations, dwell picture icons, and the SmartLink system that options Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink. You additionally get navigation that may be displayed on the instrument cluster.
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The SUV additionally comes with a dual-zone Climatronic air conditional system with Air Care perform the makes use of sensors to measure the inside air high quality and humidity and robotically recirculates the air if extreme air air pollution is detected. Oh sure, the Karoq additionally comes with a big panoramic sunroof. As for the seats, they’re well-bolstered and are available draped in beige leather-based upholstery. You additionally get a 12-way electrically adjustable driver seat with programmable reminiscence capabilities and lumbar assist.
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However, Skoda has missed out on options like ventilated seats or perhaps a wi-fi cellphone charger, which at the moment are supplied in decrease phase SUVs as effectively. Also, there are not any media buttons on the rear, which implies if you will spend extra time on the again seat, then you have to the assistance of your chauffeur to manage the audio system, Air-Con system and even the sunroof. The rear seats comes with a 60:40 break up with adjustable headrest and three-point seatbelts for all three passengers, though if solely two persons are sitting on the again then you possibly can pull out the foldable central armrest for a bit extra consolation. The armrest additionally comes with cup holders, and beneath the rear AC vents, there’s a 12-Volt charging socket as effectively. There is ample quantity of leg, knee and headroom on the again, and the bigger home windows actually add to the sense of roominess.
The Karoq comes with a big, 521-litre boot house, which is large enough to suit a few massive suitcases, plus it additionally comes with further facet hooks to hold your purchasing baggage. If you want more room than the bags space might be prolonged as much as 1,630-litre by folding down the rear seats. In comparability, the now discontinued Skoda Kodiaq used to supply a 270-litre boot house with all 7-seats within the upright place, however with an choice to increase it as much as 630-litre or 2005-litre, by folding the third and 2nd rows respectively.
Considering the Skoda Karoq is available in just one top-spec variant, the record of ordinary security options on provide is in depth. For starters, the SUV comes with 9 airbags in complete, together with twin entrance airbags, facet airbags at entrance and rear, driver knee airbag in addition to curtain airbags at entrance and rear, which itself is a phase benchmark. Then you have got options like ABS with EBS, Electronic Stability Control MBA (Mechanical Brake Assist), MKB (Multi Collision Brake), HBA (Hill Brake Assist), ASR (Anti Slip Regulation), EDS (Electronic Differential Lock), and an electromechanical parking brake with Auto Hold perform. You additionally get tyre stress monitoring system, entrance and rear parking sensors, rear digicam, keyless entry and, in fact, rain-sensing wipers and automated headlamps as effectively.
Engine and Transmission
The Skoda Karoq is powered by the identical 1.5-litre turbocharged TSI petrol engine that we had examined final 12 months in Prague, nonetheless, the distinction right here is that the engine is now BS6 compliant. Having mentioned that, the engine makes the identical 148 bhp, nonetheless, it likes to be revved laborious, and it feels alive solely above 3000 rpm, whereas peak energy is achieved someplace round 6000 rpm. As for the torque, the engine develops a peak out of 250 Nm, and it’s accessible from as little as 1500 rpm and goes all the way in which as much as 3500 rpm, thus providing a superb low- and mid-range.
The Karoq additionally properly bridges the hole between being a snug freeway cruiser and a handy city SUV. The engine feels bulletproof and might cowl lengthy kilometres, all day lengthy, with out breaking a sweat, and on the identical time, it additionally maintains its refined nature in stop-and-go-traffic of the town. And all that is introduced collectively by the tried and examined 7-speed DSG automated transmission, which additionally comes with a handbook mode with paddle shifters. While you do really feel it when the gear, however the gearbox is kind of exact and it does a nice job of sending energy to the entrance wheels. That’s proper, the India-spec mannequin just isn’t an all-wheel drive mannequin.
While driving within the metropolis you possibly can simply go away it in automated mode and let the DSG unit do what it does finest. But out on the freeway there is a need to have interaction your self extra with the automobile and that is the place the paddle shifters come in useful. Oh, earlier than I overlook, the SUV additionally comes with Idle Stop-Start perform, which ought to make it easier to preserve some gasoline.
Ride and Handling
In phrases of journey and dealing with, we now have to say, the Karoq simply feels good. Initially, you would possibly really feel that the suspension is about a bit on the stiffer facet, however after spending a while driving the automobile you get used to it. That’s additionally as a result of the Karoq actually glides over tough patches simply, and except it is a massive pothole, you barely really feel the undulations on the highway. The SUV feels planted, particularly round corners, and its compact proportions make it very manageable in site visitors and slim roads. Furthermore, the steering additionally weighs up properly and presents good suggestions, imparting extra confidence within the driver.
As for the NVH ranges, I’ve to say, it is actually one the quietest cabins I’ve skilled in current occasions. Skoda has executed a nice job of insulating the SUV, and there are occasions when you possibly can barely hear even the engine noise except you have been flooring the accelerator to hearken to that stunning rumble of the turbocharged motor. However, as already talked about, in contrast to the worldwide spec mannequin which additionally will get All Wheel Drive (AWD) choice, the India-spec Karoq is Front Wheel Drive (FWD) solely.
The Skoda Karoq involves India as a very constructed unit and thus has a premium price ticket hooked up to it – ₹ 24.99 lakh (ex-showroom, India). In comparability, its counterpart from Volkswagen India, the T-Roc, is cheaper by ₹ 5 lakh, nonetheless, it’s smaller and appears a bit crossover-ish in entrance of the Karoq. Also, the T-Roc’s cabin just isn’t as premium and spacious as its Czech cousin. On the opposite hand, the top-spec petrol variants of the Jeep Compass and Hyundai Tucson are cheaper by ₹ 3 lakh and ₹ 1.5 lakh respectively. So, sure, the Karoq is the costliest petrol SUV on this phase. However, for that worth, you get a succesful and really snug SUV that gives a number of premium options, and a strong turbo petrol engine. To high all of it, the carmaker can also be providing its 4 years / 100,000 Km guarantee and the Skoda Shield Plus that gives 6 years guarantee, 6 years road-side help and 4 years upkeep bundle with the Karoq.
While the SUV does make a robust case for itself, Skoda may have actually gone with a extra aggressive pricing technique given the truth that the Karoq is the one SUV in its portfolio proper now and the competitors is hard. So sure, the Karoq is a bit costly, and if that is a deal-breaker for you, then the Compass and the Tucson facelift provide extra worth on paper, and if you don’t thoughts lacking out on some options then the T-Roc is value contemplating as a less expensive different. However, we’ll quickly check the Tucson and the T-Roc as effectively, after which, we’ll be capable of inform you which is the best choice.