December 10, 2018




2018 ŠKODA Karoq VIDEO Launch Review

 

It is Czech-mate for ŠKODA’s newest SVU, the Karoq.

Considered a mid-size SUV, Karoq is the “spiritual successor” to the Yeti. The latter is rarely seen in the wild.

Karoq comes from ŠKODA’s Czech factories to OZ shores with the first batch being “fully loaded”, at a price.

The range has been kept simple: one engine, two transmissions, and 3 option packs with the price starting at $29,990 (manual), $32,990 (7 sp DSG). The fully loaded launch pack ($8,900) combines all three option packs with 3 years servicing.

ŠKODA has been part of the VW group since the early nineties, and much of the technology will be familiar to anyone who has been inside and Audi, Volkswagen, or Seat in the last few years.

We’ve been enthusiastic about ŠKODA for ages. We love the RS245 Octavia despite the strange name. ŠKODA is one of those brands that when a punter experiences it for the first time thinks, “why have I not heard about them before”.

See other ŠKODA Reviews HERE, HERE and HERE

Exterior

The crisp clean metalwork eschews gratuitous swoops, gouges, and cuts that have become commonplace.

Although pure ŠKODA, the cheery Karoq face has a distinctly VW-family flavour to it. It features the ŠKODA family grille, slim halogen headlights, and LED DTRLs / indicators topped by ŠKODA’s “winged-arrow” badge.

The side profile is vaguely reminiscent of VW’s Tiguan. It has a pleasingly chunky look finished off by a large rear LED light array. Karoq’s Tonka-Toy look is accentuated by sharp angles and lines directing the eye from resting spot to resting spot where interesting plays of light can be found.

Optional 19” look fabulous and give Karoq the off-road street-cred it loses by being FWD only. It might surprise you to learn that many buyers opt for two wheel drive over AWD or 4WD if the option is available. It seems s counter intuitive, but I have long since stopped trying to understand the motivations of punters.

A large rear tail gate is opened manually god forbid, but a kick-to-open/close function can be had as part of an option pack for many extra shekels.

Standard 17” wheels are upgraded to 18” as part of an option pack, and 19” for an additional $700.

Interior

At first glance, the Teutonic interior feels slightly bereft. It looks neat and tidy, but lacks warmth. This quickly changes as the features, fittings, and clever design reveal themselves, even in a model sans options.

Entry via smart key is simples.

The door senses the key in your pocket and unlocks when you touch the inside of the handle. There is a comforting “chunk” locks deactivate and the mirrors unfurl themselves ready for action. Push button start means that key secreted about your person will never get lost unless it goes through the wash of course.

Once started, the high resolution 8” Bolero infotainment system sparks up where your smart phone mirroring can be used. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto are standard and allow the user to use the 8” screen just as they would their phone. The display is spectacularly clear and is fast to respond.

Fully handsfree operation of some features via “Siri” makes full use of the system. You can make and receive calls, and handle messaging and music without having to lift a finger. Siri only works in cell range so you’ll need to go old-school while out bush.

There is a hidden brolly is, but there are many more thoughtful inclusions.

The rear seats, a hangover from Yeti, are a thing to behold. Each of the 3 seats can be moved, manipulated, or taken out as the user fancies. They recline, and the outer seats can be moved inward 80mm with the middle seat removed. There are probably hundreds of combinations and incarnations to have fun with. Will anyone actually use it? Who can say?

It is verging on genius.

It would be churlish of me not to mention the clever LED light in the cargo hold. In normal mode, it turns on when you open the tailgate, but in a flourish of Iron-Curtain brilliance, it can be taken removed from its housing to be used as a torch. There are no end to the nooks and crannies it might be shoved into, right?

It is magnetic too so can be stuck to the under side of the open tailgate, or any other part of a metallic object. Don’t lose it though!

There are many, many cup holders (3), and bottle spaces in the front doors. The cargo hold genius continues the theme engendered by the nifty rear seats.

There are 4 hooks on a slider to retain your shopping bags, and a series of nets to stop your oranges from rolling around the boot. The rear carpet is reversable with one side being rubber so your muddy things don’t soil the pile. It provides a little more grip, should you need it.

The best feature by far is probably the cheapest.

In a “why doesn’t everyone do this” moment, I discovered a couple of pieces of plastic that can be folded to a right angle then Velcro’d to the carpet like draw dividers. They can be adjusted to any size and any angle. Imagine a cardboard box, kept in the boot for shopping, that never ever slips and slides because it is held in place by Velcro.

I see a business opportunity. Every car in the world should have these neat little plakky accessories.

Interior space compared to competitors such as: Mazda CX5, Kia Sportage, and Hyundai Tucson, is bigger by almost all measures. This is despite being slightly smaller outside compared to the opposition.

The “simple and clever” moniker is most apropos.

Features

Function and Storage

  • Electric park brake with Auto Hold function
  • 3-spoke multifunctional flat-bottom, chrome-decorated leather steering wheel, radio and telephone controls, height and reach adjustable
  • Multi-function trip computer with high resolution colour display including trip time, trip length, average and current speed, average and current fuel consumption, distance until empty, oil temperature and outside temperature indicator, vehicle status, audio and telephone
  • Illuminated and air-conditioned glove box with holder for pencil, card, coins and SD card
  • Waste bin in door panel
  • Ticket holder on A pillar
  • Textile floor mats
  • Double-sided mat in luggage compartment
  • 12V socket in luggage compartment
  • Central console with storage box, cup holder and 12V socket
  • 2 tablet holders for rear seat passengers
  • Front cup holders with base grip bottle opener (Easy Open)
  • Front armrest with storage compartment (Jumbo-box)
  • Sunglasses holder (not fitted with glass panoramic roof
  • 5L bottle storage compartment in front and rear door panelling
  • Storage compartment on left and right rear wheel arch
  • Storage pocket under steering whee
  • Storage pockets on back rests of front seats
  • Front and rear Aero wipers with wash/wipe function
  • Preparation for tow ball
  • Space-saving spare wheel
  • Cargo Elements –
  • plastic mounts with a Velcro fastener to secure objects in boot
  • Net program (3 nets)
  • 4 hooks in luggage compartment
  • Foldable rear backrest and seat (in a 40/20/40 split ratio)
  • VarioFlex – flexible seats (for rear bench)
  • Umbrella

Comfort and Convenience

  • 8” Bolero high resolution infotainment system with SmartLink^^ smartphone
  • connectivity, with Apple Carplay® and Android Auto™, Bluetooth® with voice
  • control, audio and streaming, USB, AUX and SD card slot
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)◊ •
  • Advanced Keyless Entry including Smart Start (KESSY) •
  • Climatronic –
  • dual-zone air conditioning with electronic regulation,
  • combifilter,
  • allergen filter,
  • Air Care,
  • automatic air recirculation
  • humidity sensor
  • Front and rear LED reading lights
  • Illuminated make-up mirrors in sunblinds (with LED lighting)
  • Automatically-dimming rear view mirror
  • LED door welcome light with ŠKODA log
  • LED floor illumination in front and rear
  • Height-adjustable driver seat with lumbar support
  • Height-adjustable passenger seat with lumbar support
  • Clothes hooks on ‘’B’’ pillars
  • Electric panoramic sunroof – two piece
  • Privacy glass •
  • Integrated LED torch in the luggage compartment •

Design

  • Fabric appointed seat upholstery
  • LED interior ambient lightin
  • Integrated LED indicators in side mirrors
  • Chrome plated radiator grille frame
  • Chrome plated window frames
  • Rear number plate LED lights
  • Silver roof rails
  • Rough road package
  • Triton alloy wheels 7J×17’’
  • Crater alloy wheels 8J×19’’ (extra cost)

OPTIONAL PACKAGES

 

PREMIUM PACK

  • Full LED headlamps with AFS (Adaptive Frontlight System)
  • Perforated leather appointed seat upholstery (black or ivory)
  • Front parking sensors
  • Electric tailgate opening and closing
  • Stainless steel pedal se
  • Braga alloy wheels 7J×18’’

 

TECH PACK

  • 2” glass design touch screen Columbus satellite navigation system with Gesture Control
  • Driving Mode Selection
  • Premium German Sound System CANTON (10 speakers
  • DAB+ (Digital Audio Broadcasting)
  • Wireless charging
  • Virtual pedal – hands-free electric tailgate opening and closing
  • Automatic Parking Assist – parking lengthwise and at right angles to the road
  • Personalisation (vehicle setup) via key (3 keys)

 

TRAVEL PACK

  • Electrically adjustable driver seat with memory function
  • Automatically foldable door mirrors with auto dimming, memory function and LED
  • environment lights
  • Heated front seat
  • Lane Assis
  • Blind Spot Detection

LAUNCH PACK (limited volume only)

  • 3 year/45,000km Service Pack
  • Perforated leather appointed seat upholstery (black or ivory)*
  • 2” glass design touch screen Columbus satellite navigation system with Gesture Control
  • Full LED headlamps with AFS (Adaptive Frontlight System)
  • Lane Assist
  • Blind Spot Detectio
  • Electric driver seat with memory function
  • Automatic Parking Assis
  • Braga alloy wheels 7J×18’’
  • Front heated seats
  • Front parking sensors
  • Personalisation (vehicle setup) via key (3 keys)
  • Virtual Pedal – hands-free electric tailgate opening and closing
  • Driving Mode Selection P
  • Automatically foldable door mirrors with auto-dimming, memory function and LED environment lights
  • Stainless steel pedal set
  • DAB+ (Digital Audio Broadcasting)
  • Wireless charging
  • Included in the package

 

Safety technologies are not a substitute for the driver’s responsibility of the vehicle.

 

* Leather appointed seat upholstery has a combination of genuine and artificial leather, but is not

wholly leather.

 

Drivetrain

The new engine is as smooth as a Bublé ballad. It is unique to ŠKODA and features cylinder shut-off like we used to see in V8 and V12 cars. When you least expect it, a notification pops up in the driver’s binnacle telling you that 2 cylinders have shut down. Clever right?

Likewise, the silky smooth 7 speed DSG. Remember the DSG problems VW encountered with the wet-clutch DSG? Me too, but fear not, this dry-clutch DSG has had no such issues.

Steering is an absolute delight. It is light with calibration which simulates just the right amount of road feel. Electric power steering allows for automated parking which can be had if you fork over even more shekels.

There is very little vibration from the engine. It feels free-revving and precise like a fine Swiss watch.

Standard suspension does a great job on all but the gnarliest of pot-holed goat tracks. Sound deadening makes the cabin quite quiet except for the coarse chip-bitumen roads state governments are so fond of.

Although torque steer is minimal, the front wheels scamper to get grip in the wet. Fear not, the traction control sorts out your foibles with the same German efficiency that built the Autobahns.

Karoq is not a Bahn stormer by any means, but is as happy on the highway as it is around town.

  • 5L 4 cylinder (includes 2 cylinder shutdown)
  • Power/Torque – 110kw/250Nm
  • 6 Speed manual or 7 Speed DSG auto
  • 0-100kph – 2.7 seconds
  • Front Wheel Drive (more powerful AWD coming in 2019)

Safety

  • ANCAP (not yet tested)
  • Front Assist with City Emergency Brake
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) (incl. Hill Hold Control)
  • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
  • Anti-slip Regulation (ASR)
  • Electronic Differental Lock (EDL)
  • Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA
  • Driver Steering Recommendation (DSR)
  • Rain Braking System (RBS)
  • Multicollision Braking (MKB
  • Manoeuvre Braking Assist – acoustic rear parking sensors with automatic braking
  • Rear View Camera
  • 7 Airbags:
  • – Driver and front passenger airbags
  • – Driver and front passenger side airbags
  • – Curtain airbags – front and rear
  • – Driver’s knee airbag
  • Emergency fuel supply cut-off
  • Automatic flashing brake lights activated in emergency braking situation
  • Electronic engine immobiliser
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
  • Driver Fatigue Detection
  • Height-adjustable front three-point seat belts with pretensioners
  • Height-adjustable front headrests with WOKS (whiplash optimised
  • head restraints
  • Isofix child seat anchorage points, outer rear seat
  • Rear LED fog light
  • LED brake lights
  • Light Assist (Coming Home, Leaving Home, Tunnel Light, Day Light)
  • Rain Sensor
  • Halogen headlights and LED daytime running lights
  • Alarm with interior monitoring, back-up siren, inclination sensor and SAFE system
  • Activation of warning lights on impact

Good Bits

  • Handsome, chunky looks
  • Teutonic, yet thoughtful cabin design
  • Excellent road manners

Not So Good Bits

  • Pricey option packs
  • Brand not well known in Australia
  • No AWD option as yet

Summary

ŠKODA flies under the radar in Australia, and that’s a shame. ŠKODAs perform as promised with a tendency to over-deliver, and Karoq is no different.

Weighting only 1,368kg, Karoq can tow up to 1,500 braked kilos, with a towball downward limit of 75kg.

Most people won’t be towing anything though. This is the kind of activity vehicle a thrifty bushwalker or surfer would buy.

It is nippy enough to keep up with city traffic (0-100 8.4 seconds) yet is easy on the pocket at the bowser. The 50L tank empties at the miserly rate of 5.7L/100k of premium 95ron petrol. Once upon a time those kinds of figures could only be had from a rickety old oil-burning tractor

Just when you think just about you’ve seen all the campness Karoq has to offer, you find the air-conditioned glove box has spots for coins, cards, a pencil, and an SDcard. Seriously, I am constantly amazed by the things ŠKODA manages to shoehorn into its creations.

I’d like to see a bit more of the option pack items included free of charge. Those in-the-know think Karoq is decent value anyway but the bar is being moved month by month. Blind spot monitoring and reverse traffic detection should be as ubiquitous as a reversing camera is. Once you had to option parking sensors, but like air conditioning, try selling a car without them.

ŠKODA says they sell all the cars they can get hold of but supply has been a problem. If only all car makers had that same worry.

Options

  • Metallic/Pearl Effect paint RRP $700
  • Panoramic sunroof RRP $1,900
  • 19-inch alloy wheels RRP $700

Optional Packages

  • Premium Pack RRP $3,600
  • Tech Pack RRP $3,200
  • Travel Pack RRP $1,700
  • Launch Pack (limited volume) RRP $8,900

The current ŠKODA Service Pricing for the KAROQ 110TSI:

 

  • Distance (km) 15,000 30,000 45,000 60,000 75,000 90,000
  • Age 12 months 24 months 36 months 48 months 60 months 72 months
  • Price (incl. GST) $288 $363 $427 $583 $427 $433

Facts and Figures

Price: from $29,990

Engine: 1.5L 4cyl, 110kW/250Nm

Transmission: 6 sp manual, 7 sp DSG auto

Safety: not yet tested

Origin: Czech Republic

Warranty: 5 year unlimited kilometre

Alan Rating: 8.5/10

 







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