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The Top Gear car review:Skoda Karoq
For:Spacious interior, high-tech dashboard, huge boot
Against:More conventional looks than the Yeti
What is it?
Skoda is hoping to put an end to badly constructed clichés relating to abominable snowmen. It’s retiring the much-loved Yeti later this year. But fear not, the Czech company isn’t abandoning its battle with the Nissan Qashqai (and all the other compact crossovers). The Yeti is being replaced by an all-new car named the Karoq, a new name which clearly aligns it with the larger Skoda Kodiaq. The Karoq ditches the opinion-dividing proportions and looks of its predecessor, not to mention its relatively cramped interior, being longer and wider.
Most of the interesting design detail focuses on the front. Skoda will offer full LED headlights as an option and the grille has a bold, chunky look. The base of the bumpers and door sills are all clad in black plastic, too. That’s ostensibly to protect the car from bumps and scrapes, but more importantly it creates the optical illusion of the car sitting higher from the ground than it is. The clamshell bonnet has a noticeable bulge running down its centre, as well, which draws your eye to the now-even-larger Skoda badge.
The engine options are sensible TSI petrols and TDI diesels, updated from the Yeti, and most are available with the choice of automatic or manual transmissions. Front-wheel-drive versions benefit from lower fuel consumption, though the penalty for choosing the four-wheel-drive system isn’t considerable, as it only engages the rear wheels when the front tyres begins to lose traction.
The most powerful version has a 187bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel, four-wheel drive and a slick-shifting seven-speed DSG automatic. It’s good enough for a 7.8-second 0-62mph time and suggests that there may even be room later on for a driver-focused Karoq vRS version, however odd that concept may seem.