Quite posh, lots of room, decent value for money
Very little of note, besides not being very interesting
What is it?
Between the seven-seat Skoda Kodiaq and the entry-level Kamiq, Skoda offers up the Karoq, which parks in the spot vacated by the weird and wonderful Yeti. So it’s a midsize crossover which shares its building blocks with the Seat Ateca and, along with the Seat, it’ll compete with the Nissan Qashqai and a million cars like it.
It’s slightly longer, wider and roomier than the Yeti, and looks like, well, a Skoda. Boxy and angular, now updated for 2022 with that wider grille. 'Karoq', you ask? Skoda’s naming strategy involves an Alaskan island and a linguistic workout.
What have I got to choose from?
For the 2022 facelift there are three trim levels: the SE Drive, SE L and bodykitted Sportline with its racy seats and black detailing. Engines comprise a 1.0-litre turbo three-cylinder, 1.5-litre four-cylinder and 2.0-litre four-pot petrol (the former manual only, the latter DSG auto only) and a 2.0-litre turbodiesel with two different power outputs and a choice of manual or DSG transmission.
The most powerful versions of each 2.0-litre engine are available with all-wheel drive, but most Karoqs are front-wheel drive and none the worse for it.
What's the Karoq's most remarkable feature?
Well if you're familiar with Skoda's built-in car park ticket holder and ice-scraper in the fuel filler flap then you might struggle for true surprise and delight. Skoda says the interior now features more recycled materials, there's new all-LED matrix headlights and improved aerodynamics thanks to new wheels with aero faced spokes to help cut drag and CO2 emissions.
But does it matter the Karoq isn't dripping with mind-blowing features? Pretty much no mid-sized crossover is... but it's handsome, well-built, spacious and easy-going.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
The Karoq might have lost its predecessor’s personality, but on every other front it’s a better car than the one it replaces, and we've just about forgiven it these days. It's a deeply worthy, sensible, inoffensive car that will go about family life in a faithful and fuss-free way without any major gripes or annoyances. Plus, given Volkswagen and BMW are currently on a design and tech self-sabotage mission there's a lot to be said for choosing the Karoq's unpretentiousness over a supposedly more premium rival's foolhardy design. We very much like the Karoq overall. It's just sometimes a bit tricky to remember exactly why.