The SUV segment in India has been enjoying huge popularity with manufacturers dishing out more and more SUVs to cater to the demands of different customers. Skoda has carved a niche for itself and the Czech carmaker is renowned for its distinctive offerings which make them stand apart from the rest of the crowd. The Skoda Karoq is currently the only SUV in their portfolio and it comes with a hefty price tag of INR 24.99 Lakh, which makes it significantly costlier than its rivals. So is it worth the premium it commands over other SUVs in its segment? We find out.
The exterior of the Skoda Karoq looks similar to the Kodiaq, which is no bad thing. The front-end comes with traditional Skoda design elements like a butterfly grille and sleek LED headlamps with illuminated eye-lashes. As far as dimensions are concerned, the Skoda Karoq measures 4,382 mm X 1,841 mm X 1,605 mm for length, width and height, respectively. Its wheelbase measures at 2,638mm, making it bigger than the likes of Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos.
Skoda is renowned for its clever fitments which is reflected in their tagline as well. This stands true in the case of Karoq as well which also comes with flush-fitting washer which essentially gives the headlamps a nice wipe while you’re driving on rain-ridden roads. Other notable features include auto headlamps and auto wipers.
The bonnet is rather muscular, adding to its rugged appeal and the side profile too, carries over the same design philosophy. The 17-inch wheels wrapped in 215 section rubber make the car look bulky. Moving on to the rear, the Karoq comes with slick ‘C’ shaped LED tail lamps. the customers will get six colour options to choose from, which are Magic Black, Lava Blue, Brilliant Silver, Candy White, Magnetic Brown and Quartz Grey. Boot capacity stands at 521 litres. The Skoda Karoq is a handsome looking SUV with straight and proportionate lines. While most of its rivals are going down the radical way in terms of design, Skoda has shown that a neatly dressed suave gentleman will always manage to steal the show too.
Engine and performance
On the mechanical front, it is powered by the lone EA211 1.5-litre TSI EVO petrol engine paired with a 7-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission and sends power to the front wheels. This unit delivers 150 PS of power at 5,000-6,000 rpm and a peak torque of 250 Nm at 1,500-3,500 rpm. There is no diesel engine on offer as of now. One good look at the spec sheet will make you realise that the Karoq is significantly more powerful than most of its rivals. The turbo-petrol unit sends this hefty SUV to 100 kmph in less than 10 seconds which is respectable for a vehicle of such proportions
The TSI unit is a free-revving one which delivers a proper punch after you cross 2500 rpm. Skoda has also included paddle shifters with the package to make the car more exciting. The 7-speed DSG transmission behaves in the same manner as it is expected to and performs quick shifts. Slot it in Sport mode if you are looking for a more involved driving experience. If you keep your ears focused, you might get to hear a muffled sporty sound being emitted by the exhaust behind, which becomes pronounced after 3500 rpm. Its ARAI certified mileage is rated at 14.5 KMPL. In urban driving conditions, the Karoq managed to deliver 8-8.5 kmpl but when you take it out on the highway, the numbers can easily climb up to 12-13 KMPL.
Ride and handling
It shares the same platform with the Volkswagen T-Roc which made us believe that the Karoq too, will turn out to be driver-centric SUV. But we were in for a surprise. Unlike other cars from Volkswagen and Skoda, it lacks the ‘German’ feel. Spending some time with the Karoq revealed its true intentions. It doesn’t want to be a driver-centric SUV, instead, it wants to cocoon you in its luxury. The same is reflected in its road manners as well. The suspension setup is more comfort-oriented and rides in a more plush manner at low speeds as compared to other cars in its family. It soaks bumps pretty well and remains pliant. The same intent is reflected in its steering wheel communication as well.
It is a precise unit and makes the Karoq a predictable handler but it lacks the involvement you would expect from a Skoda. The steering is light and not as communicative as the T-Roc. Then again, it’s a different SUV with a different set of customers as its target. It does facilitate slow-speed manoeuvres though. Although we would have loved the Karoq to be more involving but it does the job pretty well of being a comfortable SUV and we are not complaining in that regard.
The premium cabin
It is when you step inside the Karoq, its hefty price tag makes the most sense. As far as premium cabins are considered, the Karoq just blows it out of the park. Skoda has splattered quality materials all over the cabin and it screams ‘premium’ at top of its voice. A special mention has to be given to the front seats which are the best there is, across segments up to its price range. The complete dashboard is dressed in soft to touch materials and there are brushed grey inserts on the door panels as well. Other notable features include 12-way adjustable electric driver seat, leather upholstery, two-zone climate control, 8-speaker system, 10-colour ambient lighting and a panoramic sunroof.
Its virtual cockpit is rather futuristic and comes with countless customizable options. Its 8-inch infotainment screen comes with Android Auto and Apple Carplay. While it might not offer the connected features its rivals do, it makes up for it in terms of overall space and premium-ness. It does miss out on some features though which include 360-degree camera, ventilated seats, wireless charging and a heads up display.
The sense of space is even more pronounced at the rear. The panoramic sunroof with a black headliner makes you believe that all the extra money you spent in acquiring this SUV is worth it. In terms of safety, the Karoq is offered with some segment-leading safety features such as 9 airbags, ESC (Electronic Stability Control), MKB (Multi Collision Brake), TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System), Parktronic system, ABS with EBD, Brake Assist, Hill Start Assist and more.
The SUV has been brought to our country via the CBU route and that too explains its hefty price tag. If you are looking for a value for money proposition, its INR 24.99 Lakh sticker price will laugh at you. The Skoda Karoq is all about the premium feel and is very solidly built. It will make you stand apart from the crowd of feature-loaded Koreans and other SUVs in its segment.