It was tough saying goodbye to ‘my’ Skoda Kodiaq) after it served me, my family and the Car Throttle film crew so brilliantly, but thankfully, it’s been swapped for something that’s eased the pain nicely - a Skoda Karoq.
Yep, it’s the Kodiaq’s little but still reasonably-sized bro. I ran one of these last year (I’ve fallen into the fortunate position of being CT’s unofficial Skoda correspondent, you see), but this one is slightly different. It’s the facelifted version and it’s in the range-topping Sportline trim, so it looks quite a bit smarter - in this spec I genuinely think it’s one of the best looking SUVs you can get right now.
Like my last Karoq it’s in Meteor Grey, but this one has the more aggressive Sportline bodywork and the 18-inch Procyon alloy wheels in black. It also has a different powertrain - instead of a 148bhp ‘TDI’ 2.0-litre diesel, it has a 188bhp 2.0-litre ‘TSI’ 4x4 petrol.
It’s the same engine (called ‘EA888’, I’m told) fitted to the Octavia vRS and all sorts of other VW Group cars, but in a lower state of tune. This version has all the power I could ever need, though, and while it’s inevitably not as economical as the diesel, it’s done pretty well in terms of efficiency so far, as I’ve averaged 38.5mpg.
I had a bit of a shock when I saw the spec sheet, though. I’ve always thought of Skodas as reasonably priced cars, but what you’re looking at here is a £40k+ car. But to be fair to Skoda, new car prices have gone pretty bonkers across the board in recent times.
The car itself is £37,295, with the price bumped up by a spare wheel (£170), a Performance Package (includes adaptive dampers, £995), the Amundsen Package Plus (fancier infotainment, for £600), and the Travel Assist Package. The last one costs £950, and is basically a fancy cruise control featuring lane assistance and automatic speed limit adjustments. All that stuff has been mostly fantastic, and especially useful given the joys of ‘smart’ motorways. The cruise control itself can be a bit slow to react, though and I’ve found automatic speed limit adjustments keep deactivating quite a lot, particularly in the recent foggy weather.
So far it’s proven a great crew car despite being smaller than the Kodiaq, easily carting about myself, colleagues and filming gear in comfort. And although I haven’t had a chance to properly test the all-wheel drive system yet, it’s nice to know it’s there should we end up shooting anywhere more remote.
It’s also proven really useful as a family bus - there are now four of us to carry, including a one-year-old and all the related accessories, but it’s no problem at all in the Karoq. We’ll be looking to upgrade our own car soon, and a used Karoq is definitely a contender, particularly after it did so well on our mini Euro trip to Luxumbourg - more on that in the next report.