The Skoda Yeti is dead. In its place is the new Karoq - revealed this week - which is longer, wider (therefore more spacious) and posher than its predecessor. Sounds like a good recipe, but there’s one thing missing from the ingredients list of the new car: quirkiness.
The Yeti is an affable, rugged, utilitarian kind of car that’s achieved a cult-like status, partly for just being a bit different. And how can you not love something called ‘Yeti’?
The Karoq on the other hand is much more straightforward, and a result of Skoda’s intentions to push a little upmarket. It’s an MQB-based affair that’s the Czech firm’s ‘version’ of the VW Tiguan and Seat Ateca. It arguably doesn’t look all that different from the Ateca either, which is a bit of a shame - we’d like to see more to differentiate the car from its VW Group cousins.
We can moan all we like, but the reality is new car buyers are - on the whole - quite a conservative bunch. As such, the Karoq is destined to sell in huge numbers. So, trying not to dwell on the loss of the Yeti, let’s take a closer look at what Karoq buyers can expect.
It’ll be plenty practical, not just due to the increase in size. One of the few things to carry over from the Yeti is the clever ‘VarioFlex’ seating arrangement, which sees the rear bench split into three separate units. Each can be adjusted individually, or removed entirely. Get rid of the lot, and you’re looking at 1810 litres of load space.
On the engine front, you’ve five different options to choose from. There’s a pair of petrol engines in the form of a 1.0-litre turbocharged inline-three with 113bhp and 129lb ft, and the super quiet, super smooth new 1.5-litre TSI Evo with 148bhp and 184lb ft available.
Want an oil-burner? There’s a 1.6-litre TDI version with 113bhp and 184lb ft, and two 2.0-litre TDIs. One puts out 148bhp, while the other is good for 186bhp and a handy 295lb ft of twist. Both front and four-wheel drive versions of the car are available.
The Karoq will be in showrooms in the second half of 2017, joined later by - the current chatter suggests - a hot vRS version. Such a car could be quite amusing, and might in some way make up for the loss of the loveable Yeti.
What are your thoughts on the new, rather conventional Karoq?