Karoq adds room and vroom

The compact SUV that Skoda NZ will ultimately outsell its just-landed Kodiaq has just been revealed.


THE car that will drive Skoda New Zealand’s push into the crucial compact sports utility sector has been revealed.

A replacement for the current Yeti, the Karoq should be on sale locally around March, 2018.

In addition to being more substantial and more adept than its current equivalent, the car will deliver more smarts, notably being the first Skoda to get the VW Group’s digital instrument panel, as seen on updated VW Golf that has just launched here.

The TFT screen offers a range of layouts designed to prioritise driving data or a range of additional information, including navigation instructions, a gear indicator or traffic sign information.

Derived, like the seven-seater Kodiaq, off the VW Group MQB platform, the Karoq is a lot larger than the Yeti.

The length of 4382mm long is a 160mm enhancement and it is 50mm wider, at 1841mm. The wheelbase is 60mm longer too, at 2638mm in front-wheel-drive and 2630mm for four-wheel-drive models. 

The car is being launched with a line-up of five engines, three of which share with the Kodiaq. The entry 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol seems unlikely to show here, but the 1.5 four-cylinder petrol seems a probable starter. It produces 110kW and 250Nm and has cylinder deactivation technology. 

The other engines are diesels, ranging from an 85kW/250Nm entry-level 1.6-litre entry unit to a pair of 2.0-litres, one with 110kW and 340Nm and the other packing 170kW and 400Nm. The first produces the lowest emissions of the entire range, just 115 grams per kilometre, while the latter is the family powerhouse, with 0-100kmh in a claimed 7.8 seconds.

The more potent turbodiesel is also offered only with four-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, whereas all of the other engines come with the option of a front-drive layout.

Skoda says front-drive Karoqs will have a choice of driving modes, and Dynamic Chassis Control (available on the 1.5- and 2.0-litre variants) offers adjustable electro-hydraulic suspension.

Four-wheel-drive editions can be specified with an off-road mode, which uses the traction control system and an electronic differential lock to improve traction. The options list will also include a Rough-road package that adds more underbody protection.

Whereas Kodiaq – at least in its future performance RS format – will show in five-seater format, Karoq is unlikely to ever be produced in anything more than the five chair form it has now. But it is said to remedy the issue of tight rear legroom that blighted the Yeti.

The boot capacity grows too, up to 521 litres if the rear seats are fixed, and 1630 litres if they’re folded down. Skoda is offering an optional system called VarioFlex, which allows all three of the rear seats to be slide as one or individually, or removed altogether. Overseas’ reports say capacities with this configuration range from 421 litres if legroom for all three rear passengers is prioritised and 588 litres if boot space is maximised when the seats are in situ, to 1810 litres with the second row removed entirely.

There are four infotainment options. The entry-level Swing has a 6.5-inch touchscreen and includes DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity. The next system up, Bolero, gets a higher-resolution eight-inch screen, and includes SmartLink Plus for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Next comes Amundsen, which uses the same screen but includes navigation and a wi-fi hotspot, while the range-topper, called Columbus, is based on a 9.2-inch display and includes a DVD/CD drive and 64Gb of onboard memory. It also has the option of an LTE module that brings faster internet for the hotspot, and introduces gesture control to a Skoda for the first time.

Features shared with Kodiaq include LED ambient lighting that can offers a choice of 10 colours, puddle lights that illuminate the area around the door during entry and exit, full-LED headlights and foglights, and an electric tailgate that can be operated by waving your foot below the rear bumper.

Safety equipment includes blind spot detection, rear-traffic alert, lane-keep assist and traffic sign recognition, though only the highest-spec model appears to have all of these as standard.