The Skoda Kodiaq is one of our favourite cars, let alone our favourite SUVs. Skoda nailed the brief of a seven-seat family SUV on the first try, which suggests good things about the company’s latest SUV, the Karoq. This five-seat alternative to the VW Tiguan may be new on the block, but how will it compare to established rivals and, importantly, its bigger relation?
Skoda is considered the value-for-money arm of the VW Group, so the entry-level prices for both of these cars are very reasonable – but go for top-spec engines and things get expensive pretty quickly. The Kodiaq costs from £22,625 for an entry-level car with a 125hp 1.4-litre petrol engine, rising to £33,320 for a four-wheel-drive, 190hp 2.0-litre diesel with an automatic gearbox. Even entry-spec S models come with alloy wheels, automatic emergency braking and front fog lights, but the pick of the range is the SE version, which gets smarter looks and more gadgets to play with. Other trim levels push the prices up quite steeply, but the Scout trim is useful for extra off-road ability.
The Karoq, meanwhile, costs from £20,875 and rises to £26,805, and is equally well-equipped. Again, even entry-level SE models have alloy wheels, auto emergency braking and smartphone mirroring. SE Technology models are the best all-round value, with satellite navigation and a larger touchscreen. Through carwow, you can expect to save money off these RRP figures, with an average of £3,343 and £1,248 on the Kodiaq and Karoq respectively.
These cars are a bit like two Russian dolls, with the Karoq resembling a shrunken Kodiaq. The Karoq has forgone the chunky styling of the Yeti it replaced, but it’s also looks more conservative. Both cars are handsome, but the Karoq looks slightly perter and the Kodiaq can’t hide the extra bulk required by the two extra seats. That said, it’s one of the smartest seven-seaters on sale, especially at this price point. Both cars also have square wheel arches and plastic body cladding to look rugged and capable.
As you might expect, these cars share quite a few parts inside, such as the steering wheel, dials and switchgear. The Karoq has a larger touchscreen with better graphics, but you’ll be able to tick the box for this system on the Kodiaq. Both have premium-feeling soft-touch materials on the dashboard and on the top half of the doors, with cheaper, scratchier plastic below – if it’s a luxurious feel you’re after, you might want to consider the more expensive VW Tiguan instead.
Unless you’re regularly carrying lots of people or kit, the Karoq might be sufficient for your needs. There’s enough space for two six-footers to sit behind each other in comfort, and there’s enough room for three adults to sit abreast without too many complaints, especially on shorter journeys. The boot size is almost equivalent to the five-seat Tiguan, meaning you won’t be left wanting for luggage space.
With the rear row of seats down, the Kodiaq’s boot is simply enormous – 720 litres, in fact, and even with all seven seats in place it still has more than many alternatives – not least the VW Tiguan Allspace. The rear seats are only really suitable for children, even with the middle row pushed forward to offer more space. However, the Kodiaq’s large windows mean that kids get a great view out, and it feels light and airy back there.
Engines and driving
The Karoq is available with two petrol and two diesel engines. While the entry-level 115hp 1.0-litre petrol doesn’t sound capable enough to manage in an SUV, it is powerful enough and only shows occasional signs of struggle on larger hills or when fully loaded. If you want a better blend of performance and economy go for the 1.5-litre, 150hp petrol that’s also used in the VW Golf – it’s faster and almost as economical. The diesels, meanwhile, are best if you plan to do lots of miles or tow fairly regularly.
Both cars share a 2.0-litre diesel, and we would recommend choosing that in the Kodiaq unless you won’t be doing too many miles. In that case, the 150hp 1.4-litre petrol makes more sense. You can have four-wheel-drive in both the Karoq and Kodiaq, although you’ll have to spend a bit extra because it isn’t available on entry-level models of either car. Skoda has also set these cars up to be comfortable rather than sporty – ideal in family-orientated SUVs – and both have plenty to grip and are easy to drive around town. It’s worth fitting all-round parking sensors to both cars, however, given their size.
Depending on your needs, both of these Skodas are worth considering if you are looking to get a new family car. The Karoq is large enough for most families with its impressive rear-seat space and boot capacity, but the Kodiaq offers extra versatility with its choice of seven seats or a huge boot. Considering the Kodiaq isn’t too much more expensive than the Karoq, it’s the one we’d choose.
Save money on your next car
Visit our Karoq deals and Kodiaq deals pages to see how much you could save on these family SUVs, and read more information with our Karoq and Kodiaq reviews. The Kodiaq is also on our list of best SUVs, which you can read here.