Skoda Karoq Review
If you want a well-built small SUV with plenty of space for passengers and luggage, the Skoda Karoq is worth a look. Just don’t expect to be wowed by how it looks or the way it drives.
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
- Very practical
- Feels solid inside
- Comfortable to drive
What's not so good
- Slightly drab styling
- Entry-level cars feel slow
- Expensive range-topping models
Skoda Karoq: what would you like to read next?
The Skoda Karoq is a small SUV with a very practical cabin and plenty of equipment as standard. It’s comfortable to drive, too, but it doesn’t look or feel quite as fun as many more stylish alternatives. It’s a pragmatic, straight-to-the-point fish finger of a family SUV in a world of fancy goujons.
That being said, if you want a roomy small SUV with a raised driving position and a solid-feeling interior, the Skoda Karoq makes an excellent choice. As an added bonus, it comes with loads of clever features that’ll make it dead easy to live with.
The Skoda Karoq isn’t a car to shout about all its clever kit, though – it certainly doesn’t look as flashy as the sportier Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage. You do get some cool two-piece headlights like on the larger Kodiaq and the Karoq’s raised ride height means it’ll still tower over most conventional family hatchbacks in the school car park.
Step inside, and the Skoda’s sensible, staid theme continues – garish colours and oddly placed buttons just aren’t Skoda’s style. While this might mean the Karoq’s cabin isn’t particularly memorable, it does mean everything’s a doddle to navigate and use – including the standard 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
You’ll be sitting comfortably while you fiddle with the Skoda’s built-in gizmos, too. Every model comes with height-adjustable front seats to help you get settled and there’s absolutely loads of space for tall adults to stretch out.
The Skoda Karoq is a no-frills family SUV with a very practical cabin and a range of sensible, economical engines.
The Skoda Karoq’s sliding rear seats and wide cabin mean three adults won’t feel like tinned sardines in the back and the boot’s roomy enough to carry everything you need for a family week away. It’s dead easy to load and you can even remove the back seats in high-spec cars to carry some seriously bulky loads, just like in a van.
That said, the Skoda Karoq drives much better than any van ever will. Entry-level SE models have comfy suspension that only jars over sharp bumps and the cabin is quiet at a cruise – save for a little bit of wind noise coming from the door mirrors.
You won’t notice any of this around town, but the slightly jerky automatic gearbox will make its presence felt at slow speeds. Stick to the standard six-speed manual and one of the Skoda Karoq’s smaller petrol engines though, and it feels right at home nipping to the shops or pottering around town.
If motorway journeys are more your thing, a diesel will be more economical and you’ll want to consider the optional adaptive cruise control upgrade to give your leg a bit of a rest on long drives. Luckily, the Skoda Karoq comes with plenty of other driver assistance features as standard to help keep you safe – including automatic emergency braking.
Common Skoda Karoq questions
What does Karoq mean?
Kodiaq, Karoq, Kamiq… you see the theme here – Skoda names its SUVs starting with the letter K and ending with the letter Q.
The origins of the Karoq name goes deeper than that, however. The name is derived from Alutiiq – a native Alaskan language. Karoq is a combination of the terms ‘KAA’RAQ’ (car) and ‘RUQ’ (arrow – an arrow is part of the Skoda logo). Hence Karoq.
Is the Skoda Karoq 4-wheel drive
The Skoda Karoq can come with four-wheel drive. The 1.5-litre 150hp petrol and the 2.0-litre 150hp diesel are 4×4 cars. And remember, the chunkier Karoq Scout model is only available as a 4×4.
Where is the Skoda Karoq made?
The Skoda Karoq is made at Skoda’s main plant in Mlada Boleslav alongside the Octavia, Fabia, Scala and the new Kamiq SUV.
The Karoq’s cabin might not be particularly exciting to look at but it feels sturdy and all models get a slick 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard
The Skoda Karoq has a big boot and space inside for four tall adults. The VarioFlex back seats can slide and recline individually, or be removed for a huge load bay
The Skoda Karoq’s big boot is more family-friendly than a trip to Center Parcs
Getting comfortable in the front of the Karoq shouldn’t be an issue no matter what size you are. All models have height adjustment for the driver’s seat and a steering wheel that adjusts for height and reach. As a result, even tall drivers have legroom to spare and the driver’s seat cranks up high enough to give you a great view out if you’re small. Even models with a panoramic sunroof have plenty of headroom for tall adults.
All models get lumbar adjustment on both front seats as standard to stave off an achy back on long journeys and SE L models and above come with heated seats. Edition cars are the only ones to come as standard with electrically adjustable seats. They take the effort out of getting the perfect seating position and have a memory function so you can return the chair to your exact seating position after someone else has used the car.
Jump in the back of the Karoq and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much space there is. Even if you’re tall there will be space behind the driver’s seat for another six-footer, headroom is also excellent (again, even with the panoramic sunroof fitted) and you get an air vent that means your rear seat passengers are kept cool in summer and warm in winter.
SE L and Edition models come with Skoda’s VarioFlex seating system that gives you three rear seats that can slide forward and backward, and recline individually. They’re a handy feature if you want to juggle boot space and rear passenger room.
All three seats can be completely removed to give you a huge 1,810-litre load bay, or you can remove the middle seat to leave seating for two with ample amounts of shoulder and elbow room. The seats are quite heavy to remove, but the mixture of hooks and levers are easy to operate once you know how.
The only time the Karoq feels a little wanting for passenger space is when you have three in the back. The middle seat’s backrest is a little firm and the car’s relatively narrow body means shoulder room is tight. There’s also a hump in the floor but the big footwells mean there’s space for everyone’s feet.
The Karoq’s interior storage is excellent. It has a large glovebox that will swallow (and cool) a 1.5-litre bottle of water and four equally large door pockets.
The space underneath the front centre armrest is large and comes with a tidy that’ll hold coffee cups and keys. Remove it and the space left over is big enough for two one-litre bottles of water.
There’s another covered cubby below the steering wheel that’s perfect for loose change, and you get a lidded space in front of the gearstick which has a USB plug to charge your smartphone. Edition models add to that with a wireless charging pad.
Much like the interior, the Karoq’s boot is pretty spacious and comes packed full of handy features. You get large moveable hooks for your shopping, a 12V power socket for charging electricals and a removable torch that will be super handy if you ever need to change a wheel at night.
Entry-level models have a 521-litre boot that expands to 1,630 litres with the rear seats folded down.
Pick an SE L or Edition model and you can increase or decrease boot space by sliding the rear seats fore and aft. As a result boot space in these models varies from 479-588 litres with the back seats up, and you get a maximum load capacity of 1,810 litres with the rear seats completely removed. That dwarfs the 1,585-litre capacity you get in a Nissan Qashqai.
There’s no load lip, so it’s easy to load the Karoq’s boot – you can just slide heavy items into place and the large boot opening and square floor make it easy to lift heavy items onboard.
Fold down the rear seats and you get a hump in the floor that makes loading a bicycle a little tricky because the wheels snag on the floor, although it still fits in pretty easily with both wheels attached.
With the rear seats completely removed – only possible in SE L and Edition models – the Karoq basically transforms into a van that makes light work of trips to Ikea.
The Karoq’s light controls make it easy to drive and its cabin is quiet. Entry-level cars have softer suspension than Edition models with their massive 19-inch wheels
If you want to keep your teeth intact, avoid Edition models with 19-inch alloy wheels – they make for a quite uncomfy experience on bumpy roads
The Karoq is available with a choice of two diesel and two petrol engines. An automatic gearbox is available across the range, but the 150hp 2.0-litre diesel is the only model available with four-wheel drive.
If you do most of your driving around town then you should consider the 115hp 1.0-litre petrol engine – it’s reasonably nippy at city speeds and quiet once it gets up to speed. Skoda reckons it’ll return fuel economy of up to 53.3mpg in a mixture of town and motorway driving, although around 45mpg is more likely in the real world. At higher speeds though, you’ll find the 1.0-litre model feels a little underpowered – overtakes requiring a lot of planning and the car struggles with steep hills.
If you often drive out of the city, the 150hp 1.5-litre petrol is the one to go for. It’ll let you overtake slower cars with ease and has enough extra power to pull the Karoq along when it’s fully loaded. It’ll return impressive real-world fuel economy of about 40mpg.
To better that, you’ll have to choose a diesel model. You should consider the 150hp 2.0-litre diesel that’s a little bit smoother than the less-powerful 1.6-litre car and has effortless performance.
The Skoda Karoq handles a variety of roads well.
In the city, its raised driving position gives you a great view out the front of the car, although the large pillars running up the sides of the windscreen do cause slight blind spots. The large pillars at the rear of the car and the smallish back window mean visibility out the back could also be better, but you shouldn’t find it a major issue and all models come with rear parking sensors.
They make backing into tight parking spaces easy and the Karoq’s light steering means you won’t tire your arms making lots of slow-speed manoeuvres. If you’re really not a fan of parking it’s worth considering the SE L model, which comes with a rear-view camera to help you into the tightest of spots without a scrape.
At these sorts of low speeds the automatic gearbox (an option on all models) can be a little jerky, but the rest of the time it changes gear smoothly and takes some of the stress out of long journeys.
Not that the Karoq is a particularly stressful place to be on a big trip. You get a little wind noise at a cruise but that’s about it unless you’re haring past the legal limit. Basic SE models are the most comfortable of the bunch, while Edition cars (that have huge 19-inch wheels) can be a little uncomfortable on bumpy roads.
The Karoq doesn’t lean excessively in bends and the steering’s consistent weight means you can fly into bends confident that there’s enough grip to get you out the other end.
And even if you don’t the Karoq should be very safe. All models come with automatic emergency braking – that’ll stop the car if they sense an imminent collision – while top-of-the-range Edition cars add lane assist and a blind-spot warning system.