Remember the Yeti? It was an odd looking car but it drove well, was immensely practical, had so much flexibility in the seating, it was good off-road and was reasonably fast and pretty fuel efficient. Sadly the looks were a bit polarizing and most people couldn’t see past that and it was far from the best sales success stories out there. Enter the new Karoq, which is the replacement for the Yeti. It is more conventional in its attire and looks like a shrunken Kodiaq. Perhaps this is what everyone wants.
The styling is very elegant yet conservative. You get the typical Skoda face with the crystal headlamps and fog lamps set high up in the bumper. The tail lamp is an interplay of 3D surfaces with sharp angles and cuts. The sides are a little too bland with too much metal under the shoulder line. Perhaps a Scout variant with its chunkier claddings and wheel arch trim can fix that.
The interiors are very well thought out and quality is excellent. The front seats are electrically adjustable and are very comfortable over long distances. The dashboard has good feel and everything is logically laid out. There is a 10 inch digital cluster and an 8 inch touch screen for the infotainment system both have excellent Skoda graphics on them, which are better than in the T Roc. The panoramic glass roof adds to the airiness of the cabin while it comes loaded with dual zone climate control, heated seats, panoramic sunroof, Apple Car Play, Android Auto, tyre pressure monitoring, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors etc. The Karoq also gets 9 air bags.
Like the T-Roc, this has a 1.5 litre direct injection petrol four cylinder engine mated to a 7 speed dual clutch automatic gearbox. Drivability is excellent with longer stroke. With 150bhp and 250Nm on tap this is an engine that revels in its midrange performance and feels strained above 4500 rpm. Also efficiency is a key factor for this engine. The cylinder deactivation mode which shuts off two cylinders is seamless and there is no change in sound or any extra vibration. This is commendable because it is only a four cylinder motor to begin with. Fuel efficiency is also great because it was returning close to 18 kmpl city and highway driving, combined if driven sedately.
The Karoq has a great balance between ride and handling. It is comfy enough on our broken roads and has great composure. The steering is light, direct and light in traffic. The handling is involving with good body control till you start pushing it to the limits, in which case it starts running wide. A tap on the strong brakes will curb just enough speed to tackle the corner quickly.