The first official teaser images for the upcoming Skoda Karoq SUV have been handed down today, ahead of its world premiere next week.
The mid-sized Karoq will replace the awkward Yeti, which, although beloved among diehard fans of Skoda's historically unique styling, has never been a strong seller.
The Volkswagen-owned Czech brand will be hoping for the five-seat Karoq to drive a giant sales boost in the popular SUV market, thanks to a design that is clearly more in line with mainstream tastes.
Although full details are still to come, it is clear the Karoq will draw technology from the new Volkswagen Tiguan, although Skoda has confirmed its mid-sizer will ride on a slightly shorter wheelbase: 2638mm (2630mm in all-wheel drive form), to the regular five-seat Tiguan's 2681mm.
The Skoda will also be markedly shorter overall, measuring 4382mm long to the five-seat Tiguan's 4486mm. An even longer Tiguan has also been revealed, in the form of the 4712mm Tiguan Allspace (2791mm wheelbase). These numbers make the Karoq a near perfect match for its Spanish cousin, the Seat Ateca, long considered a preview of Skoda's sub-Kodiaq SUV plans.
While the Karoq is clearly not as big as its VW-badged cousin, it will nonetheless be (mostly) larger than the car it replaces. The Yeti has an overall length of 4222mm and rides on a 2578mm wheelbase.
Above: a glossy black finish to the centre console, and, top, a first look at Skoda's version of the Active Info and Virtual Cockpit digital displays used in Volkswagen and Audi models
The Karoq is also wider than the Yeti, at 1841mm to its predecessor's 1793mm, although the Yeti is taller at 1691mm to the Karoq's 1605mm. By comparison, the Tiguan is 1839mm wide and 1643mm tall.
Both new-generation Volkswagen Group SUVs ride on the company's MQB architecture, but the Karoq's smaller dimensions will likely be sold as a point of difference with, perhaps, a more sporting lifestyle focus.
Skoda has also confirmed the Karoq's cargo capacity - a key metric for SUV buyers - at 521 litres with the rear seats up and 1630 litres when laid flat. The Yeti, by comparison, lists 321 and 1485 litres, while the new Tiguan, no surprise, offers more room at 615 and 1655 litres.
Above: one of a series of camouflage photos released recently
As with others in the range, the Karoq will offer the option of Skoda's VarioFlex seating design (which may yet come standard in Australia), employing three individual folding rear seats rather than the usual 60:40 split. With this box ticked, individual seats can even be removed. Remove all three, and storage increases to 1810 litres.
Watch for the Karoq to make its global debut on May 18, and see more of our coverage at the links below.
The Karoq is expected to make its Australian debut in the second quarter of 2018.