The 2018 Skoda Karoq has officially been revealed, set to take on the likes of the Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, and its twin-under-the-skin, the Volkswagen Tiguan.
Developed as a 'mini-me' to the big seven-seat Kodiaq, the five-seat Karoq measures 4382mm long, 1841mm wide and 1605mm tall. The wheelbase of Skoda's "not a replacement for the Yeti" SUV measures 2638mm in front-wheel drive guise, and 2630mm in all-wheel drive form.
By comparison, the Tiguan rides on a longer 2681mm wheelbase, although both cars sit on the same 'MQB' platform. But, 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.
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.
And despite its compact dimensions, the Karoq maintains the company's 'Simply Clever' mantra by offering a generous 521 litres of luggage space behind the second row of seats, expanding to a whopping 1630 litres with the rear bench folded.
Additionally, the Karoq's optional VarioFlex seating system allows the three individual rear seats to be independently adjusted and removed, which turns the SUV into more of a van with the rear pews absent, sporting a maximum cargo volume of 1810 litres.
The Yeti, by comparison, lists 321 and 1485 litres, while the new Tiguan, no surprise, offers more room at 615 and 1655 litres (its rear seats cannot be removed, giving the Karoq at least one win in the space wars).
LED head- and tail-lights give Skoda's mid-size crossover a sharp and upmarket look, while alloy wheel designs ranging from 16- to 19-inches are available.
Inside, the Karoq debuts a digital instrument cluster for the Skoda brand, following in the footsteps of luxury marque Audi and parent company Volkswagen. Four display views can be selected; Classic, Digital, Info-Profile and Reduced, each offering different-sized dials and configurable information readouts.
Other headline features include the availability of a heated steering wheel, personalisable keys that can store specific driver setups, front and rear seat heating, LED fog-lights with cornering function, LED interior ambient lighting with 10 different colours, four infotainment systems - ranging from 6.5 to 9.2 inches - with satellite navigation and WiFi hotspot depending on the unit specified, access to various internet-based services like real-time traffic information and data transfer from the owner's computer, along with compatibility with the Skoda Connect app - which offers access to vehicle information and remote control of the air-conditioning system.
There's an array of driver assistance systems available too, including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot detection, emergency assist, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with forward collision warning and pedestrian detection, hill-hold control, lane assist, traffic sign recognition and a driver fatigue monitor.
In Europe, five turbocharged engine choices will be offered, with four of the five units being new to the Skoda portfolio. All powertrains feature stop-start technology, regenerative braking and the availability of a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch shifter - with the exception of the most powerful diesel.
First up is the new 1.0 TSI three-cylinder petrol engine, producing 85kW of power and 175Nm of torque. With the turbo triple, the Karoq can sprint from 0-100km/h in 10.6 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 187km/h. Meanwhile, fuel consumption is rated at 5.2L/100km.
The second offering is a new 1.5 TSI four-cylinder petrol engine with active cylinder deactivation - which can shut down up to two of the four cylinders to reduce fuel consumption when cruising.
Outputs are rated at 110kW and 250Nm, 0-100km/h takes 8.4 seconds, and its top speed is 204km/h. Fuel consumption for the larger petrol is 5.1L/100km combined.
In addition to the two petrol units, three diesels will also be offered, with the first being the new 1.6 TDI.
Developing 85kW of power and 250Nm of torque, the smallest oiler can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 10.7 seconds on its way to a top speed of 188km/h. Claimed fuel consumption is rated at 4.5L/100km.
Next up is the familiar 2.0 TDI with 110kW and 340Nm. With this engine, the Karoq sprints from 0-100km/h in 8.9 seconds, with a top speed rated at 207km/h. Fuel consumption for the 110kW 2.0 TDI is 4.4L/100km claimed.
Note: All figures quoted are with a six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive.
Finally, the new 2.0 TDI borrows the 140kW/400Nm tune from the related Volkswagen Tiguan, can sprint from 0-100km/h in 7.8 seconds and spins all the way to 211km/h. With its standard seven-speed DSG and all-wheel drive, the high-output oiler claims fuel consumption of 5.3L/100km.
Karoqs equipped with all-wheel drive - which is optional on selected variants and standard on the 140kW diesel - come with a four-link rear axle and an optional off-road mode to maximise grip and stability on unpaved surfaces.
Additionally, the Karoq will be available in overseas markets with a Rough Road package, which adds an engine skid plate, cable protection, brake line protection, fuel line protection and underbody cladding to protect mechanicals from damage over rougher terrain. There's also an electronic differential lock to ensure power is sent to the wheel or wheels with optimal traction.
Numerous 'Simply Clever' features will be offered with the Karoq too, including an electric tailgate which can be opened with the wave of a foot under the rear bumper, an optional electrically-retractable towbar, and an electric parking brake with auto-hold function.
The Skoda Karoq range launches in Europe later this year.
We'll have to wait a little longer for Skoda's latest SUV, with the local arm confirming an Australian launch sometime in the second quarter of 2018.
At Australian launch, the Karoq will offer the 110TSI petrol engine with both front- and all-wheel drive, while the 110TDI is a likely starter from release as well.
The flagship 140TDI with all-wheel drive is on the cards, but isn't confirmed at this stage.
Managing director for Skoda Australia, Michael Irmer, said the Karoq will be comprehensively equipped like the brand's current range - which will be joined by the Kodiaq seven-seat SUV later this month.
"Australian Skoda owners expect high levels of equipment and we will not disappoint them," he said.
Specification highlights confirmed for Australian-market versions include the availability of the brand-first 12.3-inch digital driver's display, full-LED lighting front and rear, wheels up to 19-inches in diameter, dynamic chassis control, and VarioFlex rear seats.
AEB will be fitted as standard equipment like the wider Skoda range, with Irmer saying "safety is not optional on Skodas". The Karoq will also be fitted as standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring technologies.
In addition to his comments on safety, Irmer said the new SUV isn't a direct replacement for the boxy Yeti.
"The Karoq is definitely not a replacement for the Yeti. It's a new direction," he said. "Karoq’s chief commonality with Yeti is that it will roll down the same production line."
"The Karoq is Kodiaq Junior. Kodiaq comes standard with seven seats and all-wheel-drive. Karoq is the five-seat version," he added.
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for updates in the lead-up to the Karoq's international launch later this year, ahead of its local release in the second quarter of next year.
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