Skoda will swap the 1.5-litre engine in the base Karoq for a less efficient 1.4-litre unit in 2020 – and it says Australia's emissions regulations are to blame.
The only Karoq on offer in Australia is currently the 110TSI, which is powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine making 110kW and 250Nm. It's mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Come the second quarter of 2020, the same car will instead be powered by a 1.4-litre engine mated with an eight-speed torque converter automatic.
Although its power and torque figures remain unchanged at 110kW and 250Nm, the new engine uses a claimed 6.6L/100km on the combined cycle – up 0.8L/100km on the current 1.5-litre engine's claim.
Skoda says the DSG and 1.5-litre engine are reserved for markets using Euro 6 emissions standards and the stringent WLTP fuel economy test cycle – Australia is governed by older Euro 5 emissions standards, and uses the older, less realistic NEDC test to calculate fuel economy.
"The [current engine] retains DSG because Europe’s more advanced WLTP and Euro 6 requirements demand it," a Skoda spokesperson told CarAdvice.
"Australia ... retains not only NEDC, but languishes in Euro 5 and has fuel quality rated at 67th in the world.
"[Volkswagen Group Australia] has been saying for two years that Australia will increasingly miss out on the latest technology and the time between European and local releases will extend."
Markets like the USA have been offered Volkswagen Group products with a torque-converter for a number of years, but the Australian line-up has been dominated by dual-clutch transmissions (excluding the Amarok and Crafter light-commercial vehicles) since the DSG was introduced with the 2006 MkV Volkswagen Golf.
Skoda will also offer a more powerful, higher-specced Karoq 140TSI Sportline in Australia from the second quarter of 2020.
The 140TSI is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine outputting 140kW and 320Nm, put to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The 100km/h sprint takes 7.0 seconds, making the 140TSI the most powerful Karoq available globally. There's currently no word on a hotter Karoq RS to sit below the diesel-powered, seven-seat Kodiaq RS SUV, due here in March.
Along with the extra grunt, the Karoq 140TSI Sportline rides on unique alloy wheels and gets a racier bodykit externally.
It also has a sports steering wheel, perforated leather seats, LED ambient lighting, and stainless steel pedals inside.
Pricing details for the updated Karoq range will be revealed in 2020. Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks.